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TEX@OAK: Gray fans eight over seven solid frames

ARLINGTON -- The A's and Rangers will christen a three-game set at Globe Life Park on Monday with a pitching matchup featuring a pair of the game's most dynamic right-handers.

Oakland's Sonny Gray and Texas ace Yu Darvish are set to square off in the series opener, just five days after the Rangers finished off a three-game sweep of the A's in Oakland.

"You try not to let that affect you," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "You move on, and this team's been good about putting stuff in the past."

Darvish will be pitching on six days' rest after allowing the A's three runs on eight hits and four walks with six strikeouts in six innings in his last outing.

The Rangers had an off-day on Thursday and Matt Harrison was activated off the disabled list on Sunday, allowing Texas to push back Darvish two extra days. The Rangers wanted him to lead off the A's series, plus get one start against the Angels this coming weekend.

"Since I just faced them," Darvish said, "it will be easier to plan my game plan."

Darvish is 1-6 with a 4.32 ERA in eight career starts against the A's. He won his first career start against them before dropping six in a row in advance of last week's no-decision.

"The desire to win is the same with any team I face as it is with Oakland," Darvish said. "I did everything the same as I usually do between my starts."

Gray's loss against Texas on Wednesday was his first since Sept. 5. The righty allowed three runs on five hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in the outing, his first career appearance against the Rangers.

Overall, the 24-year-old is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts this year.

"It's a good matchup," Melvin said, "and it's fun to watch when you're in the dugout. It's a lot more fun when you win. It's a terrific matchup."

A's: Cespedes expected back during Rangers series
Oakland has been without slugger Yoenis Cespedes for three games in a row, but the A's are hoping to get him back in the lineup at some point in Texas this week.

Cespedes endured a mild left hamstring strain in Thursday's game in Houston, and has since been working his way back to game action with batting practice and running drills.

The 28-year-old left fielder is a career .232 hitter with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 17 games played in Arlington.

Rangers: Change could come at catcher
Now that Robinson Chirinos has taken over as the No. 1 catcher, the Rangers are mulling what to do about J.P. Arencibia. He is hitting .094 with three hits in 32 at-bats.

The Rangers have Chris Gimenez and Brett Nicholas sharing the duties at Triple-A Round Rock. Both could be an option if the Rangers decide Arencibia needs to play regularly and get his bat going. Gimenez has 143 games of Major League experience with the Indians, Mariners and Rays over the past five seasons and was on the Rangers Opening Day roster.

Nicholas has never played in the big leagues, but he's a left-handed bat who went into Sunday hitting .282 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 20 games. He was behind the plate for Nick Tepesch's shutout on Saturday.

Chirinos started for the seventh time in nine games on Sunday, his 14th start on the season. The Rangers were 11-2 in his first 13 starts.

"He has been calling a good game and getting pitchers through their innings," manager Ron Washington said. "He's doing exactly what I want my catchers to do. He has been playing well. Whatever offense he gives me is great. All I care about when the day is over is we won a ballgame and he got the pitchers through their game."

Worth noting

• Rangers closer Joakim Soria is 14-for-14 in career save opportunities against the A's. That's the second highest number of saves against any club without a blown save for Soria. He is 17-for-17 against Minnesota.

• Jed Lowrie is 18-for-52 (.346) with seven doubles, a home run and nine runs scored in his last 12 games, after going 2-for-18 (.111) in his previous seven contests.

• Firestone In-Park All-Star Balloting to select the starting lineups for the 2014 Major League All-Star Game begins on Monday night at Globe Life Park and continues at all Rangers home games through June 24.

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