(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics can send an early message to the rest of the American League West on Monday when they start a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum.
Oakland owns the best record in the league at 13-5 and comes into tonight's opener having swept the Houston Astros. The A's finished off the sweep on Sunday, as Josh Donaldson went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and three RBI to lead Oakland to a 4-1 win.
Jed Lowrie went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Eric Sogard added two hits for the A's, who have won seven of eight.
A's starter Jesse Chavez (1-0) struck out six in six frames, allowing one run and three walks. Luke Gregerson sat down the side in order in the ninth for his third save of the season.
"Today was one of those days where I had to make pitches and see pretty much what I was made of as a starter," said Chavez. "The only thing I had pretty much working today was my changeup. That was a good pitch that I needed."
Oakland will now hand the ball to righty Dan Straily, who is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA, but was roughed up his last time out. Straily couldn't get out of the fourth inning on Tuesday in Anaheim, as the Angels pasted him for six runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Straily has faced the Rangers six times and is 3-1 against them with a 4.05 ERA.
Texas, meanwhile, will counter with its ace Yu Darvish, who has been awful over the course of his career against the A's. He has lost six straight starts to them and is just 1-6 lifetime against them with a 4.30 ERA.
"I know what their strategy is against me, and I just have to figure it out from there," Darvish said. "I just have to see how I feel that day and make adjustments and see how their approach is against me the first two innings."
Darvish has been tremendous in three starts this season, going 1-0 with an 0.82 ERA. He gave up his first two runs of the season on Wednesday against Seattle, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 3-2 win that day.
Texas had its five-game winning streak stopped on Sunday, as the Chicago White Sox battered them, 16-2.
Robbie Ross Jr. (1-1) was knocked around for seven runs -- four earned -- on seven hits while striking out eight over 5 1/3 innings to absorb the loss.
Luis Sardinas made his major league debut in the setback and collected one of the two hits for the Rangers, who finished 7-3 on a 10-game homestand.
"Definitely satisfied with the way things turned out (on the homestand). We won each series, we just have to keep winning series and we'll be fine," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. 'It will get to the point when things fall in place and we sweep a series. Just have to keep taking it a day at a time and playing the best game we can."
Oakland narrowly edged the Rangers, 10-9, in the season series a year ago.