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Rangers eye series win over Athletics

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers eye an important early season series win on Tuesday when they play the middle test of a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum.

Texas won for the sixth time in seven tries in Monday's opener, as Donnie Murphy's go-ahead RBI single in the top of the eighth inning lifted the Rangers to a 4-3 win.

Kevin Kouzmanoff smacked a leadoff double to right against Sean Doolittle (0-1) and advanced to third on Mitch Moreland's sacrifice bunt to begin the frame. Murphy then slapped a base hit up the middle to plate Kouzmanoff.

Neal Cotts and Alexi Ogando combined to work a scoreless eighth. Cotts picked (1-1) up the final two outs in the seventh to get the win.

Jed Lowrie reached with one out in the ninth against Joakim Soria when Elvis Andrus threw the ball away on a routine play to shortstop. But Soria got Josh Donaldson to pop out to center and Yeonis Cespedes to fly out to left to notch his fourth save of the season.

Coco Crisp posted three hits, two RBI and a pair of steals for the A's, who fell for only the second time in their last nine tries.

"Very competitive game, about as close as you can get," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Getting the call for the Rangers on Tuesday will be righty Nick Martinez, who will be taking the place of Tanner Scheppers. Martinez did not get a decision in his only other start back on April 5 versus Tampa, as he allowed three runs and four hits in six innings. He was sent to Double A Frisco after that outing and pitched to a 1.86 ERA in two starts there.

Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Tommy Milone, who is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA. Milone did not get a decision last Wednesday in Anaheim and surrendered three runs (2 earned) and six hits in six innings.

"I thought Milone pitched great," said Melvin. "We can't expect any more than that."

Milone has faced the Rangers six times and is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA.

Oakland narrowly edged the Rangers, 10-9, in the season series a year ago.

04/22 10:55:30 ET

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