Yu Darvish eyes his first win in eight starts on Sunday when the Texas Rangers play the rubber match of a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Darvish opened the year by winning seven of his first eight decisions, but is just 0-2 in seven starts since May 16 despite posting a 2.93 ERA. Over that span Texas has supplied him with an average of 2.35 runs of support.
The Japanese right-hander wasn't particularly sharp in New York on Tuesday, as the Yankees reached him for three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of the Rangers' 4-3 loss.
Texas has won just one time in Darvish's last seven starts.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, will counter with an impressive right-hander of its own in Mat Latos, who is 7-1 with a 3.05 ERA. Latos bounced back from his only loss this season to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks last Sunday, as he allowed a run and six hits, while striking out 13 in 7 2/3 innings.
"When you strike out a lot of people, you throw a lot of pitches," Latos said. "It would have been great to go all nine [innings] and not strike out 13."
Cincinnati evened this series at a game apiece on Saturday, as Devin Mesoraco scorched a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning to lift the Reds to a 6-4 victory.
Kyle McLellan (0-1) plunked Todd Frazier to start the 11th before Mesoraco launched a sinker over the wall in left field to put the Reds in front.
"Defense was great, offense was there, I just let them down," McLellan admitted. "Game on the line like that and you feel like you let these guys down."
Aroldis Chapman worked around a leadoff walk in the bottom half to nail down his 20th save of the season and halt the Reds' three-game slide.
Shin-Soo Choo collected three hits, including a solo homer, and also scored twice, while Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips and Xavier Paul each knocked in a run for the Reds, who hadn't scored a run in their last 22 innings entering the contest.
"Any time you get a win, regardless of how you've been playing, it's always a good feeling," Phillips said. "It's not like we haven't been trying, we've just been having bad luck. It feels good to be on the winning side."
Nelson Cruz clubbed a double and plated a pair of runs, with Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus each adding an RBI and a run scored for the Rangers, who had won three straight and eight of their last nine games.
Texas and Cincinnati haven't met since 2007, when the Rangers took two of three encounters in Ohio. The Reds lost a three-game series in the Lone Star State back in 2002.