(Sports Network) - The first-place Texas Rangers can get their road record to .500 and maintain a stranglehold on the American League's West Division tonight, when they visit the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
The Rangers dropped an 8-2 decision to Oakland on Sunday in the rubber match of their three-game series, but still own a 7 1/2-game lead on the second- place Athletics. Texas heads to Kansas City at 30-31 in 61 road games in 2010.
A's starter Gio Gonzalez (12-8) gave up just two runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts for the Athletics, who took the final two games after dropping Friday's opener. Coco Crisp finished 2-for-4 with an RBI while Kevin Kouzmanoff and Mark Ellis each hit a solo home run.
Josh Hamilton hit a solo home run as well and drove in the other run for the Rangers, who have dropped three of four.
Colby Lewis (9-11) was tagged for seven runs -- six earned -- on eight hits with three walks and seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
The Rangers go with breakout lefty C.J. Wilson, a former closer who's won six straight decisions since July 11.
The 29-year-old, who entered the season with 12 wins in 258 major-league appearances, picked up his 13th win of the year with a 4-3 decision over Minnesota on Aug. 25 after allowing seven hits and three runs in six innings.
He's pitched at least six innings five times and allowed three runs or less seven times in the unbeaten streak, which has seen his earned run average drop from 3.35 to 3.02 in eight starts.
Wilson tossed a complete game in his most recent meeting with the Royals, allowing five hits and a run in a 4-1 victory on May 7 in Texas.
He is 1-0 with six saves in 11 career meetings with Kansas City and 3-3 in 10 road starts this season.
For the Royals, righty Kyle Davies starts for the seventh time in his career against the Rangers while still seeking his first win.
The 26-year-old got a no-decision after he was ripped for nine hits and nine runs in four innings of a 13-12 Texas win on May 6.
He is 0-3 with a 7.62 ERA against the Rangers in 28 1/3 innings.
Davies was a 9-1 loser at Detroit in his most recent start on Aug. 24 after giving up 12 hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.
His last win came Aug. 13 against the New York Yankees.
Bruce Chen (9-7) won for the fourth time in six starts after allowing just two runs on six hits and two walks in six-plus frames.
The Rangers had a six-game series winning streak halted in the last meeting between the club's on May 26. That victory by the Royals gave them a split of a quick two-game set at Kansas City, where Texas has still won eight of the past 11 meetings.