A return to the Lone Star State seemed to rejuvenate the American League West-leading Texas Rangers, as they target a series win tonight in the middle portion of a three-game set versus the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Ballpark in Arlington.
The Rangers were 4-6 on a recent 10-game, 10-day road trip to Anaheim (1-2), Oakland (1-3), and San Francisco (2-1), and handed the Diamondbacks a 9-1 beating in last night's series opener. Starting pitcher Colby Lewis went the distance and allowed one run on a homer and four hits overall to even his 2012 mark at 5-5.
Lewis took a perfect game into the sixth inning, struck out seven batters and walked only one.
"You know you haven't been out of the stretch," said Lewis, acknowledging that he was aware of his perfect game. "If you don't know that you haven't given up a hit then you're lying."
David Murphy hit a two-run homer during a five-run sixth inning and finished with three hits. Ian Kinsler went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry both knocked in a pair of runs for the Rangers, who have won three of four games and sit 3 1/2 games ahead of the LA Angels of Anaheim in the division. Josh Hamilton drove in one run and owns an MLB-best 62 RBI on the year.
Texas will also host Houston for three games on its residency. It is in the midst of playing 16 of 19 as the host.
Matt Harrison will try to keep Texas in the win column when he takes the mound Wednesday night. Harrison has won four straight starts with a 1.76 ERA over that span and will take the mound for the 13th time this season. He tossed a five-hit shutout in Friday's 5-0 win at San Francisco, struck out four and did not walk a batter.
"He had a great night," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after that game. "He stayed ahead of hitters all night, pounded the strike zone and the defense was outstanding."
Harrison is 8-3 with a 3.87 ERA in 12 starts and 2-2 in five outings in Arlington. The left-hander lost his only start to Arizona on June 23, 2009.
Arizona kicked off a six-game road trip on a sour note and saw its five-game winning streak come to an end last night.
Ian Kennedy continued to struggle for the D-backs and was reached for six runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings to suffer the loss -- his sixth in 11 decisions this season. Kennedy struck out four and walked one, and the home run to Murphy was the back-breaker.
"Just a bad changeup, left it up," Kennedy said. "After that, I didn't make as quality of pitches as I was making earlier in the game, and when I did, they put the bat on the ball in the right place, in the right spots. Just bad pitches, leaving the ball up where they could hit it. It's frustrating when you can't get that third out."
Miguel Montero homered and Aaron Hill ended with a team-best two hits for the D-backs, who are still 8-3 in the last 11 games and 7-3 in June. Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-3 and saw his career-high 17-game hit streak come to an end. Jason Kubel went hitless in four at-bats and had driven in two or more runs in four straight games.
Arizona entered Tuesday's game having won three straight series and is danger of having that streak end unless Wade Miley can change that. Miley has won four of five starts and gets the nod this evening. He last toed the rubber in a 6-1 triumph over the Rockies last Wednesday, when he fired eight innings of one-run ball, struck out five and did not issue a walk.
Miley, a left-hander, is 7-2 with a 2.53 earned run average in 12 games (9 starts) and has never faced Texas. Miley owns a 3-1 mark in six games, five of which have been starts, away from the desert.
Arizona lost two of three versus Texas in 2009 in the desert and has lost 10 of the previous 13 matchups between the two clubs. The Diamondbacks and Rangers are both 5-2 in interleague play this season.