|Rangers hope to build on home win, in series opener vs A's|
Not much has been going right for Texas through the first 23 games of the season, but the stars aligned correctly on Sunday afternoon and allowed the Rangers to beat the Seattle Mariners 7-4, avoid a three-game sweep and win at home for the first time in almost two weeks.
It helped that the Rangers (8-15) got Delino DeShields, their starting center fielder, back from injury, left-hander Martin Perez fashioned his best performance of the season, and two of Texas' most important power hitters - Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo -- homered.
Now Texas must find a way to sustain that momentum, as the Oakland Athletics head to Arlington for a three-game series beginning Monday night at Globe Life Park.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the mound for Oakland and left-hander Matt Moore (1-3, 5.59) will be the starter for the Rangers.
The most surprising part of Sunday's win was the showing by Perez. He struggled in his first three appearances of the season, allowing at least nine hits in all three starts and 21.16 hits per nine innings, the most of any pitcher in the league this year with at least three starts.
That changed Sunday as Perez (2-2) held the Mariners to two runs in six innings, allowing seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Perez said afterward that he took the advice of teammate and seemingly ageless pitcher Bartolo Colon and stayed positive despite his tough start to the season.
"I was talking to Bartolo yesterday and he was saying, 'Stay with it, we're close to good things happening,'" Perez said. "Everything starts with your mind. If you're not ready in your mind, you're not ready to compete. You've got to stay positive, even when things are not going good."
DeShields returned from the disabled list and made the defensive play of the game in the sixth inning, robbing Seattle's David Freitas of a home run by snatching the ball back over the center field fence.
"At first, it looked like a high popup, but the wind was carrying it pretty good," DeShields said. "I tried to get back to the wall and time it. I don't know if I robbed it, but it was at least at the top of the wall."
Moore is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last two starts after allowing an unearned run and five hits in seven innings of Tuesday's 7-2 win at Tampa Bay. He is 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA in five career starts against Oakland.
The Athletics head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on the heels of a 4-1 victory over Boston on Sunday in Oakland that was their sixth in the past seven games.
Khris Davis broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run homer off the David Price in the bottom of the eighth inning to provide the winning margin.
Davis also drove in the A's first run with an RBI single in the first inning and made a winner out of reliever Blake Treinen, who got the last five outs of the game after starter Daniel Mengden allowed one run.
The A's 5-1 homestand included Sean Manaea's no-hitter Saturday night. Oakland coach Bob Melvin spoke Sunday about how Manaea has evolved in his time with the team.
"Sean came into camp trying to prove a point that he's a top of the rotation guy," Melvin said. "The second half of last year didn't sit very well with him.
"He's doing things a little differently than what we saw with him when he was really dominating with all the swings and misses. His location is so much better. And he still has so much deception with his delivery."
The Rangers will miss Manaea in this upcoming three-game series, but that's likely OK with a team that, until Sunday, was struggling to score runs. They will try to hit Cahill, who tossed seven scoreless innings during a 10-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday to start his second stint with Oakland.
Cahill is 10-4 with a 2.69 ERA in 17 career starts against Texas.