Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics
- The Athletics went 11-8 versus Texas in 2012, sweeping the final series of the season to win the American League West by one game over the Rangers. The A's won seven of nine encounters in Oakland.
- After sweeping the Astros and winning their last four games, the Rangers have opened up a 6.0-game lead over Oakland in the AL West. It is the largest margin by any team in any division so far this season.
- With Sunday's 6-1 defeat at Seattle, the Athletics have now averaged just 2.15 runs per game in their losses in 2013, compared to 7.58 runs per game in their victories. That's the largest disparity (+5.43) by any team this season.
- Adrian Beltre collected four hits and drove in four runs on Sunday, raising his RBI total to 14 since April 30, which is tied with Miguel Cabrera for the most in the majors over that span.
- In addition to totaling three hits and walking twice on Sunday, Elvis Andrus crossed the plate twice for the first time this season. He's reached base in each of his last 19 games, the third-longest active streak in MLB (minimum 1 game in 2013).
- A.J. Griffin has permitted a .318 batting average no outs, ranking 122nd of 136 pitchers with at least 40 batters faced in such situations. But he's improved to .236 with one out (54th of 136 qualifiers), and to .140 with two outs (third of 127 qualifiers).
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(AP) -- The Texas Rangers are returning to the site where their bid for a third straight World Series appearance may have essentially ended.
The Oakland Athletics swept three home games from the Rangers to capture an unlikely AL West crown the last time these teams met heading into Monday night's opener of a three-game set.
Texas (24-13) was forced to settle for a wild card after getting outscored 19-9 by Oakland (19-20) on the final three games of 2012. The Athletics earned their first division title in six seasons while the Rangers went on to lose the wild-card game to Baltimore.
These teams are first and second place in the West again, with Texas holding a six-game lead. That probably doesn't mean much since the Rangers led the Athletics by nine games after June 1 last year.
Manager Ron Washington will have Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler back in his lineup after giving those players a day off Sunday. It hardly mattered as the Rangers turned in their highest scoring effort of the season in their fourth straight win, 12-7 at Houston.
"The type of team that I have this year, guys have been getting opportunities to play a little more than I have in the past," Washington said. "So I think they're more prepared and more ready to go up there when there's opportunity for them to play and do the job."
Adrian Beltre doubled twice among his four hits, drove in four runs and homered for the second straight game.
Beltre led Texas with four homers and 22 hits in last year's season series with Oakland, as Texas lost 11 of 19 games. Beltre struggled with a .221 average and Kinsler batted .240.
The Rangers had trouble slowing down Derek Norris, who had 10 RBIs while batting .371 in 10 games. The same could be said of how they fared against Yoenis Cespedes, who hit .365 with three homers and 10 RBIs.
Oakland returns home after capping a 3-7 road trip with its sixth loss in seven games, 6-1 to Seattle on Sunday.
The A's are batting .200 with 71 strikeouts and 16 walks over their last seven games. Cespedes is 3 for 26 in that span, Norris 4 for 20, Brandon Moss 4 for 17 and John Jaso 4 for 19.
"You go through ups and downs, but this is not very fun now," said Moss, who struck out four times Sunday.
Texas starter Justin Grimm (2-2, 3.45 ERA) has yielded eight runs in dropping consecutive outings after allowing four over 17 innings in his first three of 2013.
The right-hander's lone appearance against the A's came in relief last season.
Oakland will start A.J. Griffin (3-3, 3.83), who posted a 4.15 ERA and did not receive a decision in two 2012 outings against Texas.
The A's are 10-2 in Griffin's career home starts, including one in the postseason. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 3.39 ERA in those games.
Updated May 12, 2013