(OAKLAND) -- Strange the Oakland Athletics, who have a seven-game lead on the Texas Rangers in the American League West division this season so far, have yet to beat their rivals at home in 2014, while the reverse is also true: Texas hasn't beaten Oakland at home, either.
And for the A's to lift the Texas hex on the O.co Coliseum tonight, they'll have to beat a pitcher they've had great success against recently: Yu Darvish. Oakland has knocked around the whirling Rangers righty and saddled him with a 1-7 record and a 4.73 ERA in head-to-head meetings since he came to the majors.
Overall this season Darvish has posted a 7-2 record with a 2.11 ERA, and he'll be facing A's lefty Tommy Milone (4-3, 3.47) who hasn't lost since starting the season 0-3 through May 3. In his last seven starts, Oakland's steady starter has allowed just ten earned runs over 41 innings, lowering his ERA from a season-high 5.86 mark.
In back-to-back starts against the A's in late April, Darvish surrendered seven earned runs over 9.1 innings while walking six batters.
Oakland needs to bounce back from Monday night's pasting at the hands of the Texas hitters. The Rangers' 14-8 win was only the fourth A's loss by five or more runs this year, but two of those have come in the last four games.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run and drove in four runs for Oakland, but the A's pitchers coughed up the most runs they have this season. In fact, it was the first time the team had given up double-digit runs this year. The last time Oakland gave up so many runs was August 25, 2011, when the team lost to the New York Yankees by a football-like 22-9 score.
Overall, the A's have a 4.5-game lead over the Anaheim Angels in the AL West, and they also lead the Seattle Mariners by 5.5 games. Yet even though the Rangers trail all three teams, clearly they have Oakland's number in the Coliseum.
Texas is 4-0 here in 2014, outscoring the host A's by a combined 26-15 margin.