The Oakland Athletics will try to extend their home winning streak over the first-place Texas Rangers to six straight games on Tuesday night when the clubs meet for the second contest of a three-game series.
On Monday, Oakland played host to Texas for the first time since sweeping a three-game, season-ending set last year that won the AL West for the A's by a game over the Rangers.
To make matters worse for the Rangers, they were defeated by the Baltimore Orioles in the first ever Wild Card Game, while the Athletics lost in five games to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series.
Oakland defeated Texas for the ninth time in the past 11 meetings at O.co Coliseum with Monday's 5-1 victory. A.J. Griffin tossed seven strong innings while Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss hit back-to-back home runs in the win.
Griffin scattered six hits, including a solo home run, while striking out eight without a walk for the Athletics, who had dropped six of seven coming in.
"Every day, every pitch, every game is important," said Griffin. "We just try to take things one game, one pitch at a time and just go after it and good things happen when you do that."
Cespedes and Moss connected on back-to-back solo homers with one out in the third inning, with Moss' longball the 7,000th homer in Athletics' history.
Cespedes left the game in the fifth inning with a stomach illness.
Mitch Moreland's home run accounted for the only offense for the Rangers as Justin Grimm (2-3) was tagged for all five runs over five-plus innings, giving up seven hits and walking two to drop his third straight start.
"Each game that he pitches and he may have lost he kept us in the game," said Texas manager Ron Washington about Grimm. "Tonight, we only scored one run. He's out there battling and fighting so I'm not concerned."
Texas had won four straight and seven of its previous nine, but had its lead atop the AL West over second-place Oakland cut to five games.
Derek Holland will try to get the Rangers back in the win column and he is a solid 3-2 on the season with a 2.54 earned run average through seven starts. He has logged at least seven innings in six of those outings and has yielded only one run over back-to-back wins.
After shutting out Boston for eight frames on May 3, the left-hander held the Milwaukee Brewers to a run despite 10 hits in seven innings of Wednesday's win. Holland did help himself by not walking a batter and struck out six.
"Derek did what he had to do," said Washington. "His change-up has been big, he added it to his repertoire. He scattered the hits well and made pitches when he needed to."
The 26-year-old is 4-2 lifetime versus the A's with a 2.64 ERA in 12 meetings (8 starts).
Following a solid start to the season, 39-year-old Oakland starter Bartolo Colon has struggled over his last three outings and tries to get on track tonight.
Colon stood 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA after four starts this season, but has since gone 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA in his last three. The right-hander has allowed 14 runs over that 15 1/3-inning span.
Colon lost his second straight start on Thursday in Cleveland, tagged for six runs on eight hits in just four innings. He also gave up two homers for a second straight outing.
"He didn't look awful," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Colon. "Velocity was there. The balls he got in the middle of the plate, they hit. And they did it the whole series. Sometimes the other team just beats you. Today that was probably the case."
Colon, who now has a 4.57 ERA on the season, has been making opponents beat him as he has yielded only one walk in 41 1/3 innings this season.
The experienced hurler is 18-7 lifetime versus Texas with a 3.66 ERA.