Rangers-Padres Preview

The last time the Texas Rangers faced the San Diego Padres, they were stumbling through July. This time around, the Rangers are one of the hottest teams in baseball.

Texas looks to keep rolling as it starts a season-high road trip against San Diego on Monday night.

The Rangers (68-61) look to cap a strong August that boosted them into the second wild-card spot. They've won four straight and are 13-4 since Aug. 13, giving them the most wins in the AL in that span.

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Sunday's 6-0 victory over Baltimore completed a three-game sweep as Texas exceeded its 2014 win total.

"It's a big homestand. We still gotta go out and keep playing," Derek Holland said after pitching a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts and no walks. "We gotta turn the page now, it's over, we gotta look forward to San Diego now, that's the big thing, and take those games and go out there and gain as much ground as we can, or take what we think is ours."

The Rangers - starting a 10-game, 11-day trip through San Diego, Anaheim and Seattle - are seven games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. They've moved past four teams in the wild-card race since Aug. 13 and cut their deficit behind AL West-leading Houston from five games to three.

Things didn't look as bright when San Diego (63-67) handed them two losses in a three-game set July 10-12. That was part of a 2-10 stretch for the Rangers, who fell to nine back in the division and seven behind in the wild card.

Colby Lewis (14-6, 4.38 ERA) pitched in that series and will try to turn in another strong start as he looks to tie for the AL lead in wins.

Lewis - 8-4 with a 3.71 ERA on the road - pitched seven innings of three-run ball with five strikeouts in a 6-5 loss July 11. Matt Kemp, hitting .340 in his last 13 games, homered off Lewis in that contest.

Lewis struggled with command his last time out, walking a season-high four in a 12-4 loss to Toronto on Wednesday. He surrendered five runs - four earned - over five innings in his shortest outing since July 5.

The Padres will close out an August in which they lost seven of their first nine, won nine of 11 and then dropped five of seven.

Tyson Ross (9-9, 3.42) beat Washington 6-5 on Wednesday, tying his season high with nine strikeouts while allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings. The right-hander threw 6 2-3 scoreless innings and gave up three hits to beat the Rangers 2-1 on July 12.

Ross looks to benefit from a San Diego offense that broke out in a 9-4 win over Philadelphia on Sunday. The Padres, who had scored six runs in dropping three straight, collected 16 hits and got home runs from Kemp, Yangervis Solarte and Justin Upton.

''As a group the offense has to feel good about today,'' interim manager Pat Murphy said. ''Our big guys came up big.''

Texas hopes to have second baseman Rougned Odor back Monday, six days after he tore a fingernail on his throwing hand.

Lewis last batted in July 2014 and has a four-game hitting streak - a Rangers record for a pitcher.