Though they hadn’t won away from home, the Texas Rangers felt confident heading into their current seven-game road trip.
Despite a rough start and rumors of their manager’s uncertain future, the Rangers look for a third straight victory Wednesday night when they continue their three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Texas (6-7) held on for a 5-4 win over Toronto in Tuesday’s series opener to improve to 1-3 on the road. The victory came two days after the Rangers rallied for a 6-5 win to avoid a three-game sweep by Kansas City at home.
The Rangers last won three in a row after sweeping Cleveland to open the season, then lost seven of eight before beating the Royals on Sunday.
“We’re not thinking about how we’re going to do in April, we’re thinking about our next ball game,” Rangers third baseman Michael Young said.
Though Texas is among the AL leaders with 85 runs, it has been inconsistent at the plate and has a 6.18 team ERA.
The Rangers hoped to carry over their momentum from Sunday’s win over to Toronto, where they had won their previous two games against the Blue Jays.
“What I would hope that we see on this road trip is a little more consistency with the pitching and our hitting lineup,” said Rangers president Nolan Ryan, who also gave a vote of confidence to manager Ron Washington.
Texas had just enough of both Monday. Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz each hit two-run homers for the Rangers, whose 26 home runs lead the majors. Frank Francisco pitched 1 2-3 innings for his second save for Texas, which concludes the road swing with four games in Baltimore.
Kinsler, the co-AL player of the week, is batting .453 on the season and is 17-for-33 with four homers and 10 RBIs during his eight-game hitting streak.
Matt Harrison (0-2, 8.44 ERA) takes the ball for the Rangers after allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 12-3 loss to Kansas City on Friday.
“Overall, I was falling behind too much,” the left-hander told the Rangers’ official Web site. “I need to attack more than I have been.”
Harrison, against whom right-handed batters are hitting .438, will make his first appearance against Toronto.
The Blue Jays (10-5), whose hot start has them atop the AL East standings, endured a rough outing from ace Roy Halladay on Monday after their staff allowed two runs over the previous two contests.
David Purcey (0-1, 6.46) hopes to master his command as his makes his fourth start for the Blue Jays. He allowed five runs and four hits while walking four in 3 2-3 innings, but didn’t factor in the decision of an 8-5 loss to Oakland on Friday and has issued 13 walks while striking out 17 in three starts.
“I think David sometimes loses concentration,” manager Cito Gaston told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “He has to focus a little bit more out there.”
The left-hander allowed five runs in five innings of an 8-4 loss at Texas on Aug. 3, his only previous appearance against Rangers.
Hill is batting .368 with 15 RBIs and has hit safely in 14 of the 15 games.
Home plate umpire Kerwin Danley left the field on a stretcher after being hit in the head by a broken bat Tuesday, and it is uncertain if he will work the remainder of the series.