Parker tries to deliver another knockout blow to Rangers

Jarrod Parker is a big reason why the Oakland Athletics sit atop the American League West standings. Oakland aims to pad its lead even more on Sunday when it tries to complete a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark.

Parker is 9-0 in his last 19 starts, but it was the Rangers who handed him his last loss back on May 22.

The right-hander did not get a decision in Minnesota on Tuesday, as he allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings of his team's 4-3 loss. He is 11-6 on the year with a 3.55 ERA.

"I thought he pitched great," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "When you're rolling up game after game like he is and you're not giving anything up, sometimes when you give up a run or two it doesn't look like your best performance. But again, 100 pitches, six innings, we're ahead when he leaves -- I'll take that."

Parker has defeated the Rangers three times this season and is 6-1 lifetime against them with a 2.93 ERA.

Texas, meanwhile, will counter with impressive left-hander Martin Perez, who had his career-best six-game winning streak ended Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Perez gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings of that one, as he fell to 9-4 to go along with a 3.60 ERA.

"I missed a couple pitches out of the zone and left a couple up, and that's why they got base hits," said Perez.

Perez has faced the A's four times and is 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA against them.

Oakland moved 5 1/2 games in front of the Rangers on Saturday, as Bartolo Colon outpitched Yu Darvish and the Athletics eked out a 1-0 win.

Colon (16-6) held the Rangers to seven hits, walked one and struck out seven over eight innings. Grant Balfour worked around a two-out walk to Mitch Moreland in the ninth, getting pinch-hitter David Murphy looking at a called third strike for his 38th save.

Brandon Moss drove in the only run with a first-inning double for the Athletics, who have won four straight.

"This is how many we were down last year with nine to go and we ended up winning it, so it's not over," said Moss.

The hit by Moss was just one of four allowed by Darvish (12-9), who walked one and fanned 10 in seven innings.

Ian Kinsler and A.J. Pierzynski both had two hits for Texas, which still has hold of an AL wild card spot but wants more out of the season.

"We're still going to try to go for the division. I think that's what we all want," said Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.

The Rangers, who haven't been swept at home by the A's since Sept.14-16, 2009, have lost five games in a row and eight of nine overall.