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Parker fans seven in eight strong innings

A pair of rookies will square off in Texas on Wednesday night, when the Rangers host the A's for the third of a four-game series.

Oakland will send right-hander Jarrod Parker to the mound against Texas lefty Martin Perez as the teams battle for postseason positioning. An A's victory on Tuesday left them four games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Texas still has a magic number of five to win the division title.

The A's lead the Angels by two games and the Rays by three for the second AL Wild Card berth and sit a half-game behind the Orioles for the top spot.

Oakland, which has lost six of nine, will turn to Parker. The 23-year-old had the finest performance of his young career against the Rangers on June 4, when he permitted one hit over eight scoreless innings.

Parker also has been strong of late, allowing two or fewer earned runs in four straight starts, with a 1.86 ERA, 19 strikeouts and three walks in that span. He held the Yankees to one run in eight innings on Friday.

"I think he feels like he's no longer a rookie with the way he's pitched this time of the year," A's manager Bob Melvin said following the 2-1 loss in New York. "He pitched really good."

Perez (1-2, 3.78 ERA) has a 3.38 ERA in his four big league starts. The first of those came against the A's on June 30, when the 21-year-old also picked up career victory No. 1 after giving up two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Perez struggled on Friday at Seattle in his first start in the Majors since July 24. He surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits in four innings.

"He needs better command of his fastball," Texas manager Ron Washington said following the 6-3 Mariners win. "I like the way he competes. He doesn't back down. He's got good enough stuff and he believes in his stuff. I just want him to go out there and keep competing."

A's: Slumping Reddick gets a break
Right fielder Josh Reddick was hitless in his last 27 at-bats when Melvin left him out of the lineup for Tuesday's game. The streak increased to 28 when Reddick lined out as a pinch-hitter.

"He's grinding pretty hard," Melvin said before the game. "That hasn't changed."

Reddick has 29 home runs and 79 RBIs this season to go with a .762 OPS. He's shown some streakiness before, following up a 6-for-46 (.130) stretch in August by going 14-for-28 (.500) in his next six contests.

• For the first time in almost a week, outfielder Coco Crisp took part in baseball activities on Tuesday, hitting in the batting cage and shagging fly balls. He then appeared as a pinch-runner and stole second base in the eighth inning, his first game action since Friday.

Rangers: Oswalt back on the mound, in bullpen
Roy Oswalt hadn't appeared in a game since Sept. 9 before tossing two scoreless innings against the A's on Monday. The veteran righty gave up one hit and struck out two in his fifth relief appearance of the season, to go along with nine starts.

Oswalt has recovered from right forearm tightness that forced him to exit his previous outing, and Washington called his performance "outstanding." The Rangers could elect to put Oswalt on their postseason roster as a middle reliever.

The 35-year-old said on Tuesday that his arm felt "pretty good" after his return to action.

Worth noting
• Oakland struck out 15 times on Tuesday, giving the club an Major League-high 1,322 for the season, only two off the American League record set by the 2007 Rays.

• The A's and Rangers are now even in their season series, at 7-7.

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