Texas center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. has been on a tear lately.
He’ll look to lead the Rangers to a three-game sweep when they wrap up their interleague series with the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday at Ameriquest Field.
Matthews went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer Saturday in the Rangers’ 8-4 win over the Diamondbacks. Matthews homered in the bottom of the fourth after robbing Shawn Green of a home run with an over-the-wall catch in the top of the inning.
“I’m going to quit analyzing him,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m just going to sit back and admire what he’s doing.”
Matthews has hit safely in seven straight games, going 15-for-32 (.469) with two homers and five RBIs over that span. He also stole second and scored in the first inning Saturday as the Rangers (37-32) won for the third time in four games.
The Diamondbacks (35-33) have dropped four straight games and 11 of 12. Green homered in the sixth inning, and Chris Snyder drove in three runs.
“It’s not a great feeling, this period we’re going through right now,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “Hopefully it’s like a virus and it will pass.”
The Diamondbacks are 6-12 all-time against Texas, which improved to 3-2 in interleague play this season.
Rookie starter Enrique Gonzalez (2-0, 1.64 ERA) snapped Arizona’s seven-game losing streak in his last outing on Tuesday, allowing just one hit in seven scoreless innings of a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.
“Enrique was the story,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Velocity, command, confidence. He made big pitches when he had to.”
Gonzalez, who is making his fourth career start and fifth appearance, made his major league debut on May 28 and has allowed just four runs in 22 total innings.
“Slider, change-up, everything was good,” said the 23-year-old Venezuelan, who has never faced Texas. “I concentrated because we needed a win.”
Texas will counter with Kameron Loe (3-6, 5.57), who allowed five runs and six hits in five innings of Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Loe, who allowed Paul Konerko’s sixth-inning, three-run homer, is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA in his last four starts.
“It’s very frustrating,” Loe said. “You can be pitching a good ball game, give up a couple little hits and a home run and it turns into a bad game.”
Loe said he battled some stiffness after Tuesday’s start, but he threw in the bullpen Friday and said he felt well enough to pitch in the series finale.
“I had a little soreness but I threw and I was fine,” Loe said. “My curveball was good, my changeup was good, we’re ready to go. Maybe the day after I pitched (on Tuesday) it was a little stiff, but it has loosened up the last two nights.”