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TEX@SEA: Wilson fans eight over 6 1/3 frames

With the Rangers' magic number shrinking to four after Tuesday's 7-2 win against the Athletics, there is a chance that Texas could clinch before its season-ending series against the Angels.

Any combination of four Rangers wins or Angels losses in the next six days would eliminate the Angels and give Texas the American League West title.

While eliminating all playoff implications of that Angels series has been foremost on Rangers fans' minds, manager Ron Washington said that's not a consideration for the team itself.

"That's something that can't be a part of your mind-set," Washington said. "The only thing that can be on your mind is winning tonight. Play to win and that will take care of itself. We're not good enough to worry about that. We just have to win tonight."

In order to "win tonight" the Rangers will have to continue their run of hitting well against former teammate Brandon McCarthy on Wednesday. In four starts against the team he played for from 2007-09, McCarthy is 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA. Along with the 12 earned runs he's surrendered, Texas has also scored eight unearned runs against him.

The A's are 1-3 in those games. In his other 19 starts, the A's are a respectable 10-9.

He's been pitching especially well of late, as he carries a 2.15 ERA and a .196 batting average against in his last five starts.

The game is the second of three against Texas, and Oakland manager Bob Melvin said it is important to finish strong at your home ballpark.

"We'd like to play well here for a number of different reasons," Melvin said. "It's the last homestand of the year against the team that's played well against us. We'd like to have a nice sendoff for the fans and take into consideration, too, that they're in first place and fighting for a playoff spot. There are several different story lines in these last few games here that normally wouldn't be here."

Rangers: Starters to rest with early clinch
• Before Tuesday's game against the A's, Washington said he would sit a few key starters to make sure they are rested for the playoffs if the Rangers clinch early. While gaining home-field advantage is important, Washington contends that having rested starters is more important.

"If we get the opportunity to clinch early, I have to give some guys days off," Washington said. "We want to win as many games as possible but the most important thing is to have these guys healthy. If you're in the playoffs, you'd like to be at home, but if we're in the playoffs, I don't care where I'm at."

Athletics: Sweeney may not return
• Ryan Sweeney is more likely to return in a pinch-hit role than as a starter this season after suffering a strained upper left quad last Wednesday, Melvin said. But it is unclear that he will return at all, with only seven games remaining in the season.

• Brandon Allen was given a second consecutive day off against the Rangers on Tuesday, but Melvin said he would be in Wednesday's lineup back at first base.

Worth noting
• Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus comes into Wednesday's game riding a 13-game hit streak.

• The Rangers' 89-65 record is the second-best mark for the team through 154 games, trailing only 1991's 91-63 record.

• Wednesday's Rangers starter, C.J. Wilson, is tied for the club record in double plays induced with 30. His next one will set a new club record. Wilson's rotation mate Matt Harrison is also tied with Wilson, Rick Honeycutt (1983) and Kevin Brown (1991). Comments