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LAA@OAK: Parker fans eight over seven strong innings

Scott Feldman looked good in the first four innings of his last three starts, allowing just three runs.

But lately the fifth inning has proven troublesome for the Rangers right-hander, as Feldman surrendered eight runs in the fifth frame of his last three starts and recorded just five outs. He is 0-3 with a 4.61 ERA in those three outings, one of them a spot start while Derek Holland rested and the other two starts while taking over for an injured Neftali Feliz in the Rangers' rotation.

"I know I can pitch more than five innings," Feldman said. "I know it's happened three times in a row, but I've been working on a starter's program between starts, and hopefully the third time is the charm. I can go deep in a ballgame and give the bullpen a break."

Feldman's stint as a starter may be nearly over as recently-signed Roy Oswalt is set to join the Rangers later this month. Oswalt made the first of what will likely be four Minor League starts with Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday, tossing two scoreless innings. Feliz, who has been sidelined with right elbow inflammation, is not expected to return until after the All-Star break.

"I just plan on going out there and giving everything I have and do as well as I can," Feldman said. "As long as I'm doing that, everything else will take care of itself."

A start against the Athletics in Monday's series opener may be what Feldman needs to break out of his funk. The A's have been blanked in three of their last four games and have lost 10 of 11, ending a nine-game losing streak with a 9-3 win on Saturday before falling to the Royals, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon.

The Rangers have also struggled as of late, losing four in a row before winning their series finale over the Angels, 7-3, on Sunday. Despite the short skid, the Rangers (32-22) still own the best record in the American League and a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL West.

"They're built for the long run to where it doesn't look like there's too many deficiencies that can be exposed all at once," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Those are the types of teams that you really don't expect to go into big funks, because they can beat you different ways ... offensively, defensively, pitching, speed, power."

The Athletics will hand the ball to Jarrod Parker, who is 1-2 with a 2.88 ERA in seven starts this year, to oppose Feldman. Parker has turned in quality starts in each of his last two outings, posting a 0.69 ERA and striking out 12, but getting a no-decision in both games. The Athletics have scored two runs or fewer in three of Parker's last four starts -- all losses.

Rangers: Defense key to snapping skid
• For the first time in five games, the Rangers did not allow an unearned run, helping them break a four-game losing streak with Sunday's 7-3 win over the Angels. In the previous four games, the Rangers committed seven errors and surrendered nine unearned runs as they were outscored 35-15 between a pair of losses to the Mariners and two more to the Angels.

The Rangers have given up 30 unearned runs this season, tying them with the Giants for most in the Major Leagues. In fact, 13.5 percent of the runs the Rangers have allowed this year have been unearned.

• When the Rangers' position players committed three errors, grounded into three double plays, left 10 men on base, and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Angels, it marked the first time that had happened in team history. The Rangers were much improved on Sunday, going 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position while not committing an error or grounding into a double play. They did leave 14 men on base, however.

Athletics: Weeks day-to-day with hip strain
• Second baseman Jemile Weeks is day-to-day after sustaining a left hip injury in Saturday's 9-3 win over the Royals. Weeks was 2-for-2 before exiting and had been riding a season-high nine game hitting streak. Weeks was used a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning on Sunday, grounding out to end the game.

Weeks leads the American League with four triples and is tied for fourth with 10 stolen bases. He hasn't recorded a RBI in his last 25 games but, after batting .186 in April, Weeks hit .250 in May. Weeks has four hits in seven at-bats in June, including a double and a triple.

Worth Noting
• When Colin Cowgill threw out Jeff Franceour at home Saturday, the Athletics broke a tie with the Rangers for most outfield assists in the Major Leagues. After having 21 outfield assists last season, the Athletics have 12 this season while the Rangers have 11.

• Oakland is the last AL West city the Rangers have visited this season. The previous two times they faced the Athletics were in Arlington. The Rangers are 2-4 this season against AL West teams on the road.

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