Rangers try to avoid first 3-game slide against Brewers

The Texas Rangers don't lose two in a row very often or even three straight for that matter. That could change Wednesday in the conclusion of a quick series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Rangers didn't get this set off to a good start literally and starting pitcher Justin Grimm was in a 5-0 hole after just the first inning. Grimm did settle down after his shaky start and his line was five runs and eight hits in five innings with seven strikeouts and three walks.

"It's a little frustrating," Grimm said after the 6-3 loss. "I made some good pitches, but I made some bad ones, too. Personally, it just didn't work out for me."

Mitch Moreland homered and Elvis Andrus had two hits and a run scored for Texas, which still leads the AL West by 2 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland Athletics and is mired in the third two-game slide of the season -- all since April 27-28. The Rangers have lost six of their last 10 games and haven't dropped three in a row since the end of last season.

The Rangers, Royals and Yankees are the only teams not to have a losing streak of more than two games.

Texas is 0-2 on a nine-game, 10-day road trip and still has to visit the Houston Astros and Athletics.

Hoping to keep that impressive streak rolling will be Derek Holland, who makes his seventh start of the season for the Rangers. Holland was superb in his previous outing, a 7-0 win Friday over Boston. He struck out nine and walked only one batter through eight shutout innings to lift his record to 2-2 and lower his earned run average from 3.38 to 2.74.

"Tonight, Derek was at his best," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He had a good fastball, change-up, slider, he moved the ball around in the zone and kept them off-balance. He has been pitching well; he just hasn't been getting the results. I thought he had already won three or four ballgames. Since Spring Training, he has been throwing the ball well, and tonight was another example of what he can do."

Holland, a left-hander, has never faced Milwaukee and is 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA in three road assignments.

Brewers infielder Yuniesky Betancourt has been a blessing since he was acquired by the club and is hitting .276 with eight homers and 24 RBI in 30 games this season. He was at it again in Tuesday's win and belted a two-run homer during the first inning.

"It was nice to have a good first inning, to put people on," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "It's really nice, especially after you're not scoring runs."

Milwaukee was coming off a 10-1 loss to St. Louis on Sunday. Aramis Ramirez also homered and Carlos Gomez drove in two runs for Milwaukee, which halted a five-game losing streak and is 3-5 on a nine-game homestand. The Brewers also ended a five-game slide at home.

The Brewers will begin a 10-game road trip Friday against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, but hope Kyle Lohse can end his personal slide Wednesday versus the Rangers. Lohse has suffered back-to-back losses and for the second straight outing the Brewers failed to produce runs.

In a 6-1 loss to St. Louis on Friday, Lohse was banged around for 11 hits and four runs in five innings. He gave both runs in a 2-0 loss at Los Angeles on April 28 and is 1-3 with a respectable 3.16 ERA in six starts.

"We have to find a way to score some runs for him," Brewers star outfielder Ryan Braun said after the Cardinals loss.

The right-handed Lohse has made 12 appearances (9 starts) against the Rangers in his career and has produced a 3-3 mark to go along with a 6.66 ERA.

Texas won two of three games at Milwaukee back in 2010 and is 5-3 in the previous eight meetings between the ballclubs.