The Texas Rangers have the most wins in baseball. However, they haven't had much success within their own division. They hope to change that tonight when they begin a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Texas won its league-leading 47th game on Wednesday, as David Murphy had two homers among his four hits and drove in five runs to lead the Rangers to a wild 13-9 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Texas was outhit 17-16 -- Roy Oswalt gave up a career-high 13 in six innings -- but captured its second in a row to win the three-game series.
Ian Kinsler added a two-run homer and Adrian Beltre had three hits for the Rangers, who moved to 10-2 in their last 12 games to remain 4 1/2 ahead of the Angels in the AL West.
Oswalt (2-0) still walked off with his second straight win for the Rangers despite the shaky outing. The 34-year-old righty, who made his season debut against the Rockies last Friday, allowed five runs while walking two and striking out six.
"It was a good team win. The guys gave me some runs to work with and kept adding on," said Oswalt.
Tonight, though, the Rangers face an Oakland team that has taken four of six from them. In fact Texas is just 10-12 against the American League West this season. However, since losing three of four to Oakland back in early June, the Rangers have reeled off wins in 14 of their last 18 and have won six consecutive series.
Their 47-29 mark is also the best record through 76 games in team history.
The A's come into tonight's opener after securing a series win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. Yoenis Cespedes stroked the go-ahead solo home run in the top of the seventh inning and the Oakland Athletics edged the Seattle Mariners, 2-1, in the finale of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
Coco Crisp cracked a solo homer in the win for the A's, who have come out on top in three of their last four contests.
Jarrod Parker (4-3) allowed just one run on three hits and four walks with nine strikeouts. Grant Balfour allowed the tying run to reach third in the eighth, but escaped unscathed and Ryan Cook worked his way out of trouble in the ninth to record his sixth save of the season.
"He's got great stuff," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When he's throwing the ball over the plate and mixing pitches, he's a tough guy to score on."
Oakland totaled an anemic five runs on 10 hits in that series, but the club's starters limited the Mariners to three runs in 15 innings.
The Athletics' rotation has a 1.73 ERA over the last 13 games.
Hoping to build on that tonight will be righty Tyson Ross, who has lost his last four decisions and is a mere 2-7 on the year with a 6.02 ERA. Ross lost to San Francisco on Saturday, as he allowed five runs (3 earned) and four hits in 5 1/3 frames. He also walked four in the loss.
This will be his first start against the Rangers, who will send Scott Feldman to the hill.
Feldman has bounced back and forth between rotation and bullpen this season, but hasn't pitched since June 19 when he won for the first time in seven decisions, defeating the San Diego Padres by surrendering two runs and seven hits in six innings. He is just 1-6 on the year with a 6.00 ERA.
He will be starting tonight in place of Colby Lewis, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a right forearm tendinitis.
"In a perfect world, which it is not, I'd like to know my role all the time," Feldman said. "But this is fine, I'm happy to get the baseball and do what I love doing. I'm sorry that Colby went down, but hopefully he'll be back quickly. I think I'm getting used to what my role is or whatever you want to call it."
Feldman was hammered in a loss to Oakland back on June 4, as he gave up eight runs in just 1 2/3 innings. He is 3-6 lifetime against them with a 6.58 ERA in 18 games (10 starts).
Texas is 8-2 in its last 10 home games versus the A's.