Nothing says, "Hello!", like winning big on the road in your rival's ballpark, and the Texas Rangers gave that salutation to the Oakland Athletics last week at O.co Coliseum -- so it's been a returned favor this week for the A's to do the same in Arlington.
By winning 4-0 on Monday night and again 9-3 tonight in Texas, Oakland has sent a message right back to its American League West rivals as the two teams fight for supremacy in the division after having won the last four titles between them (2010-2013).
The A's (17-10) now lead the AL West by two games over the Rangers (15-12), and two teams will play again tomorrow evening. Oakland would like to sweep Texas, of course, to make up for the home sweep it suffered at the hands of the Rangers last week.
While tonight's win may have been more about the offense than the pitching, on Monday night, it was all about Sonny Gray for the A's. The young righty shut down Texas on three hits for his first career complete-game shutout, allowing just one walk while striking out six batters.
Oakland scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings, allowing Gray to cruise with a cushion for the evening. And he took advantage, needing just 108 pitches for the complete-game victory. Josh Donaldson had two RBI to lead the offense.
Tonight, Scott Kazmir pitched ably enough, but the A's lineup really tore into Martin Perez -- the same man who shut them out last Wednesday at the Coliseum. Oakland scored eight runs off Perez in less than five innings, while Kazmir gave up three runs in five innings.
Derek Norris and Josh Reddick each drove in three runs apiece, as the A's scored five runs in the fifth to take a 9-1 lead and knock Perez out of the ballgame. Three Oakland relievers kept Texas from scoring any more runs over the final four frames.
Tomorrow, Jesse Chavez (1-0, 2.32) takes the mound against Robbie Ross (1-1, 2.45), with the A's looking to sweep. After Wednesday's game, Oakland travels to Boston for a three-game at Fenway Park starting Friday evening before returning home next week to host Seattle, Washington and the Chicago White Sox over a three-series home stand.