Darvish, Rangers resume set with A's

Yu Darvish targets his first win in six starts on Tuesday when the Texas Rangers continue a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Darvish is 0-1 over his last five starts, but is pitching to a 2.08 ERA in that span and hasn't received a decision in any of his last four outings.

The Japanese flamethrower was terrific against Toronto on Thursday, as he allowed a run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-1 loss. He also fanned nine batters.

Over his last five starts, the Rangers have scored just seven runs while Darvish has been on the mound for an average of 1.82 runs per nine innings. In contrast, the team crossed the plate an average of 6.83 times per nine innings through his first nine starts.

"I'm not amazed, this is baseball," Darvish said. "Anything can happen. Some games you get a lot of run support, and some games you don't. My approach to the game is the same -- try to minimize the damage as much as I can. My job is to contribute to the team as much as possible and make the game as close as possible."

Darvish lost to Oakland earlier and is 1-3 in four starts against them with a 3.81 ERA in four starts.

Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with red-hot right-hander Jarrod Parker, who has won his last three decisions and is 5-6 with a 4.45 ERA. Parker did not get a decision his last time out on Thursday against the New York Yankees, as he allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings of his team's amazing 3-2, 18-inning win.

After allowing a two-run home run to Robinson Cano in the first inning of that one, Parker responded by retiring 21 of the next 24 batters he faced.

Parker lost to the Rangers back on May 22, but is 3-1 lifetime against them with a 3.00 ERA in four starts.

Texas got off the schneid in Monday's opener, as Nelson Cruz belted a pair of homers, including the go-ahead two-run blast in the fifth inning, to help the Rangers snap a six-game skid with an 8-7 win.

The A's scored six times in the fourth inning off Rangers starter Nick Tepesch, but failed to hold on.

The Rangers, who trimmed Oakland's lead to two games in the AL West, received a homer and three RBI from A.J. Pierzynski. Texas also broke a six-game losing streak at home.

Joe Nathan gave up a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to Coco Crisp in the ninth inning, but retired Derek Norris on a pop-up to third baseman Adrian Beltre to lock down his 21st save of the year.

Tepesch gave up six hits and as many runs over 3 2/3 frames. Neal Cotts (3-1) threw 2 1/3 hitless frames to get the win.

"They settled it down and gave us a chance to keep grinding, which we did," Texas manager Ron Washington said of his team's bullpen.

Dan Straily surrendered eight hits and six runs over 4 2/3 innings.

"He left a few more pitches up than he usually does," A's shortstop Jed Lowrie said of Straily. "They took advantage of it."

Jesse Chavez (1-1) was saddled with the loss.

Texas has won four of seven meetings with the A's this season.