The Texas Rangers try to extend a club record by winning their seventh straight series to open the season this evening when they play the rubber match of their three- game set with the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Rangers rebounded from a loss in Friday's opener to even this series on Saturday, as Adrian Beltre smacked a three-run home run and Colby Lewis tossed six innings of one-run ball in a 7-2 win.
Lewis (3-0) fanned five and allowed three hits and three walks while the bullpen did the rest of the work to help Texas earn its third win in four tries.
Josh Hamilton went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored and Ian Kinsler also scored twice for Texas, which upped its overall record to 16-5 on the year.
Jeff Niemann (1-3) went 5 2/3 innings in the start for Tampa Bay, yielding three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and three walks. Evan Longoria had two hits and knocked in a run while Matt Joyce added a solo shot for the Rays, who saw their six-game win streak come to an end.
"First few guys, I really was trying to overthrow a little bit, then I really kind of settled in and told myself to calm down and throw strikes," remarked Niemann.
Getting the call for the Rangers tonight will be lefty Derek Holland, who is 2-1 with a 4.78 ERA. Holland was hit hard in his first loss of the season on Monday against the New York Yankees, as he allowed seven runs and nine hits in six innings.
Holland has faced the Rays five times and is 3-1 with a 6.51 ERA against them.
Tampa, meanwhile, turns to lefty David Price, who has struggled in his career against the Rays, posting an 0-3 mark to go along with a 5.67 ERA in six starts.
Of the 12 AL teams the left-hander has faced in his career, the Rangers are the only one he hasn't beaten. He has never pitched against Seattle.
"Once you can get through this lineup and you can beat these guys for the first time, you can kind of get that piano off your back," Price said. "I know I haven't beaten them. I've thrown a couple of games against them where I thought I threw the ball really well and it just wasn't in my fortune. I'm looking to come out there tomorrow and get my first win against the Rangers and go back to Tampa."
Price, though, has won three of his four starts this season and is coming off a five-hit shutout over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Tuesday to lower his ERA on the season to 2.62.
"It's good to have high confidence going in whenever you're facing a team like this," Price said. "I feel good right now. I look to do some of the same things I did against the Angels. Getting ahead and trying to get some early outs and stuff like that. Coming off an outing like that, it does do a lot for your confidence and whenever you're facing a team like the Rangers you've got to be pretty confident."
Texas won five of its nine regular season matchups with the Rays last season.