© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

05/04/10 3:38 AM ET

Streaking Rangers look to keep A's down

Scott Feldman is starting to pitch like it's 2009.

The Rangers hope he continues to channel the past into the present when he takes the mound Tuesday against Oakland starter Vin Mazzaro.

Feldman, who won 17 games last year, gave up only two hits in six-plus innings in his previous start against the White Sox. He retired nine of the 10 first batters he faced and allowed a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly, but came back with a perfect fifth. He struck out Mark Teahen to end the sixth with two men on base.

The Rangers still ended up losing the game, 7-5, dropping Feldman to 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his past three starts.

Still, it was a positive step for Feldman, especially when you consider he didn't pitch past the fourth inning in his previous starts.

"We got Feldman back," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "I thought he threw the ball very well."

The Rangers expected more, and need more, from Feldman if they hope to maintain their 1 1/2 game lead over Oakland in the American League West. Texas signed its Opening Day starter to a two-year, $11.5 million contract extension with an option for a third season this season.

"This is my first full season of starting," Feldman said. "I just want to keep improving and be on a good team. Those are my two goals."

Feldman's teammates probably feel the same way.

The right-hander is 3-4 with a 5.33 ERA in eight starts and five relief appearances in his career against the Athletics. He has made four starts and one relief appearances at the Coliseum, and is 1-3 with a 7.48 ERA there.

Mazzaro is making his 2010 big league debut, starting in place of injured right-hander Justin Duchscherer. He made 17 starts for Oakland last season but began this campaign at Triple-A Sacramento. He went 1-1 with a 2.59 ERA in five appearances (four starts) before the promotion.

"He's put together quite a few decent starts for Sacramento, and he had a good spring for us," said Oakland manager Bob Geren. "Hopefully, he'll be able to use all his pitches and throw strikes."

  Mazzaro went 4-9 with a 5.32 ERA for Oakland last season, going 1-4 with a 5.46 ERA at home.

"We definitely had more depth going into this year. Now we're being tested with that depth," Geren said. "Over the course of 162 games, there's always a good chance of some of these players knocking on the door for an opportunity. Sometimes it's sooner than we anticipated."

Rangers: Going streaking
Texas starters have a 1.72 ERA in their past seven games. ... The club is riding a season-high four-game win streak. The five-game road win streak is the club's longest since 2006.

A's: On the mend
The A's have eight players on the disabled list and have not had fewer than five on the DL since April 28 of last year. Mark Ellis (strained left hamstring) and Travis Buck (strained right oblique muscle) are on rehab assignment in Arizona. Kurt Suzuki is dealing with an intercostal strain but has remained in the Bay Area. It's unclear when Duchscherer (strained left hip) will make his next start.

Worth Noting:
Feldman has built a reputation as a winner on the road -- he set a Rangers record with 12 wins on the road last year -- but Tuesday will only be his second start away from Arlington this season. Feldman should feel at home -- he grew up in San Francisco.

"I like pitching here," he said. "It's always fun to pitch in front of my family and friends. I look forward to pitching here."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.