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DET@TEX: Darvish strikes out 10 to tally win No. 10

The season's first three months saw the Texas Rangers win games at a blistering pace, unmatched by any other team in franchise history.

On Sunday, the Rangers -- winners of 17 of their last 21 games -- look to kick off July by completing a four-game sweep of the A's. In the process, they would add on to what is already the best first half for a Texas club.

Yu Darvish (10-4, 3.57 ERA) gets the ball for Texas, having won each of his last three starts. He'll be looking for some revenge against the A's, who handed him his most recent loss as the Japanese phenom allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings.

"Whether I'm facing the A's several times or whichever game it is, it's going to be a continuous game of adjustments," Darvish said. "I'm going to take this game just like any other game and prepare the same and just pitch the way I can. But we'll see what kind of adjustments I make."

With three losses this series, the A's have fallen to 13 games back in the American League West. Now they'll face Darvish, who would move into a tie for the league lead in wins with a victory.

"I think you have a better idea as a hitter how he's going to pitch you," A's manager Bob Melvin said of his club facing Darvish for the third time. "But he's still good. He's one of the premier pitchers in the league. He has a lot of pitches and uses them in any count, and when he gets on a roll, he's a tough customer to deal with. You have to try to minimize what you think he's going to try to do to you."

During his last start against Oakland, Darvish walked a season-high six batters -- a problem for him throughout the year. His 50 walks were the most in baseball earlier this week, though he now trails Cleveland right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

"Even though I'm not leading anymore, I'm giving up more walks than I should," Darvish said. "It's something that I'm going to improve on in the future."

Opposing Darvish will be left-hander Travis Blackley, who has been a pleasant surprise since the A's claimed him off waivers from the Giants on May 15.

In his last three starts, Blackley is 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA, while holding opposing hitters to just a .186 clip.

A's: Cespedes will stay in left
A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will remain in left field, Melvin said on Saturday.

Cespedes, a natural center fielder, misplayed a crucial line drive in Friday night's loss, but Melvin said he still wasn't planning on flip-flopping Cespedes and current center fielder Coco Crisp for the second time this season.

"I don't even want to go down that road," he said. "This is where we are right now. Anything's possible in the game, but I don't want to open this up and say the possibility is for him to go back to center field. This is the way we're going to play it."

Rangers: Feliz to throw in Chicago
Rangers righty Neftali Feliz isn't eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list until July 18, but he'll be back on the bullpen mound sooner than that.

When the Rangers travel to Chicago this week, the rehabbing Feliz said he plans to throw from a mound for the the first time in seven weeks. He was placed on the DL on May 21 with right elbow inflammation.

"Every day I'm working a lot. I'm feeling better and better," Feliz said. "I'll try to go to Chicago and throw a bullpen. I don't know what day it is, but I'm going to throw a bullpen in Chicago."

Feliz said the Rangers haven't yet told him whether he'll be a starter or reliever when he returns.

• Josh Hamilton's home run on Saturday night made him the fastest to 25 homers in Rangers history.

Worth noting
• Cespedes is now hitting .542 with three doubles a triple and a homer in seven games against the Rangers.

• With a win, the A's would even the season series between the two clubs at five games apiece.

• Blackley has picked off four baserunners this season, tying Toronto's Ricky Romero for the AL lead. Comments