A pair of American League contenders square off Monday, as the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays begin a three-game series in Arlington.
The Rangers lead the AL West by 5 1/2 games ahead of Oakland and look to bounce back from Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a four-game series. Scott Feldman made the start for Texas and was tagged for all six runs -- five earned -- and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"I made good pitches for the most part, they laid some nice bunts down and had their fast guys on base the whole time," Feldman said.
Josh Hamilton collected a two-run single and a two-run home run, while Nelson Cruz added a solo homer for the Rangers, who had their four-game winning streak halted and lost for only the third time in 11 tries. The Rangers are 5-2 on a 10-game homestand.
Hamilton is second in the majors with 35 homers, but leads the league with 111 RBI. Adrian Beltre is hitless in his last two games since going 10-for-14 with a .714 average, five homers and nine RBI from Aug. 22-Aug. 24. Texas is hoping infielder Michael Young will be back from paternity leave on Monday.
Derek Holland draws the start for the Rangers this evening and ended a three- game winless drought his last time out. In a 12-3 pounding of Baltimore on Wednesday, Holland gave up three runs in seven innings and pushed his season totals to 8-6 in 21 games (20 starts) with a 4.92 earned run average.
Holland, a left-hander, lost to the Rays back in late April and is 3-2 with a 6.49 ERA in six career starts against them.
Meanwhile, the Rays have hit snag with two straight losses and three in the past five games, and will start a seven-game road trip tonight against the Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays.
Tampa Bay, which leads the Wild Card and is four games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East, is coming off Sunday's 4-2 loss versus Oakland. Jeremy Hellickson was saddled with the loss and yielded all four runs in five innings.
"I wasn't throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes," Hellickson said.
Desmond Jennings homered in a losing cause.
The Rays, who are 21-11 against AL West foes this season, will turn to David Price tonight in hopes of getting off the schneid. Price is their best candidate as evidenced by his 8-0 mark and 1.56 earned run average over the previous 12 starts. Price did not record a decision in a 1-0 loss to Kansas City last Tuesday and threw eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball.
Price is still 16-4 with a 2.28 ERA in 25 starts and has pitched at least seven innings in 12 consecutive trips to the mound. The left-hander topped the Rangers back on April 29 and outdueled Holland with 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Price, though, is 1-3 with a 5.22 ERA in seven career starts against Texas, but owns a 9-2 mark in 13 road outings.
The Rays took two of three from Texas in that April series in Arlington, and will host the Rangers for three games Sept. 7-9 at Tropicana Field.