With their eyes set on a third-straight victory the Texas Rangers will take on the Kansas City Royals in the second test of a three-game set at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday.
The first tilt of the weekend series went exactly right for Texas as the Rangers captured a 7-2 win on Friday night behind a strong outing from Derek Holland.
Holland lasted seven innings and allowed two runs, one of which was earned, while striking out eight batters. The win was the second-straight for the Rangers after a three-game slide earlier in the week.
Adrian Beltre went a perfect 4-for-4 with a home run and two RBI while Nelson Cruz belted a three-run home run in the third inning.
Wade Davis took the loss for Kansas City after allowing six runs on 10 hits in five innings of work, though he did match Holland with eight strikeouts.
Alcides Escobar went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Chris Getz had a pair of singles as the only two players with multi-hit games for the Royal, who have now lost 13 of their last 15 games.
Looking to start matching his sparkling ERA with some crooked numbers in the win column, James Shields will be the starter for Kansas City on Saturday afternoon.
Shields was without a doubt the key piece that the Royals received in return for heralded recruit Wil Myers in an offseason deal with Tampa Bay. Thus far Shields has been doing everything the Royals hoped he would except for arguably the most important part, winning.
On the season Shields owns a 2.96 ERA, has pitched 79 total innings including a pair of complete games and has struck out 73 batters. However despite all those impressive numbers Shields is just 2-6 on the campaign.
In his last start Shields had only himself to blame. The right-hander allowed a season-high six runs on nine hits while also setting a season-high with five walks in his fourth straight loss.
Surprisingly, considering how strong the Rangers have been in the last few seasons, Shields has always pitched well against Texas. In his eight-year career Shields has accumulated a 7-3 record and a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts against the Rangers.
Rookie Nick Tepesch will step up to the hill in Arlington as he makes his 10th career start on Saturday and first against the team from his hometown.
Tepesch was born in Kansas City and attended Blue Springs High School, which is about 20 miles outside of the city.
All nine of the 24-year-old's previous starts have come this season.
Tepesch has been solid, earning a 3-4 record with a 3.88 ERA in 48 2/3 innings of work while striking out 37 batters in that time.
Tepesch will be working on a bit of extended rest in this contest as he has not pitched since May 26. In that game Tepesch allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings itched while striking out six batters which was the second most he has had in a single game.
The Rangers won five of nine against the Royals last season. two encounters in Texas.