A’s keeping pace with strong AL West teams 

click to enlarge Oakland Athletics designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a single in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. - REUTERS FILE PHOTO
  • Reuters file photo
  • Oakland Athletics designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a single in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

The A’s hope to carry the momentum from their three-game sweep in Minnesota into their brief two-game home series against the American League West-leading Texas Rangers, which begins today.

Oakland turned on the power at Target Field over the weekend, hitting a total of nine home runs during the series — including four in each of the final two contests. Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Carter, Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes belted two apiece against the Twins as the A’s climbed within one-half game of the second AL wild-card spot.

Despite creeping into the playoff race by virtue of posting nine victories in its last 10 contests, Oakland still sits eight games behind Texas in the division. The Rangers, who took three of four from Oakland at home from June 28-July 1, have recovered nicely from a five-game losing streak, capturing four of their last five.

Texas likely will be without catcher Yorvit Torrealba, whose wife is about to give birth, but could have its bullpen bolstered as relievers Alexi Ogando (groin) and Koji Uehara (lat muscle) are slated to be activated from the disabled list.

Oakland will send Bartolo Colon to the mound today to oppose Rangers veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt.
Colon has pitched well since returning from a strained right oblique, allowing a total of two earned runs over 14²⁄³ innings in two starts but coming away without a decision each time. The former American League Cy Young Award winner limited Seattle to one run and seven hits in 8²⁄³ innings on July 8, striking out five without a walk. Colon has kept Texas in check during his career, going 18-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 28 starts.

— SportsDirect via Reuters

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