The Texas Rangers will continue to pursue a series sweep tonight as they host the Oakland Athletics for the third match of a four-game set at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Oakland lost its third game in four outings yesterday after allowing a late rally. Jemile Weeks, Yoenis Cespedes, and Derek Norris all had multi-hit games for the Athletics. Chris Carter hit his first home run of the season in the ninth inning.
Cespedes went 2-for-4 to bring his batting average to .667 (12-of-18) against the Rangers this season.
A's starter A.J. Griffin allowed just two hits and two walks over six scoreless innings in his second big league start, but it was spoiled by Craig Gentry's bases-clearing triple in the eighth.
The Athletics will send Tommy Milone to the rubber today. The left-hander will attempt to keep up the momentum after allowing only 10 hits and one earned run over his past two starts, spanning 16 innings. In those two games, opponents have managed just a .175 batting average against Milone. He was very impressive his last time out as he shut out the Mariners for seven innings to improve his record to 8-5 for the season.
Martin Perez is scheduled to take the hill and make his first Major League start for Texas. The rookie left-hander was called up from Triple-A on Tuesday and made his big league debut on Wednesday against the Tigers. Perez gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning, but only one of the runs was earned. The 21-year old rookie has been one of the top prospects in the Rangers system since he was signed after going undrafted in 2007.
Perez has the ability to get into a groove when possessing good movement on his pitches.
"I need to attack the zone early and throw my breaking balls for strikes," Perez said. "The main thing is to locate my pitches, keep it low and do the best I can."
"He just needs command of his fastball and keep it down in the zone, not be afraid to use all his pitches and trust his defense," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "The fastball is going to be the key."
Gentry came up big for Texas's offense with a three-run triple in the eighth inning on Friday.
"I knew I hit it pretty good, but off the bat I thought he was going to catch it," said Gentry about his triple.
Gentry's clutch hit was very timely as the Rangers were struggling all night. Texas managed just four hits in the ballgame. Michael Young singled and reached base on balls twice and Josh Hamilton singled and scored a run.
"We kept grinding and grinding," Washington said. "That's why you play nine innings, and we played nine innings tonight." The Rangers are leading the MLB in runs scored this season with 419.
Ian Kinsler went 0-for-4 but is 8-for-14 in the last three games after going 2-for-21 in his previous five. He's batting .478 during an 11-game home hitting streak against the A's.
Texas is 10-2 in its last 12 home games versus the A's.