One team will improve on its respective dismal record when they meet in the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park on Tuesday.
Texas (23-40) might appear to have the upper hand, as it has won all six games against Pittsburgh, including three at PNC Park from June 21-23, 2002.
The Rangers, though, have lost four of their last five road games to fall to 9-22 away from home this season. Every other team in the majors has at least 12 road victories.
Pittsburgh (26-37), meanwhile, has won only 11 of its 30 games at home and dropped five of its last six there.
The Pirates are returning to PNC Park after getting swept in a three-game series by the New York Yankees, capping a 2-4 road trip. They lost 13-6 on Sunday and were outscored 27-13 in the series - their first in interleague play this season.
“We’ve obviously got some work to do, but we’ve got 99 games left to play,” manager Jim Tracy told the Pirates’ official Web site. “There are signs with our club that are good, and it’s very apparent that there are some things that we definitely need to work on.”
The Rangers are coming off a 3-3 homestand. They did manage to take two of three from NL Central-leading Milwaukee over the weekend, although they failed to complete the sweep Sunday with a 9-6, 12-inning loss.
Marlon Byrd hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game against major league saves leader and former Ranger Francisco Cordero. The Brewers, though, won on Geoff Jenkins’ three-run homer in the 12th inning off Willie Eyre.
Texas fell to 4-2 in interleague play and has the worst overall record in baseball.
“We fought back in a ninth against a great closer,” said shortstop Michael Young, who was 3-for-6 with three RBIs. “This doesn’t help us in the standings but we came back and hopefully we can take something from this.”
Young is batting .446 (25-for-56) in his last 13 games to raise his average from .239 to .284. He’s 11-for-28 (.393) in interleague games this year and leads all players with a .350 lifetime average in interleague play.
Kevin Millwood (2-5, 7.57 ERA) will start for the Rangers as he looks to begin turning around what has been the worst season of his 11-year career. He gave up seven runs and lasted only 3 2-3 innings in a 10-0 loss to Detroit on Wednesday.
“I’ve been trying about everything I know to get things right,” said Millwood, who won 16 games for the Rangers last season and is 125-92 lifetime. “It’s just not happening. It’s starting to get frustrating.”
The right-hander is 4-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 starts against the Pirates, but hasn’t faced them since 2004 while he was with Philadelphia.
Pittsburgh’s Zach Duke (2-6, 5.75) has also struggled this year, recording one victory in his last 11 starts. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA in six games at PNC Park, where he was 9-4 with a 4.19 ERA in 17 starts last season.
Duke gave up five runs - four earned - in six innings Wednesday, not factoring in the decision in the Pirates’ 6-5 loss to Washington.
Duke has never faced the Rangers. He’s 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA in two career interleague starts.
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