ARLINGTON -- Bob Geren isn't normally one to make bold statements, but the A's manager did recognize on Friday that his club's three-game weekend set with the Rangers holds a rather large weight in determining Oakland's near future.

The A's -- coming off a 2-1 trip to Cleveland -- entered the series 8 1/2 games behind first-place Texas in the standings, a club that has won five of its past seven and seemingly has no plans of stopping its successful ways.

"Obviously, they're the team ahead of us," Geren said. "It's big in that respect. I like the way we've been throwing the ball. If we continue with our great pitching and get runs for them, we'll do well. The goal is to put a dent in their lead. It's the biggest series you can get for August."

The A's realize wins are not only significant for gaining ground in the division but also in picking up momentum as they're set to face the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox in the next week. And although Geren said he hasn't spoken much to his players about the season-changing effect these three games could have, the skipper also mentioned a pep talk isn't necessary.

"This is the kind of series no motivational speaking needs to take place," he said. "They're very motivated for this series, and for the rest of the season. They know what they need to do."

The A's and Rangers entered the series even for the season at six games each. Texas will make one final visit to the Oakland Coliseum at the end of September.

Anderson feels OK after hyperextending knee

ARLINGTON -- Starter Brett Anderson left Friday's 7-3 loss against the Rangers after just two innings due to a mild hyperextension of his right knee, but the A's southpaw believes the injury is minor and won't cause him to miss his next start.

Already down, 3-0, with a runner on first and no outs in the second inning on Friday, Anderson slid into the mound hole created by Rangers starter Tommy Hunter, forcing him to fall and throw a wild pitch to Julio Borbon. He was visited by A's trainer Steve Sayles and manager Bob Geren before proceeding to finish the frame -- not before allowing two more hits, a walk and a run, though.

"It's weird, because I'm taller than Tommy Hunter, but his stride's longer and his hole is farther than mine, so instead of landing on the ball of my foot, my knee just locked and I hyperextended it," Anderson said. "I just didn't feel real comfortable after that."

Following the second inning, Geren decided not to further risk damage to Anderson's knee. After all, the 22-year-old hurler has already endured two disabled list stints this year, both due to his left elbow.

"We were just giving him time for it to calm down," Geren said of his mound visit. "We watched him warm up and he looked OK. He finished the inning and then sat down, and at that point we realized it was the right thing to do. I made the decision.

"He was checked out by the doctor. We'll know a lot more tomorrow -- how he feels, if it swells up."

Based on how he felt immediately after the game, though, Anderson didn't appear the least bit worried he won't be ready for his next start on Wednesday in New York.

"It's a little stiff, a little sore," he said, "but it's not excruciating pain -- not any pain, for that matter. Just stiff. ... I have a big bandage on it now, so the movement's limited. I can't really do too much tonight, so we'll see if there's swelling tomorrow and go from there. Right now, all signs point to go for my next start."

Overall, it was a rocky outing for the A's southpaw, who surrendered four runs on six hits and two walks en route to throwing 50 pitches during his pair of innings. It marked his shortest outing since June 3 at Boston, where he left with elbow pain and was subsequently placed on the disabled list.

Anderson's four earned runs put an end to an A's record-tying streak of 18 consecutive quality starts. Furthermore, his two innings pitched halted a streak of 24 consecutive games with six innings or more by the starters -- a mark that was one outing short of tying the Oakland record.

Worth noting

Jeff Larish received his second straight start in the designated hitter's slot on Friday as a nod to manager Bob Geren's decision to load up on lefties against the Rangers' Tommy Hunter. Jack Cust, meanwhile, was placed in left field for the second day in a row, as well. ... Friday marked the 20th time in the past 32 games the A's have played a team that was in first place in their division or the Wild Card race at the time of the game.