(Sports Network) - In the rubber match of an important weekend series in the AL West, the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics will square off once again at the Coliseum.
The Rangers enjoyed a rather comfortable win on Friday night to open the series and were powered by three RBI from A.J. Pierzynski and a home run from Nelson Cruz in an 8-3 victory.
On Saturday, the tables were turned as the Athletics earned a 4-2 victory and moved back to 3 1/2 games ahead of the Rangers for the division lead.
Jarrod Parker pitched six solid innings, allowing two runs and six hits to match six strikeouts as he picked up his seventh win of the season. The Athletics' bullpen then pitched a combined three innings of one-hit baseball, including a perfect ninth inning by closer Grant Balfour, who earned his 29th save.
Yoenis Cespedes launched his 17th home run of the season and knocked in a pair of runs to lead the Athletics, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Matt Garza pitched all eight innings for the Rangers and allowed four runs on eight hits in his third start for Texas since being traded. The Rangers had won five straight games entering play on Saturday.
Ian Kinsler went 1-for-4 with a solo home run and Adrian Beltre also had one hit in four at-bats while knocking in another run.
Looking to earn his first win since July 13 on Sunday will be Derek Holland as he makes his 23rd start of the season and second against Oakland.
In his first outing against Oakland Holland let up four runs on eight hits and was only able to pitch 5 2/3 innings. He ended up getting a no-decision in the contest as Texas pulled out a 6-5 victory.
That start came back in May. He enters play on Sunday with an 8-6 record and a 3.72 ERA in his first 22 starts of the campaign. However, in his last three starts Holland has gone 0-2 with a no-decision as well.
The no-decision came in his last start when he allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings of work. The Texas bats once again saved Holland from taking a loss as the Rangers captured a 14-11 victory over the Angels.
Another young pitcher will be taking the mound opposite of the 26-year-old Holland with A.J. Griffin set to make the start for Oakland.
Griffin has been solid in his second MLB season. The 25-year-old owns a 10-7 record and an ERA just south of 4.00 (3.90). His 10 wins are second only to staff ace Bartolo Colon who has 14 victories on the season.
Though Griffin has solid numbers he has been susceptible to the long ball and has allowed a Major League leading 26 home runs on the campaign.
The home run issue really hurt Griffin in his last start as he allowed three home runs to Toronto. He has allowed a total of eight home runs in his last three starts.
Griffin was able to limit the damage though and finished the game with seven innings pitched and just four runs allowed. The Athletics won the game 9-4 giving Griffin his fourth win in his last five starts.
During the same series in May between these foes, Griffin also made a start. The right-hander had more success than Holland as he allowed just a single run over seven innings while tying a season-high with eight strikeouts. Griffin is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.
Despite Saturday's loss, the Rangers still lead the season series with Oakland, 7-5.
08/04 10:44:34 ET
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