Yovani Gallardo's ninth major league season could turn out to be his best, and the playoff-hopeful Texas Rangers are pleased that its coming in his first year with the club.
He'll look to win a fourth straight start and help Texas avoid dropping a fourth straight meeting with the visiting San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
Gallardo (11-9, 3.14 ERA) pitched parts of eight seasons with Milwaukee before being acquired in a trade in January, and his addition has helped the Rangers (68-62) surge into the AL's second wild-card spot.
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The right-hander improved to 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA over his last four starts after pitching his third scoreless outing of that stretch in Thursday's 4-1 win over Toronto.
Gallardo, who hasn't finished a full season with a better ERA than his 3.51 mark last year, overcame three walks to pick up his 100th career victory.
"It just shows a lot of the hard work through the year," said Gallardo, whose streak of 14 2-3 scoreless innings is the longest active run in the majors for a starter. "It's definitely exciting. Hopefully I'm ready to go on and reach the next goal."
The Rangers have won six of Gallardo's last seven starts but couldn't provide enough support when he allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings of a 2-1 loss to the Padres on July 12.
Gallardo is 0-1 with a 0.96 ERA in his last three against San Diego. Much like his last start against the Padres, the Rangers couldn't solve Tyson Ross on Monday in a 7-0 loss that snapped a four-game winning streak.
The defeat also trimmed their lead for the AL's last playoff spot to one game over Minnesota. Rougned Odor went 0 for 4 in his return after missing the last five with an injured finger.
The Rangers have lost the last three meetings with the Padres (64-67), who have won two straight after dropping five of their previous six. Yonder Alonso and Cory Spangenberg finished with two hits and an RBI apiece as San Diego won for the sixth time in seven tries at home, a stretch during which it has outscored opponents 44-18.
"They're playing great baseball, they've got a good lineup and we've got a long homestand, so it's a nice way to start off in the first game of 11 at home," Ross said.
Andrew Cashner (5-13, 4.05) has gone 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA over his last four home starts and gets the ball for his first career outing against the Rangers. He's coming off a 4-2 loss at Washington on Thursday after allowing three runs and nine hits while issuing three walks in 5 2-3 innings.
The right-hander received one run of support for the fourth time in six starts, and his 3.22 run-support average is the fifth-lowest in the majors.
It's unclear who Cashner will face in this contest after Texas recalled rookie Joey Gallo, but Josh Hamilton isn't expected to be in the lineup. Hamilton will be activated from the disabled list before the game after missing the last 15 with a sore left knee.
"We'll take what we can get from him," general manager Jon Daniels told MLB's official website. "For much of September, that could be as a pinch-hitter."