After breaking out of their slump against one of baseball’s hottest pitchers, the Texas Rangers appear poised to continue their turnaround when they face one of the coldest.
The Rangers look for another big performance at the plate and a three-game sweep against struggling Jerome Williams and the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
Following a two-run, ninth-inning rally to win the opener, Texas (58-49) had another thrilling win Tuesday by tying the game in the ninth and winning it 14-11 on a walk-off, three-run homer by Leonys Martin in the 10th.
The Rangers broke through with six runs and 11 hits in four innings off Angels starter C.J. Wilson, who had won seven of his previous eight starts. The slumbering lineup had averaged 2.5 runs and batted .234 over the team’s prior 16 contests.
Adrian Beltre had three hits and two RBIs Tuesday, leaving him 9 for 21 in his last five games against the Angels. Geovany Soto has homered in both games of this set and is 5 for 11 in the season series.
“They committed themselves to each other to try to finish as strong as we possibly can,” manager Ron Washington said. “We have two games that were very exciting.”
Washington’s club will try to continue that production against Williams (5-7, 4.85 ERA), whose 8.90 ERA since June 22 is the highest in the majors for any pitcher with at least five starts.
The right-hander dropped to 0-5 during a seven-start winless stretch after yielding four runs and six hits over five innings in a 6-4 loss at Oakland on Friday.
Williams pitched seven innings and allowed two runs in a 4-2 home win over the Rangers on June 1, 2012. He hasn’t yielded a hit against them over five scoreless innings of relief this season.
Beltre has had success in this matchup, going 8 for 18 with a home run, double and four RBIs, while Nelson Cruz is 9 for 15 with three homers and nine RBIs.
Teammate Elvis Andrus is batting .341 during a 12-game hitting streak, but he’s 2 for 15 lifetime versus Williams.
Texas left-hander Martin Perez (3-3, 4.37) will try to help send Los Angeles (48-57) to its first six-game losing streak since June 4-10, 2011.
Perez was tagged for a career-worst seven runs - six earned - and eight hits over three-plus innings in an 11-8, 11-inning loss at Cleveland on Friday. He’s 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his last three outings.
This will be the first start against the Angels for Perez, who allowed two hits in one scoreless inning of relief against them in a 6-2 loss July 31, 2012.
That’s an area where Los Angeles has struggled in this series. Closer Ernesto Frieri had converted 25 of 27 saves before consecutive blown chances in Texas.
“I never went through this,” Frieri said. “I don’t know what to do. We’re very frustrated.”
After going 6 for 6 with two doubles and four walks in the two games, All-Star Mike Trout is hitting .385 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 17 career games in Arlington.
Former Ranger Josh Hamilton is 4 for 9 with six RBIs in the series and 13 for 26 in his last six against his old club.
The Angels won’t have third baseman Alberto Callaspo, who was traded to Oakland for infielder Grant Green on Tuesday.