MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Texas0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 131
Oakland0 0 0 0 5 2 0 1 x 8100
  W: J. Cotton (9-10)   L: M. Pérez (12-12)
1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET16:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 PM MST3:05 PM EST3:35 PM VEN0:05 UAE (+1)3:05 PM CT, September 24, 2017
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California  Attendance: 18,601

Rangers hope to ride Perez to win over A's

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Texas Rangers left-hander Martin Perez had a 5-10 record and a 5.46 ERA after his first 21 starts this season. He owned a four-game losing streak and had allowed a combined 15 runs and 18 hits in losses to Baltimore and Minnesota.

Perez appeared to be well on his way to the worst season of his major-league career but somehow flipped the switch after that Aug. 4 loss to the Twins and has been almost unbeatable down the stretch.

Perez has gone 7-1 with a 3.14 ERA in his past nine starts, and he'll try to stay hot Sunday afternoon in the series finale against the Oakland Athletics with the Rangers clinging to their wild-card playoff hopes.

"I found a way to throw more strikes and get out of the inning when I get problems in a game," Perez said. "Just trying to stay positive and never lost my mind and never lost my focus. I'm good now. I think now it's my time to do things good for the team."

The Rangers (76-78) lost 1-0 to the A's on Saturday night and fell 4 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins, who were 10-4 winners over Detroit, for the second AL wild-card spot. The Rangers, who have eight games remaining, are tied with Kansas City and the Los Angeles Angels in the wild-card race.

"We still have a chance," Perez said before the loss. "Just go out there and do my job and throw a quality start. I think it's time to help the team. We need it. So go out there and do my job and try to go six or seven tomorrow and win. That's what it's all about. Win."

Unfortunately for the Rangers, they're 1-7 with seven straight losses at the Coliseum this year. They need to win Sunday to avoid getting swept at the Coliseum for the second straight time.

"We got to win games," said Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele, who served as acting manager in place of Jeff Banister, who returned to Texas to be with his mother, Verda, who is experiencing complications for surgery. "It's simple. We got eight games left. We know where we're at."

The Rangers will face A's right-hander Jharel Cotton, who was scratched from his previous scheduled start Wednesday at Detroit after straining a groin while warming up before the game.

Cotton (8-10, 5.81) is 3-0 in his past five starts with victories against Houston, Texas and Boston.

"Of course I want to go out there for my last two starts and prove myself some more," said Cotton, a rookie. "This year was for sure a learning experience. I learned a lot and of course it's going to take me into the offseason on a good note and I'm excited for that."

Cotton allowed two runs and four hits in six innings in an 8-3 A's victory over Texas on Aug. 27 at the Coliseum. He struck out nine, matching his career high, and walked none.

"I think everything was working," Cotton said. "My command was there. And the confidence was there. I'm going to take that same approach into tomorrow."

Cotton is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three career starts against Texas. This year, he's 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts vs. the Rangers.

Perez is 6-6 with a 5.03 ERA in 14 career starts against the A's. This season against Oakland, he's 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in two starts.

The A's have won a season-high six straight games and are 13-3 in their past 16 games.

"It's fun to watch," Cotton said. "We're coming together as a squad and it's going to be something special to watch, especially in the upcoming years. I'm excited about it. I'm excited to be a part of it."

Updated September 24, 2017

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