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Oakland completes sweep in Texas with 12-1 victory on Wednesday

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Heading into this three-game series in Texas against the Rangers, tied for the American League West division lead, the Oakland Athletics had lost five of their last seven games. Now, after sweeping the trio of contests on the road, the A's are proud winners of five in their last seven.

It's not quite hockey madness, but it's close to it, eh? (No comment from reeling San Jose Sharks fans this morning.)

Oakland, now 18-10, has a three-game lead in the AL West suddenly, and the A's are back on the winning track as they head to Boston for three games starting on Friday. They sent their three best starters to the hill in Texas and were richly rewarded as they outscored the Rangers, 25-4, in these meetings.

This included a 12-1 win on Wednesday, behind Jesse Chavez' seven innings of one-hit baseball and three RBI from infielder Eirc Sogard. Meanwhile, Texas unraveled with four errors that led to four unearned Oakland runs in the laugher. Overall, A's starters Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Chavez allowed just three runs to Texas in this series (all on Tuesday, off Kazmir).

In addition to leading the AL West division, Oakland also has the best record -- once again -- in the entire American League, leading AL East leader New York (15-11) and AL Central leader Detroit (14-9), both recent playoff nemeses for the A's.

However, the A's did receive some bad news this week, as they lost a second member of their 2014 projected starting rotation to Tommy John surgery this week (A.J. Griffin, joining Jarrod Parker). This means Oakland is still left with Dan Straily and Tommy Milone at the back end of their rotation -- and that hasn't yielded the best results this season (yet?).

Straily (1-1, 5.14) and Milone (0-2, 4.56) will get the nod on Friday and Saturday, respectively, in Boston, but the A's may be on the lookout for some rotation help as the spring soon begins to melt into summer in the Bay Area. While Parker, Griffin, Milone and Straily all showed up in 2012 to help lead the Oakland club to a division title, the now-injured duo were the most effective pair of the bunch.

The Red Sox are scuffling along at 13-14 right now, but they are the defending World Series champions -- and always dangerous at home in Fenway Park.