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SEA@OAK: Milone gives up two runs in 6 2/3 innings

There's a trend starting to develop.

Once again, Oakland starter Tommy Milone deserved a better outcome in his last start.

Rangers starter Justin Grimm expected more from his last appearance. Again.

On Wednesday, the two will square off in a battle between the top two teams in the American League West, and there's a good chance only one of them will walk off the field feeling satisfied.

In his last outing, Milone limited the Mariners to two runs on just five hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 6 2/3 innings, but he came up short. Overall, he's allowed two runs or fewer in half of his starts this season.

What's more, Milone is 3-1 with a 3.49 ERA and .233 opposing batting average in his last six starts. He's received five runs of support in six losses this year.

After their 6-2 win on Tuesday, the A's currently lead the Rangers by three games in the AL West.

"I felt like early on in the game, I wasn't pounding the zone as much as I would like," Milone said of his last outing. "Especially a pitcher like me, I need to throw a lot of strikes and work the counts in my favor. I wasn't doing that the first couple innings, but I was able to take a deep breath and start throwing more quality strikes."

As for Grimm, he is 0-2 with an 11.40 ERA in his last three starts. He lost to the Blue Jays in his last outing on Friday, allowing seven runs in 7 2/3 innings.

"One inning has been the problem," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He starts to elevate the ball. Sometimes when things start to happen, he has trouble getting in control of it. He'll learn. You call that gaining experience."

Grimm lost his only start against the A's this year, allowing five runs in five innings.

"I can't wait. I want to get back out there," Grimm said. "This is a big series for us. I have to minimize the big inning. My confidence is good, and I'm attacking the zone. I just have to make solid pitches. When the game speeds up, slow it down and execute pitches. It's that simple."

Expect Milone to be ready.

"They have basically the same lineup," he said. "We got to attack them the same way. For me, it's keeping the ball down and get them to hit the ball on the ground. Especially in a park like this, when a ball can go out at any moment."

Athletics: Cespedes still not 100 percent
Yoenis Cespedes was the designated hitter for the fifth straight game on Tuesday, and he went 0-for-3. He's 3-for-20 since returning to the lineup after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes' legs "aren't quite 100 percent."

• John Jaso, who homered on Tuesday, has reached base safely in a career-high and A's season-high-tying 17 consecutive games. He is hitting .345 with 11 walks during that stretch.

• The A's have scored 23 runs on 32 hits over the last three games.

Rangers: Soria working way back
Joakim Soria was cleared to begin a medical rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Frisco on Thursday.

For the right-hander, it will be the first time he's pitched in a game since undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on April 3, 2012.

• The Rangers have been in second place in the division behind the A's for seven consecutive days, and nine of the last 12.

• The Rangers are 4-4 against the A's and 20-10 against the AL West this season.

Worth noting:
• Texas is in a stretch of playing 20 of 26 games in Arlington. The club is 20-15 at home this season.

• The A's have a 30-15 record at night, and a 13-15 mark in day games.

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