Texas (2-7) at Los Angeles (5-3)

  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Wed Apr 12, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The way Vladimir Guerrero continues to treat Texas Rangers pitching, they might consider treating him like Barry Bonds.

Guerrero seeks to extend his hitting streak to 39 games against the Rangers on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Angels try to complete a three-game sweep at Angel Stadium.

The six-time All-Star has hit safely in every game he’s played against Texas, batting .453 with 13 homers and 30 RBIs. Guerrero is 6-for-8 in this series against the Rangers after going 4-for-4 in the Angels’ 5-4 comeback victory Tuesday.

The Rangers are well aware of their lack of success against Guerrero, whose hit streak against them is the longest by a player against a team since divisional play began in 1969.

“Does spring training count?” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “We had one game when he didn’t play.”

One thing Texas has not managed to do is pitch around the free-swinging slugger, who has drawn only 16 walks in 150 at-bats against the Rangers.

Los Angeles (5-3) has won eight straight against Texas (2-7) and nine consecutive meetings in Anaheim following Tuesday’s dramatic victory.

Adam Kennedy’s one-out RBI double tied the game in the ninth inning, and pinch-runner Maicer Izturis scored the winning run when the relay throw from the outfield was mishandled by second baseman D’Angelo Jimenez for an error.

“Those are fun games,” said the Angels’ Darin Erstad, who scored the tying run. “We keep playing till the end. They’re a dangerous team, and they’re a tough team to keep down.”

The Angels bullpen turned in three scoreless innings and J.C. Romero worked the ninth for his first win with Los Angeles.

Angels relievers Romero, Brendan Donnelly, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez have combined for a 1.47 ERA through the first eight games of the season.

Starter Kelvim Escobar will make his first visit to the mound since he suffered a cracked nail in his first start last Friday against the New York Yankees, having earned the win after allowing one run and six hits over six innings in a 4-1 victory.

The right-hander, who turned 30 on Tuesday, had the nail on his middle finger filed down in order to make the scheduled start.

“I feel good, I don’t feel any pain,” Escobar said. “To be honest, I don’t want to miss any games. I feel so good.”

In seven career starts against Texas, Escobar is 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA. This will be his first start against the Rangers since Sept. 28, 2004.

Hank Blalock homered twice for Texas in Tuesday’s loss. Blalock has hit safely in five straight games, batting 6-for-19 with four RBIs.

Showalter shuffled his lineup, dropping struggling leadoff hitter Brad Wilkerson to seventh. Wilkerson had struck out 16 times in his first 36 at-bats, but went 1-for-4 without striking out Tuesday.

Rangers starter John Koronka makes his first appearance on the road after losing his opener. Koronka allowed four runs and six hits over five innings in 5-2 loss to Detroit last Friday.

“I thought John threw the ball well,” Showalter said. “Take the wind out of it and it would go from a good outing to a great one.”

The 25-year-old left-hander is making his fifth major league start and first career appearance against the Angels.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Koronka LAD vs. K. Escobar MIL
7-7 Record 11-14
5.69 ERA 3.61
61 K 147
47 BB 50
1.54 WHIP 1.28