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Joey Gallo has been one of the few bright spots during a dim season for the Texas Rangers. He has looked particularly good against the Oakland Athletics in 2021.

Gallo looks to continue his success against the A’s when the teams open a three-game series Friday in Arlington, Texas.

Though the Rangers are 19 games under .500 and last in the AL West, Gallo ranks among the major league leaders with 23 home runs, and he is headed to his second All-Star Game next week. Gallo is also 13-for-33 (.394) with a whopping 10 homers and 18 RBIs over the past 10 games.

“For me, I always say I’m just trying to put good at-bats together and put good swings on balls,” Gallo said after homering twice during Texas’ 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. “I know that if I put the barrel on a ball, good things happen.”

The A’s are certainly aware of what can happen when Gallo puts the barrel on the ball. Five of Gallo’s eight hits in 22 at-bats this season versus Oakland have left the park. Four of those homers came while Texas took two of three at Oakland from June 29-July 1.

Texas has won four of the seven meetings this season with Oakland, which sits in second place in the AL West but is just 6-12 since winning seven straight from June 11-18.

Gallo is 0-for-2 with a walk and strikeout against scheduled Athletics starter Cole Irvin (6-7, 3.56 ERA).

The left-hander allowed four runs (three earned) and seven hits over five innings at Texas on June 22, but he still earned the win as Oakland prevailed 13-6. That was his only career appearance against the Rangers.

Irvin is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his past six starts, and Oakland has won each of those outings. He allowed two earned runs over 15 total innings in his past two outings. In the Athletics’ 7-6, 12-inning victory against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, Irvin yielded four runs (two earned) on five hits in seven innings.

The A’s snapped a three-game skid Thursday with a 2-1 victory at Houston. Matt Olson and Jed Lowrie recorded first-inning RBIs and Frankie Montas struck out 10 over 6 2/3 strong innings for Oakland.

“I think (Thursday’s) game was a must-win,” Athletics catcher Aramis Garcia said.

Oakland last won consecutive contests June 16 and June 18.

“We’ve just got to continue to grind,” manager Bob Melvin said.

The A’s managed two runs and five hits against Texas’ scheduled Friday starter, Jordan Lyles (4-5, 4.98 ERA), on June 22. The right-hander threw six innings of relief in that contest, and he has since yielded three runs while striking out 10 over 13 innings to win his past two starts.

Longtime Rangers standout and current Oakland shortstop Elvis Andrus is a lifetime .417 hitter (10-for-24) with two doubles versus Lyles. With two hits on Thursday, Andrus is batting .302 (19-for-63) over his past 15 games.

Lowrie is hitting .364 with seven RBIs in his past 12 games, but he and Olson are a combined 1-for-13 all-time when facing Lyles.

–Field Level Media