The visiting team has won all six meetings heading into the opener of this three-game set Monday night in Oakland.Texas (34-35) swept a three-game set in Oakland between April 21-23, and the Athletics returned the favor in Arlington from April 28-30. The Rangers trail the AL's best team by eight games in the West."We've got to go up there and play well or we're going to get buried," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website. "We want to play well because they're leading the division. But I'm not going to call a meeting. We're just going to go into Oakland and play."Oakland (42-27) has won 13 of its last 17 at home after Sunday's 10-5 victory over the New York Yankees. It got all the offense it needed on three-run homers by Derek Norris and Coco Crisp in the first two innings and led by 10 runs after four.The Athletics are second in the AL with 79 homers, continuing their 2013 success when they finished third with 186."We obviously made ourselves a little more well-rounded over the last couple years, but whenever we're hitting homers we're winning," Norris said. "That's just the bottom line. That's what we did today."Oakland, which is 35-14 when it goes deep at least once, had only one home run in its previous five games."It's good to see," manager Bob Melvin said. "We haven't been swinging the bat as well as we were earlier, certainly on the power portion of it."Going deep Monday could be a challenge since Texas starter Colby Lewis (4-4, 5.74 ERA) has surrendered six homers in 58 innings. That doesn't mean Lewis will be tough to hit since he is allowing opponents to bat .336, which would be the majors' worst mark if he pitched enough innings to qualify.Length has also been a problem with the right-hander lasting at least six innings just once in 11 outings. Lewis, however, is 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in his last nine starts against the A's.Crisp has faced Lewis more than any Oakland hitter, going 4 for 22.The A's will counter with Drew Pomeranz (5-3, 1.90), who is 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA in three home starts. He has never started against Texas.The left-hander gave up an unearned run over seven innings Tuesday in a 2-1, 14-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels.Pomeranz should be challenged by Alex Rios, who is among baseball's leaders with a .417 average against left-handers.The Rangers' three-game win streak ended Sunday with a 5-1 loss at Seattle. Brad Snyder's solo homer was all they mustered.Right-handed hitter Donnie Murphy is expected to be in the lineup the next two games against southpaws Pomeranz and Tommy Milone.Washington has been doing his best to try to jump-start an offense averaging 3.8 runs over its last 15 games. The manager gave rookie infielder Luis Sardinas -- 8 for 19 during a six-game hitting streak -- a second straight start, this time at second base after Sardinas played shortstop Saturday when Elvis Andrus had the night off.
Among all lefties with at least five starts this season, Drew Pomeranz throws his fastball the most often (75 percent). Alex Rios is hitting .406 since the start of last season in at-bats ending with a fastball from a lefty, the fifth-highest average among qualified hitters.