Darvish tries to avoid losing a fifth consecutive start to the Oakland Athletics and help the Rangers add to their slim lead as these division rivals conclude a three-game set Wednesday.
After dropping Monday's opener to fall into a first-place tie in the West, Texas (80-58) regained its lead with Tuesday's 5-1 victory. Mitch Moreland stayed hot with his fifth homer in 11 games and Alex Rios added his 14th of the year as the Rangers won for the 13th time in 16 road games.
They now give the ball to Darvish (12-6, 2.73 ERA) who has posted a 5.18 ERA in dropping his last four to Oakland (79-59) and is winless in his last three starts overall while walking nine. Alberto Callaspo is 7 for 16 against him, and Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes are both 3 for 9 with a homer. Brandon Moss is 2 for 10, though both hits left the yard.
"Yes, I'm very frustrated," he told MLB's official website after his loss Friday at Minnesota.
The hard-throwing right-hander - who leads the majors with 236 strikeouts - carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning there before surrendering back-to-back homers that accounted for all the runs in a 3-2 loss.
"He made two mistakes and they didn't miss them," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of Darvish, who struck out 11. "Strikeouts are great, but the biggest thing is we've got to win the game."
While Darvish has struggled versus the A's and recently, counterpart Jarrod Parker (10-6, 3.59) has shined, going 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA in six career starts against Texas. David Murphy is 3 for 17 in their matchups, and Adrian Beltre is 4 for 22.
Parker's lone defeat to the Rangers came 3-1 on May 22, but he hasn't lost since. The right-hander has gone 8-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his last 17 starts, including a win over Darvish on June 18, and has yielded three runs or fewer in all but one of those outings.
He gave up three runs and six hits in seven-plus innings but didn't receive a decision in Friday's 4-3 win over the Rays.
Parker will need to be careful against Moreland, who has five homers and seven RBIs in eight games in Oakland this year. The Rangers have hit 21 home runs during their 16-game road surge.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus could miss his fourth straight game due to a sore back.
"I feel better for sure than the past few days," Andrus said. "I still feel some pain in the middle of my lower back, but it's a lot less. I'm trying to get my body ready to go but I don't want to be out there 50 percent."
Andrus is 5 for his last 39 (.128) against the A's.
Callaspo, Cespedes and Josh Donaldson each had two hits Tuesday for Oakland, which went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and lost for the seventh time in 10 games between the teams this year.
The A's, though, still lead Tampa Bay by 2 1/2 games for the top AL wild-card spot.
|August 25, 2013||Leonys Martin||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Matt West||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|August 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 03, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Lower body|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|September 02, 2013||Coco Crisp||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shin contusion|
|August 26, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|August 25, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|August 21, 2013||Derek Norris||15-Day DL||Fractured left big toe|
|August 14, 2013||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|August 14, 2013||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- There's something about Jarrod Parker 's presence on the mound that is bringing out the best in the Oakland Athletics .
Especially against Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers .
Parker got plenty of home-run help to pitch his way into Oakland's record book, and the surging A's pulled into a tie atop the AL West with Texas by overpowering the Rangers 11-4 on Wednesday.
"I'm just trying to stay in the moment," Parker said.
Parker (11-6) allowed two runs in six innings to extend his unbeaten streak to 18 straight starts, eclipsing Catfish Hunter 's Oakland mark set from June 2-Sept. 3, 1973. Parker struck out four and walked none.
The 24-year-old has won his last nine decisions, the most by an A's pitcher since Dan Haren won 10 in a row in 2007. He hasn't lost since May 22 at Texas.
"He goes out there and shuts teams down," right fielder Brandon Moss said. "He puts the ball in play and doesn't walk anybody. When he gets in trouble, he finds a way to dig deep and get himself out of it. That's what aces do."
Moss, Daric Barton and Coco Crisp each hit two-run homers, and Josh Donaldson added a three-run drive for Oakland. The A's handed Darvish (12-7) a loss in consecutive starts for the first time all season.
Darvish gave up five runs - matching a season high - and tied a career-worst with six walks in five-plus innings. He is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA against Oakland.
Darvish also made a pointed gesture that appeared to signal catcher A.J. Pierzynski to go back behind the plate during a mound visit by pitching coach Mike Maddux . Pierzynski downplayed the incident.
"He had a command issue. I went out there to calm him down. I wasn't paying attention," Pierzynski said.
A's opening day starter Brett Anderson , working his way back from a stress fracture in his right foot, allowed two runs in three innings for his second save. Manager Bob Melvin said he's trying to stretch out Anderson's appearances to give the team the option of inserting him back into the rotation.
A year after the A's completed a three-game sweep over the Rangers to win the division on the final day, the AL West race is again shaping up as a tight one. Oakland has won eight of its last 10 to set up what should be a scintillating September. The teams play three more times in Texas from Sept. 13-16.
"It should be fun," Donaldson said.
The Rangers, just as they did a year ago, wilted in their final regular season game at the Oakland Coliseum.
Darvish struggled with his command from the start, bouncing balls in front of the plate and piling up his pitch count. By the second, he had already matched a season high with four walks and had thrown 42 pitches.
Moss sent his 26th home run of the season over the wall in right in the first, and Crisp drove in the first of his four RBIs in the second with a sacrifice fly.
Leonys Martin hit an RBI double and Craig Gentry singled him home in the third to slice Oakland's lead to 3-2, but the Rangers blew their best chance to rally in the fifth.
Shortstop Jed Lowrie bobbled Jim Adduci 's grounder and Martin's sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Jurickson Profar broke to the plate on Gentry's comebacker and was tagged out trying to get back to third.
"It wasn't a good day is all," Ranger manager Ron Washington said.
Barton's second home run of the season - and first in Oakland since July 10, 2010 - ended Darvish's day. Donaldson's 20th homer came later in the sixth against reliever Robbie Ross , and Crisp's 18th in the eighth put Parker in a powerful position to make history.
The only A's starter with a longer unbeaten streak is Lefty Grove , who won 21 in a row from April 22-Aug. 19, 1931. The Hall of Famer also had 10 relief appearances during the streak, including one loss.
Since dropping his first four decisions this season, Parker has only allowed more than three runs twice.
"He's been nails," Donaldson said. "You need a guy like Parker to come in every day and give us a chance to win, and that's what he's done for the majority of this year."
NOTES: The Rangers batted out of order in the ninth but nobody reached base so the A's never protested. ... Rangers SS Elvis Andrus missed his fourth straight game with a sore back. He said he could've played, but with a day off Thursday, Washington wanted to give Andrus extra time to recover. ... Athletics C Derek Norris , who fractured his left big toe Aug. 21, said he feels "ready to go" and expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list when eligible Thursday. ... The A's send Sonny Gray (2-2, 2.57 ERA) to the mound against Brad Peacock (3-5, 5.98 ERA) in the opener of a four-game series against Houston on Thursday. Matt Garza (9-3, 3.55 ERA) goes for the Rangers on Friday at the Los Angeles Angels , who counter with C.J. Wilson (14-6, 3.35 ERA).