The Texas Rangers will look to finish an American League West hat trick on Sunday when they aim to take three of four games against the Oakland Athletics
Andrew Heaney (2-3, 5.25 ERA), who was saddled with one of the Rangers' three losses in nine games so far on their West Coast trek, will start on Sunday. Left-hander JP Sears (0-3, 5.54) is likely to provide the opposition for the Athletics
After winning two of three games against both the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners, the Rangers continued their success in Oakland
Former A's Marcus Semien, Robbie Grossman and Jonah Heim have combined for nine hits in the series for Texas, including three doubles and two homers.
The offense has added to the enjoyment of manager Bruce Bochy, who is making his first San Francisco Bay Area return since he initially retired as Giants manager after the 2019 season.
Bochy, however, knows nothing is going to come easily on get-away day.
"They're fighting hard over there, just like us," Bochy said. "You have them on the ropes, you want to finish it off."
Heaney is 0-2 in his last three starts. He pitched into the seventh inning in a 5-0 loss at Seattle on Tuesday, but he allowed four runs (three earned) in the setback.
Heaney benefited from his team's offensive outburst on Oakland pitching when he recorded a win in an 18-3 home romp over the A's on April 22. His best friend that day was Adolis Garcia, who launched three home runs to highlight his five-hit, eight-RBI performance.
The 31-year-old Heaney has made 10 career starts against the A's, going 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA.
After complaining recently about an overworked bullpen, A's manager Mark Kotsay has elected to proceed with a six-man rotation this week.
Luis Medina made the most of his second big-league start with six effective innings in Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Rangers. James Kaprielian, promoted from Triple-A earlier in the day, was even better over seven frames in Saturday's 5-0 defeat
In between, the A's received a walk-off, three-run homer from Brent Rooker in the 10th inning for a come-from-behind, 9-7 victory.
Kaprielian's start enabled Sears to be pushed back a day, so the latter will have five days' rest when he seeks just Oakland's second win in its last eight games.
The 27-year-old Sears is winless in his last nine outings dating to last season, although he did start a 5-4 win at Texas on April 21. Down 4-0 after the first inning, Oakland won the game on Jordan Diaz's pinch-hit homer in the ninth.
Sears, who has appeared in just 24 major-league games, said he experienced an exercise in patience in the slow start in Texas.
"I was pretty upset with myself," he said of the four-run first, which included a three-run homer by Heim. "I just tried to keep doing my thing and knew that the guys would scratch off some runs later in the game, so I kind of felt better as I went."
Sears has gone 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA over three career starts against the Rangers
--Field Level Media