The formula has been simple this season for the Texas Rangers’ hard-hitting offense, with a former AL batting champion getting on base and the league’s current RBI leader knocking him in.
After both players missed Sunday’s game, the Rangers will hope to have both Michael Young and Josh Hamilton back in the lineup Tuesday when they begin a six-game road trip by visiting the Kansas City Royals.
Texas (32-33) beat Tampa Bay 6-3 on Sunday even without two of their best hitters, as Young was out with a sore groin while Hamilton battled a viral infection.
Young - who led the AL with a .331 average in 2005 - carries a 22-game hitting streak to Kauffman Stadium, while Hamilton enters this three-game set with a major league-best 69 RBIs.
Since Young’s streak began, the shortstop is batting .343 with 26 runs scored. Hamilton has also been hot, hitting .340 with nine homers and 26 RBIs over the same stretch.
Without them, Texas still had 11 hits in Sunday’s win, finishing its 10-game homestand at 5-5.
“That shows how versatile and how capable our offense is with those two guys, the nucleus of our offense, out,” said David Murphy, one of three Rangers who homered. “We’ve got some other guys that can do some things too.”
The Royals (25-39) rank last in the AL with 237 runs, but they still managed to split a four-game series in the Bronx over the weekend, capped by Monday’s 3-2 win over the Yankees.
“That’s as good a series as I’ve seen a player have, especially in the setting that it happened,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “He’s worked hard to get where he is.”
Guillen is 9-for-25 (.360) with a home run and seven RBIs against Texas starter Kevin Millwood (4-3, 4.65 ERA), who will be looking to win his third straight start for the first time since 2002, when he won seven starts in a row while with Atlanta.
Millwood’s wins have come in his only two starts since coming off the disabled list, where he spent 18 days with a strained groin. After throwing six innings of one-run ball against Oakland on May 30, Millwood allowed four runs in the first inning Thursday against Cleveland, but still managed to pitch into the seventh and earn the victory in Texas’ 9-4 win.
He gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings against the Royals on April 30, but got credit for the Rangers’ 11-9 victory.
Kansas City’s Gil Meche (3-8, 5.54) hasn’t been so fortunate, going 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up five runs, eight hits and walked five in 5 2-3 innings of Thursday’s 6-2 loss at the Chicago White Sox.
He’s also dropped three straight starts to the Rangers, against whom he has a 6.68 career ERA. Young is hitting .382 (13-for-34) with nine RBIs in his career against Meche, while Hamilton has never faced the right-hander.
The Rangers took two of three at home against the Royals from April 29-May 1.