Roy Oswalt showed no signs of rust in his return to the hill last week. He will try to pitch the Texas Rangers to a series win this evening when they wrap up their three-game set against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Oswalt signed a minor league deal with the Rangers back on May 29 and he won his debut with the team on Friday against Colorado, holding the Rockies to a run and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out six and walked a batter.
"I won't tell you I wasn't nervous," Oswalt said after the game. "If you don't have butterflies, you might as well get out of the game."
Oswalt has never faced the Tigers.
Texas can only hope that Oswalt delivers the way Yu Darvish did on Tuesday. The Japanese right-hander gutted through seven innings and became the second pitcher in the last 50 years to win his first seven starts at home, as the Rangers pulled out a 7-5 win.
Darvish (10-4), who allowed three of the first four Tigers to reach base, retired 19 of the final 22 batters he faced. In all, the 25-year-old fanned 10 and surrendered four runs on four hits and a walk.
"It seemed like the longer the game went the better he got," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He was trying to get rhythm again those first few innings. They put some runs on the board, but we came back and answered, and he continued to pound the strike zone."
The only other pitcher to win his first seven home starts was the Montreal Expos' Carlos Perez, who won his first eight home tilts in 1995.
Josh Hamilton belted his 24th homer of the year while Michael Young smacked an RBI triple as part of a game-deciding four-run bottom of the fourth inning for the Rangers, who have won nine of their last 11 games.
Prince Fielder registered two hits, including a two-run homer, to go with four RBI for the Tigers, who had an opportunity to reach the .500 mark for the first time since May 15, when they were 18-18.
"You got a long season and it's frustrating," said Tigers left fielder Quintin Berry of not getting to .500. "You get closer and closer and you fall one back ... we'll get there."
Fresh off the disabled list, Drew Smyly (2-3) was touched for six runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old rookie had been sidelined since June 11 with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
Tonight, Detroit turns to righty Doug Fister, who has lost four of his five decisions this season, despite a 2.72 ERA. Fister lost to Pittsburgh on Friday, as he allowed four runs (2 earned) and eight hits in six innings.
"It comes down to executing, and I did a poor job of that tonight," Fister said after the game. "I just wasn't together today. I need to do a better job."
Fister has faced the Rangers six times and is 2-3 against them with a 4.38 ERA.
Texas took three of four from the Tigers earlier in the season.