Swept by Texas at home last week, the Oakland Athletics are in position to return the favor.
The A's can record the sweep Wednesday night with a sixth consecutive road win over the Rangers, who will try to avoid extending their season-worst skid to four games.Oakland (17-10) was held to seven runs and suffered two one-run defeats while dropping all three to Texas a week ago. After opening this series with a 4-0 victory, the A's pounded out 10 hits and took advantage of six walks to win 9-3 on Tuesday.The A's have drawn a major league-high 127 walks, including 12 in this series. They totaled 10 walks at home against the Rangers (15-12) last week."That's what Oakland does," Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos said. "Even through the minor leagues, they take a lot of pitches, they make the pitcher work long every at-bat, and when you don't execute the pitch, they're putting themselves in good hitting counts."The A's had dropped four of five at Texas before sweeping a three-game set there in September."It's almost like a little payback," winning pitcher Scott Kazmir told the Athletics' official website. "We just feel comfortable out there."Josh Reddick and Derek Norris each drove in three runs and Kazmir moved to 4-0 for the first time in his career as Oakland improved to an AL-best 11-4 on the road.Reddick is 6 for 12 with six RBIs in his last three games at Texas after he went 2 for 16 in his previous five.Oakland's Jesse Chavez (1-0, 2.32 ERA) is 0-1 with a 7.16 ERA in nine appearances versus Texas, but hopes to pitch better when he makes his first start against the Rangers in this contest.The right-hander allowed four earned runs, 19 hits and struck out 28 in 26 innings over his first four starts, but yielded the same amount of earned runs and eight hits over five innings of a 12-5 win at Houston on Friday.Texas' Robbie Ross Jr. (1-1, 2.45), who has a 4.30 ERA without a decision in 16 career relief appearances against the A's, will face them for the first time as a starter.Solid early in his first season as a starter, the left-hander allowed seven runs -- four earned -- over 5 1/3 innings of a 16-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on April 20, then yielded two over six of a 6-5 defeat at Seattle on Friday. Ross, however, hopes to have better command after he tied a club record by hitting three Mariners hitters."Very disgusting," Ross told the Rangers' official website. "Terrible."Reddick has a double versus Ross and is 2 for 4 against him, as are teammates Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie.Texas' Elvis Andrus, who is 1 for 7 versus Chavez, is 1 for 22 with a double and five walks in his last six games overall.Teammate Prince Fielder is 1 for 11 in his last three, but his single Tuesday drove home a run. He's 3 for 5 with a home run against Chavez.
This season, Texas Rangers hitters have 14 hits in 46 at-bats that end in a cutter, tied for the fourth-most hits in the league. Jesse Chavez has thrown his cutter 36 percent of the time, the third-highest rate among qualified pitchers.