Josh Hamilton had a quiet road trip for the Texas Rangers and a return to Arlington may get him back on track.
Hamilton and the Rangers will open a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three straight games versus the Arizona Diamondbacks, and recently went 4-6 on a 10-game trek against the Angels, Athletics and Giants. Hamilton played in all 10 games on the road swing and recorded just one home run and four RBI. He still leads the majors with 22 homers and 61 runs batted in.
Texas closed out the trip by winning two of three over San Francisco, including Sunday's 5-0 victory. Alexi Ogando started for the AL West-leading Rangers and left after three innings because of a right groin injury running out a bunt in the fourth inning. The right-hander was making his first start of the season and struck out two batters through three scoreless innings.
Ogando underwent an MRI and it's unknown at this point whether the Rangers will place him on the disabled list. A 13-game winner and All-Star starter last season, Ogando was replacing injured starter Derek Holland (shoulder) in the rotation. He may soon join Holland on the DL.
Robbie Ross improved to 6-0 when he took over for Ogando against the Giants and fired four shutout innings of relief. Ian Kinsler had two hits and two RBI, while Hamilton drove in a pair of runs for Texas, which is just 4-8 in its last 12 games and 2 1/2 games ahead of Anaheim in the division. Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was out of the starting lineup Sunday because of a heel problem and infielder Michael Young got the day off. Both players should be back in action on Monday.
"We're gonna continue to scratch and continue to claw and continue to do whatever we have to do until we get back to playing the type of baseball that we know we are capable of," said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
Colby Lewis hasn't been much help to the Rangers lately with a 1-5 record and a 4.37 earned run average in his last seven starts. He was on the losing side of a 2-0 decision at Oakland last Wednesday and gave up both runs through eight innings of work, falling to 4-5 in 12 starts this season with a 3.38 ERA. Lewis has allowed eight runs over his past three starts.
The right-hander is 2-1 in five Arlington starts this season and 6-2 with a 2.14 ERA in nine starts during interleague play. Lewis has never faced Arizona.
Arizona is riding a five-game winning streak and has prevailed in eight of its last 10 games. The ballclub is coming off a three-game sweep of the Athletics and recorded a 4-3 win Sunday in the desert behind a strong performance from Joe Saunders. Saunders was reached for two runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in six innings of work for the win.
Bryan Shaw and David Hernandez combined to allow one run over the next two frames and J.J. Putz nailed down his 13th save with a scoreless ninth.
Jason Kubel and Aaron Hill both knocked in a pair of runs, while Chris Young ended with two hits and two runs scored for the D-backs, who went 5-1 on the homestand and will play six games on the road against the Rangers and Angels.
"I think it's the way we see ourselves playing in general," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, whose team climbed back to .500 at 30-30. "We're still making mistakes, but we're cleaning some things up and getting better."
Kubel is batting .571 with two homers and 12 RBI in his last four games. Paul Goldschmidt had a hit and scored a run, and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games.
The Diamondbacks are counting on Ian Kennedy to give them an advantage tonight in Texas and he has won back-to-back starts since a personal five-game losing streak. Kennedy got untracked on May 30 in a 4-1 win at San Francisco with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball, then struck out 12 Rockies over six shutout innings of a 10-0 victory last Tuesday. He lifted his record to 5-5 in 12 starts and lowered his earned run average to 3.93.
Kennedy, a right-hander, is 2-3 in six starts away from Chase Field this season and has never faced the Rangers.
Arizona lost two of three versus Texas in 2009 in the desert and has lost nine of the previous 12 matchups between the two clubs.