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07/28/10 9:05 PM ET

Rangers, A's wrap up AL West showdown

The race between the top two teams in the American League West continues to take shape.

Following Wednesday's 3-1 win by Oakland in Texas, the Rangers' lead over the A's in the division is now 7 1/2 games.

The Rangers are not panicking. The club has been in first place in the AL West for 51 consecutive days and 87 total days this season. Overall, Texas is 18-9 against the division.

"We're a confident team. We're happy with the effort and work we've put in so far, but our job's not over," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. "Every guy in this locker room can look at a part of his game, tighten it up and make it better. That's the goal."

The goal for Rangers starter C.J. Wilson a repeat performance of his last outing. On Friday, Wilson held the Angels scoreless over eight innings while not walking a batter. In his only start against the A's this season, he earned the no-decision after allowing only one run in seven innings of work.

"I'd say that was the best outing I've had all year, simply because of the fact I didn't walk anybody," Wilson said. "That was the best part of it for me."

The A's will counter with Vin Mazzaro, who is 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA in his last five starts. Hitters have a .202 batting average against him during that span. In his last start, Mazzaro gave up two runs in six innings in the 10-2 win against the White Sox.

"You can't be scared to throw your pitches," Mazzaro said. "I had my slider working after that and got a little more comfortable with it, and I went from there."

Rangers around the horn
Nelson Cruz is riding a career-high 16 game hitting streak. He has 14 RBIs in his last 12 games. ... Neftali Feliz has 28 saves this season, 16 more than the franchise's record for rookies and nine shy of the Major League record for rookies set by Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000. ... Josh Hamilton has hit safely in 36 of his last 37 home games.

Athletics at a glance
Ben Sheets will miss the remainder of the season with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. ... The A's are "very close" to inking a deal with first-round Draft pick Michael Choice. ... Andrew Bailey, still nursing an upper back strain, was unavailable for the seventh consecutive game on Wednesday but could potentially be back on the mound Thursday. ... Conor Jackson (hamstring) is progressing with running activities in Arizona, but there is still no timetable for a Minor League rehab.

Worth noting
The Rangers are 4-2 on their current seven-game homestand. The club is 36-21 at home this season. ... The A's have allowed two runs or fewer in six of their last 12 games. ... Oakland has 17 stolen bases since the All-Star break.

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