While the Texas Rangers have had little luck against their own league, they are taking advantage of the interleague schedule.
The Rangers look to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games Saturday afternoon when they continue their three-game series with the Houston Astros.
Texas (29-44) won Friday night’s series opener 11-3, and has won six of its last eight games - all against NL teams - to improve to 10-6 in interleague play - far better than its 19-38 record within the American League.
The win also moved the Rangers into a tie with Kansas City for the worst record in the AL, although they remain a whopping 17 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Sammy Sosa sparked the offense Friday by hitting career home run No. 601, the first of three Texas homers in an eight-run fifth inning.
Sosa, playing for the first time since becoming the fifth member of the 600-homer club Wednesday, also had a two-run double in the fifth and finished with four RBIs.
“I’m not going to stop, I told you,” Sosa said. “I’m going to keep continuing what I’m doing now.”
Sosa, though, is batting just .121 (4-for-33) with a homer and 15 strikeouts lifetime against Roy Oswalt (7-4, 3.51 ERA), who gets the start for Houston on Saturday.
Oswalt went 0-2 with a 3.92 ERA in six starts from May 17-June 12, then defeated Seattle on Sunday despite a lackluster performance. The right-hander gave up three runs and a season-high 12 hits while throwing 116 pitches in just 5 2-3 innings of the 10-3 win. It was his shortest outing since going five innings on April 13.
“It’s been tough,” Oswalt said. “Hopefully we can get everything rolling from here.”
Oswalt did not face the Rangers in their first series this season. He is 4-2 with a 3.45 ERA in eight career starts against Texas.
The Astros (31-42) have lost three of four to the Rangers this season, and have also dropped three of their last four overall.
Although his team is slumping, Houston infielder Mike Lamb went 2-for-4 on Friday for his seventh multihit game during an eight-game hitting streak. He’s batting a robust .563 (18-for-32) with three home runs, three doubles and 13 RBIs during the run.
Facing Rangers starter Jamey Wright (0-1, 10.57) could help all of the Astros break out of their doldrums. The right-hander is 1-12 with a 7.09 ERA in 18 appearances, including 17 starts, versus Houston, although the only win did come last season while he was pitching for San Francisco.
Wright gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings of an 8-4 loss to Cincinnati last Saturday - his first start after a stint on the disabled list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.
“I’m happy with the way my arm felt,” said Wright, who was making his first start since April 10. “My sinker was pretty good, but some of my other pitches need to be worked on between starts.”