A's hope Gray can bounce back vs. Rangers

( - Sonny Gray tries to bounce back from his first loss of the season on Monday when the Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.

Texas defeated Gray on Wednesday, as the Rangers completed a three-game sweep of their American League West rivals. Gray was touched for three runs and five hits over seven innings in that one, dropping him to 3-1 on the year to go along with a 2.25 ERA.

"I felt like I was throwing the ball where I wanted to," said Gray, who will be making his second-ever start against the Rangers. "Overall, I felt pretty good today. It was just a tough day at the park."

Oakland enters this series on a bit of a sour note. The A's followed up getting swept by the Rangers by splitting a four-game series with the woeful Houston Astros, as they dropped the final two games in the set culminating with a 5-1 setback on Sunday.

"You try not to let that affect you," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "You move on, and this team's been good about putting stuff in the past."

Oakland's struggles could continue on Monday when it faces one of the better right-handers in the game in Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, who is 1-0 this season with a 1.61 ERA.

As good as Darvish has been, though, since coming over from Japan he has never found success against the A's, going just 1-6 with a 4.32 ERA in eight starts against them.

"The desire to win is the same with any team I face as it is with Oakland," Darvish said. "I did everything the same as I usually do between my starts."

Darvish did not get a decision against the A's last Monday, as he was hit for three runs and eight hits in six innings of his team's 4-3 win. He also struck out six and walked four batters.

"Since I just faced them," Darvish said, "it will be easier to plan my game plan."

Texas has been one of the hottest team in baseball in recent weeks and enters this series tied with the A's atop the division thanks in part to wins in nine of its last 12 games.

However, the Rangers dropped two of three this weekend to the Seattle Mariners and fell, 6-5, in Sunday's rubber match at Safeco Field.

Texas was again without outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who has missed the last five games with an ankle injury. Elsewhere on the injury front, Oakland is expected to get outfielder Yoenis Cespedes back at some point in this series. He has been slowed by a hamstring injury.