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TB@OAK: Cobb pitches eight innings of two-run ball

Let the battle for the American League Wild Card continue.

As the Rangers and Rays begin a pivotal four-game series Monday night at Tropicana Field, the teams are tied atop the AL Wild Card standings, with the Indians a half game behind.

The series will certainly have a postseason feeling, but Rangers manager Ron Washington said before Sunday's loss to the A's that he's not worried about potential playoff implications.

"Right now we're just trying to win a ballgame," Washington said. "I'm not thinking about no playoffs, I'm not thinking about anything. We're just trying to win a ballgame. I just want to win a ballgame. Can you help me?"

The Rangers come to St. Petersburg mired in a season-long six-game losing streak and are just 2-11 in September. The starters are 1-11 with a 5.32 ERA in their last 13 games, a trend right-hander Matt Garza looks to change in Monday's opener against his former team.

Garza is winless in his past four starts and lasted only four innings against the Pirates on Wednesday.

"Obviously I'm not happy, because I'm not where I want to be, but I just got to get keep going," Garza said afterward. "There's nothing else. Just keep going, keep pushing, working and keep getting ready for that next start."

The Rays -- winners of three of their last four -- counter with right-hander Alex Cobb. Monday marks Cobb's 20th start of the season, giving the club six pitchers with at least 20 starts. Tampa Bay will be just the seventh AL team in history to have six pitchers with 20 starts and the first since the 2001 Devil Rays.

Cobb hasn't made it through the seventh inning in either of his last two outings since going the distance Aug. 31.

Rangers: Tepesch might start Tuesday
• Texas has yet to officially announce a starter for Tuesday, but right-hander Nick Tepesch remains in line to get the ball. Washington said he expects to use a collective effort from his bullpen.

"There will be guys out of the bullpen piggybacking," Washington said.

• Shortstop Elvis Andrus has a five-game hitting streak (.318).

Rays: Getting RISPy
• Tampa Bay is hitting .324 with runners in scoring position in its last four games.

• Third baseman Evan Longoria has five extra-base hits in his last five games after having only one in his previous 15.

Worth noting
• Texas took two of three from the Rays in April in Arlington and have won three of the last five matchups against Tampa Bay.

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