Rangers try to stretch AL West lead in opener with A's

After ending their recent struggles in Oakland, the Texas Rangers try to secure their MLB-leading 30th victory of the season on Monday night when they host a rematch with the A's.

The Rangers begin this three-game series with the best record in baseball at 29-15. They have won 12 of their last 16 games, taking two of three in Oakland from May 13-15. Texas had lost seven of nine on the road versus the A's last season, getting swept in a season-ending three-game series in Oakland that cost the Rangers the AL West title.

After getting a bit of revenge with a series victory to begin last week, the Rangers returned home to host the Detroit Tigers and won Sunday's slugfest 11-8 to take three of four in the series.

Texas overcame Miguel Cabrera hitting three homers in the game as David Murphy hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning. The Rangers logged 18 of the 31 total hits in the game and scored 10 runs between the fifth and seventh innings.

Murphy drove in four runs, while Adrian Beltre had four hits and a pair of RBI. Lance Berkman and Mitch Moreland added two RBI each for the Rangers, who lead the AL West by 6 1/2 games over the A's.

"Neither team quit fighting," Rangers manager Ron Washington told his team's official website after the win. "It was a very good ballgame. It didn't matter what you tried to do, each team kept coming back. We got the final blow and were able to sustain."

The Rangers put together an offensive showcase despite infielder Ian Kinsler landing on the disabled list on Sunday due to a right intercostal strain. He is hitting .302 with seven homers and 20 RBI in 40 games this season.

Kinsler joins a crowded disabled list that also includes starter Alexi Ogando, who will be replaced in the rotation tonight by Josh Lindblom because of right biceps tendinitis.

That gives Lindblom the opportunity to make the first start of his major league career. The 25-year-old has appeared in 101 games as a reliever, splitting last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. In 74 combined games, he went 3-5 with a 3.55 earned run average.

After failing to make the Rangers' bullpen out of Spring Training, Lindblom has made seven starts in eight appearances this year with Triple-A Round Rock. He is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA, earning enough confidence to get the call for this game.

The right-hander faced the A's once before in relief and took a loss after allowing three runs without recording an out.

While Lindblom is taking his career in a different direction, veteran Bartolo Colon is scheduled to make the 384th start of his career on Monday as he gets the call for the A's.

Colon, who will turn 40 on Friday, started the season 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA through four starts, but has gone 0-2 with a 7.17 ERA in four starts since.

The righty did manage a quality start in last Tuesday's no-decision versus Texas, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk over six innings of a 6-5 setback. All three runs allowed came in the fourth inning, including a two-run homer by Moreland.

Colon, who now has a 4.56 ERA on the season, is 18-7 with a 3.69 ERA in 30 career starts versus the Rangers.

Oakland followed up its series loss to Texas by sweeping a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals. The A's won all three games by just a single run, including Sunday's 4-3 victory.

Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning, one frame after Coco Crisp tied the game with a sac fly.

Oakland reliever Ryan Cook allowed runners to reach second and third with two outs in the ninth, but managed to escape and notch his first save of the season.

"We got some timely hits," said Josh Donaldson, who had an RBI. "As of the last three (games), our guys have kept us in it and we've been able to get the timely hits."

Oakland starter A.J. Griffin allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks in six frames. Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up the win.