Darvish targets win No. 8 in matchup with A's

Yu Darvish eyes his eighth win of the season Tuesday when the Texas Rangers continue a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Darvish won his fifth consecutive decision on Thursday and outdueled Detroit's Justin Verlander, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in eight innings to run his record to 7-1 to go along with a 2.97 ERA.

"That was a tremendous lineup that he went through," manager Ron Washington said. "But after the third inning, he settled in, found something that was working and got through it."

Darvish also struck out six batters and threw a career-high 130 pitches. It was the most pitches thrown by a Rangers pitcher since R.A. Dickey threw 131 pitches on May 2, 2004.

"Wash asked me if I could go longer, and he seemed to want me to go longer," Darvish said. "I wanted to go longer. After the long trip back from California and the bullpen being used up in that last series, I wanted to go longer."

Darvish has faced the A's three times and is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with a hard-throwing righty of its own in Dan Straily, who is 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA and could be pitching for his spot in the rotation.

Straily lost his second straight start on Wednesday to the Rangers, as he was hit for five runs (4 earned) and four hits in just 4 1/3 frames.

"I think it's more command with him right now," Oakland manger Bob Melvin said of Straily. "Certainly your first year in the big leagues, you're trying to find yourself and have some confidence, and that can go back and forth on you depending on what your results are. He just hasn't gotten to a point where he's gotten on a roll.

"He does have the stuff to do it. We expect him to be that guy."

Oakland cut into Texas' AL West division lead in Monday's opener, as Seth Smith went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, two RBI and three runs scored to back a solid start from Bartolo Colon in the Athletics' 9-2 triumph.

Colon (4-2) scattered six hits and a pair of walks while giving up just two runs and striking out three over seven stellar innings to earn his first victory since April 23.

Coco Crisp finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Chris Young and Eric Sogard each added an RBI and a run scored for the A's, who have won four straight since dropping two of three to the Rangers in Oakland last week.

"Our offense did great, Bartolo did great and that's how you win games, especially here against a good team like the Rangers," Smith said.

Josh Lindblom (0-1) was tagged with the loss in his first career start after yielding four runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 frames. The 25-year-old right- hander entered the contest with a 4-5 record over 101 relief appearances before converting to a starter earlier this season.

Jurickson Profar, making his season debut after being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock Sunday to replace injured second baseman Ian Kinsler, knocked in both runs for the Rangers, who had their two-game winning streak stopped and lost for only the second time in their last seven tries.

These teams have split four matchups on the year.