Crawford looks to match his career-high 13-game hitting streak, and the Devil Rays go for their fourth win in five games as they meet the Texas Rangers on Sunday in the finale of a three-game weekend series between the last-place clubs.
Crawford leads the majors with a .434 batting average since the All-Star break, and is hitting .571 (28-for-49) during his hitting streak. He has at least two hits in each of his last eight games and has totaled a franchise-record 22 hits in that stretch.
If he can extend his run Sunday, he’ll equal his longest streak set from Aug. 31-Sept. 13, 2003 and matched from July 7-22, 2004.
“He’s about as locked in as I’ve ever seen anybody,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon told the Devil Rays’ official Web site said of the Houston native. “It’s been very impressive. And he’s doing it against a variety of pitchers - right-handers, left-handers, inside, outside - it doesn’t matter. He’s covering it all.”
Crawford went 2-for-4 with a run scored on Saturday to help Tampa Bay (45-71) to a 3-0 win over Texas. The Devil Rays improved to 22-22 in Crawford’s multihit games this year compared to 9-23 when Crawford goes hitless.
Saturday’s victory was the third in four games - all on the road - for Tampa Bay, which had lost 19 of its previous 21 contests away from Tropicana Field.
The Rangers (50-66), meanwhile, lost for the 10th time in their last 14 games while suffering their third shutout in that stretch and seventh overall this season. They have lost five of six against the Devil Rays and are batting just .212 while posting a 5.40 ERA in those games.
Texas looks to rebound behind Kason Gabbard (5-1, 3.93 ERA), who’s hoping to build on his first win with his new team. He was 4-0 with Boston before Texas acquired him in a trade for reliever Eric Gagne on July 31.
Gabbard, a left-hander, is 1-1 with a 4 .63 ERA in two starts with the Rangers after holding Oakland to three runs in six innings of an 8-6 victory on Tuesday.
“As a starter, I’m trying to pitch as long as I can and keep the team in the game as long as I can,” he told the Rangers’ official Web site. “It turned out to be in our favor.”
Gabbard has never faced the Devil Rays, who will send Jason Hammel (1-1, 6.09) to the mound.
Hammel, who has never faced Texas, is 0-1 with a 6.06 ERA in four starts since joining Tampa Bay’s rotation. He gave up five runs in four innings against Detroit on Tuesday, but didn’t get a decision in the Devil Rays’ 9-6 loss.