Harrison aims for 18th win in finale with A's

Matt Harrison eyes his 18th win and tries to get the Texas Rangers one step closer to a third straight American League West crown on Thursday when the Texas Rangers close out a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Harrison pitched well enough to get the win on Saturday in Seattle, as he allowed a run and seven hits in eight innings of work, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 1-0 loss. He is 17-10 with a 3.17 ERA this season.

"He has nothing to hold his head down about," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He did what he had to do. He gave up a run and we couldn't put another run on the board to make a difference, or put two runs on the board to make a difference.

"Just wait and work and be ready for the next one. I guess you can say he got outpitched, and he pitched well."

Harrison has owned the A's over the course of his young career, going 5-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 11 games (8 starts).

Oakland, meanwhile, will rely on lefty Travis Blackley, who is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA. Blackley lasted just two innings against the New York Yankees on Sunday, surrendering four runs (2 earned) and four hits with three walks, but escaped without getting a decision in his team's 10-9 extra-inning loss.

Blackley did not get a decision the last time he faced the Rangers and is

Oakland beat Texas for the second straight game pulled within three games of the Rangers in the division on Wednesday, as Derek Norris drove in three runs and the A's used a five-run first inning to take a 9-3 decision.

Stephen Drew finished 4-for-5 with two RBI and Brandon Moss totaled three hits with three runs scored for the Athletics, who have won three of four overall and still lead the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by two games for the AL's final wild card.

"Certainly it would be nice to win tomorrow, but at this point, these two games I think were big for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Jarrod Parker (12-8) gave up five hits and three runs, fanning eight with three walks over six innings.

Elvis Andrus posted a pair of RBI and Mitch Moreland also knocked in a run for the Rangers, who have dropped four of six, as its magic number for clinching the AL West remained at five.

Texas will close its season with a three-game set against the A's.

Martin Perez (1-3) retired just two batters and was charged in the loss with six hits and five runs.

"Perez just got too many balls up in the middle of the plate," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

The A's have won eight of 15 from the Rangers this season.