Rangers seek to extend win streak in makeup with D'backs
The Texas Rangers eye a fourth straight win on Thursday when they play a makeup game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Texas used three straight walk-off wins to sweep the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. On Wednesday it was Adrian Beltre's turn to play hero, as he crushed a solo shot off Michael Kohn in the ninth inning to give the Rangers another dramatic 2-1 win.
"Our offense has been the reason why we struggled the last few weeks, and our offense is getting a lot better," Beltre said.
The crowd-pleasing blast marked the first time in club history the Rangers homered in their final at-bat in three consecutive wins. It also brought them within four games of the Oakland Athletics in the American League West.
"Right now we're getting our legs back," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Two weeks ago our legs didn't look as fast. Now they are. That's what we've been looking forward to, is getting our legs back. That's our game. When we play it, it looks good."
With the A's idle on Thursday the Rangers stand a good chance at gaining even more ground with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish on the hill. Darvish lost for the second time in three starts on Saturday in Cleveland, but pitched well, as he allowed just one run and three hits and struck out 11 in six innings
The run Darvish allowed came on a homer to the first batter he faced. Regardless, he fell to 9-5 on the year to go along with a 2.80 ERA.
"Things like this are just part of the game," Darvish said through an interpreter. "Some games pitchers don't perform their best, and some games hitters don't perform their best."
Darvish struck out a career-best 14 batters against Arizona back on May 27, but did not get a decision in his team's 5-3 loss.
While the Rangers stood pat at Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline, Arizona made maybe the biggest move of the day, shipping former 21-game winner Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres for left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher.
With Kennedy gone, the Diamondbacks needed a starter for Thursday and in steps Zeke Spruill, who will make his first big league start. Spruill has pitched to a 2.08 ERA in 4 1/3 innings of relief for Arizona, but did not allow an earned run over 31 2/3 consecutive innings while going 3-0 over his last five starts for Triple-A Reno.
Arizona snapped a three-game losing streak on Wednesday, as Wade Miley worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the Diamondbacks' 7-0 win over the surging Tampa Bay Rays.
Miley (8-8) gave up pair of hits, both of which came in the fourth inning, and five walks while fanning a season-high eight batters to win for the fourth time in five starts.
"He's been on a pretty good roll for us," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said of Miley.
Eric Chavez went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI and Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo homer and scored three times in the win.
Arizona took two of three from the Rangers earlier in the year.