Chicago (54-40) at Texas (49-46)

  • Game info: 3:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 13, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler are both riding impressive streaks for the Texas Rangers. It’s the Chicago White Sox, however, that will head into the All-Star break atop their division.

Hamilton, Kinsler and the rest of the Rangers will try to hand the White Sox their first series loss in almost a month when the teams close a three-game set on Sunday.

Although the Rangers (49-46) lost 9-7 on Saturday, Hamilton had multiple RBIs for the fifth straight game and drove in a run for the eighth consecutive contest, increasing his major league-leading total to 95. His eight-game RBI streak is the longest in the AL this season and is one behind Philadelphia’s Chase Utley for the major league lead.

Kinsler, meanwhile, extended his hitting streak to 24 games - longest in the majors this season and tied for third-longest in team history. Michael Young had a 25-game run in 2005 and Gabe Kapler’s 28-game streak in 2000 is the franchise record.

Kinsler is batting .416 (42-for-101) with four homers, 13 RBIs and 24 runs during his streak.

For Chicago on Saturday, Jim Thome homered and drove in four runs while Paul Konerko capped his 4-for-4 night with a homer as the White Sox (54-39) remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota in the AL Central.

Chicago is 4-0-1 in its last five series since getting swept by the crosstown rival Cubs at Wrigley Field June 20-22.

Still without closer Bobby Jenks (shoulder), the White Sox could also be missing catcher A.J. Pierzynski on Sunday. Pierzynski left Saturday night’s game with a lower left leg contusion after he was hit by a pitch.

If Pierzynski is unable to play, Toby Hall would catch Jose Contreras (7-6, 4.21 ERA), who is seeking his first road win in two months. The veteran right-hander is 0-2 with a 8.59 ERA in four starts away from home since beating the Los Angeles Angels on May 14. He was tagged for five runs and 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings Tuesday at Kansas City in Chicago’s 8-7, 13-inning victory.

Contreras is 1-1 with a 6.89 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers - all at Texas - but hasn’t faced them since June 12, 2006.

Needing a boost with starters Vicente Padilla and Eric Hurley nursing injuries, the Rangers got that and more from rookie Matt Harrison (1-0, 2.57) on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old left-hander was outstanding in his major league debut, allowing two runs and five hits over seven innings in a 3-2 victory over the first-place Angels. The seven-inning stint was the longest outing for a Rangers starter in his debut since 2000.

“It’s everything I’ve worked for all my life,” said Harrison, who outpitched Angels All-Star Joe Saunders. “I can’t really explain how happy I am right now to be here.”

Harrison, one of five players acquired from Atlanta a year ago in the Mark Teixeira trade, is the first Rangers pitcher to earn a win in his first start since Josh Rupe on Sept. 16, 2005.

Texas, which has split the first six games on its homestand, can head into the break with at least 50 wins for the first time since 1996.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Contreras TEX vs. M. Harrison PHI
7-6 Record 9-3
4.54 ERA 5.49
70 K 42
35 BB 31
1.36 WHIP 1.57


Sunday, Jul 13