Justin Grimm takes the hill on Saturday as the Texas Rangers try to bounce back against the Detroit Tigers in Arlington in the third test of a four-game series.
In Friday's opener, Rick Porcello gave up one run on five hits while striking out six to help the Tigers snapped a two-game skid in a 2-1 victory. Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera each knocked in a run for Detroit in the win.
Cabrera is now batting an MLB-leading .376 after going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a walk in the second game of the series. The reigning league MVP is already building a strong resume to be considered for the award again as he has tallied eight homers and 42 RBI. Cabrera is a big part of why Detroit leads the MLB in runs (212), batting average (.280) and on base percentage (.348).
Andy Dirks also helped the Tigers avenge their 10-4 loss on Thursday by going 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot. The Rangers went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.
Anibal Sanchez returns to the mound after snapping a two-game losing streak on Monday with a solid showing. Sanchez limited Houston to two runs on six hits in seven innings of action to run his record to 4-3.
"My pitches were working well today," Sanchez said after defeating the Astros. "I just tried to throw strikes."
The 29-year old right-hander fanned eight his last time out and has struck out 42 batters over 27 innings in his last four starts, starting with his 17- strikeout game against the Braves on April 26.
The struggling Justin Grimm will oppose Sanchez for Texas. Grimm is 0-3 with a 7.02 ERA in his last three starts. The 24-year old righty was the American League Rookie of the Month for April when he went 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts after taking over for Matt Harrison in the rotation. He is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA at home.
Texas had a chance to push the game into extra innings on Friday as Ian Kinsler stood on second with two outs in the ninth inning. The comeback effort came up short though, as Craig Gentry grounded out which dropped the Rangers to 12-5 at home.
Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre combined to go 4-for-7 in Friday's setback. Geovany Soto hit a solo homer for the Rangers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Nick Tepesch allowed two runs on six hits over five innings.
"Anytime you lose a game like this, everybody is going to bring up the missed opportunities," Berkman said. "But we were getting those opportunities. You're not going to do it every time, especially against a good team like that with tough pitching. It was a tough baseball game. Their guys pitched well, our guys pitched well, they came up one run better. What are you going to do?"
Texas still holds a 6 1/2 game lead over Oakland for first place in the AL West. The Tigers are tied with Cleveland atop the AL Central race despite winning just four of their last 10 games.