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Athletics in Houston for big AL West showdown

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The Oakland Athletics took three of four from Minnesota this weekend while the Astros completed a sweep of the Angels. The puts Houston a mere one and a half games ahead of Oakland in the AL West, setting the stage for the final head-to-head series between the two clubs.

These two teams met last weekend in Oakland with the A’s taking two of three. Now the series shifts to Houston, kicking off tonight with Brett Anderson — who has not allowed a run in his past two starts and is on a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings — taking on Gerrit Cole. On Tuesday it’s Edwin Jackson vs. Charlie Morton. On Wednesday it’s Trevor Cahill vs. Dallas Keuchel.

The Athletics were double digits out of first place as late as July 10 but in the past nine days have tied the Astros in the standings on three occasions before falling just a bit back. A sweep by either team would certainly make a statement. Whether that statement is “we’re not going anyplace, champs” or “know your place, upstarts” remains to be seen, but it’s easily the most important series going on this week.

White Sox slugger Jiménez sidelined with bruised foot

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CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez has a sprained right foot, likely sidelining the slugger for a pivotal season-ending series against the crosstown Cubs.

The White Sox had dropped a season-high five in a row heading into the weekend set, falling out of first place in the AL Central. They are hoping to get back on track heading into their playoff appearance since 2008, but the health of Jimenez is a concern.

Jimenez, who is batting .296 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs, was injured sliding across home in the seventh inning of Chicago’s 5-4 loss at Cleveland on Thursday. Manager Rick Renteria said the 23-year-old left fielder will need “to be off his feet” for a few days.

“There’s inflammation in there and they want to calm it down” Renteria said. “We’ll know more in a few days.”

The White Sox trailed the first-place Twins by a game heading into the series with the Cubs. They are just one ahead of the third-place Indians. The AL postseason begins on Tuesday.