The Texas Rangers ended their losing streak with a dramatic late rally, but they might have a difficult time moving past their recent slump against one of baseball's hottest pitchers.
Trailing by a run in the ninth inning, Texas (57-49) appeared to be on its way to a fifth straight defeat before A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto hit home runs off closer Ernesto Frieri in Monday's 4-3 win.
"We needed that game after the offensive struggles we've been through the last few weeks,'' Pierzynski said. "To have a game like that, especially at home after the trip we came off, it's huge.''
The Rangers had scored only one run in 28 innings before plating three with four hits over the final two. Even with the late-inning heroics, they've averaged 2.5 runs and batted .178 with runners in scoring position during this rough patch.
Mitch Moreland (.140), Ian Kinsler (.217) and Leonys Martin (.205) are among those mired in slumps.
It doesn't figure to get any easier against Wilson (11-6, 3.18 ERA), who is 7-1 with a 1.96 ERA in his last eight outings.
The left-hander won his third straight by allowing three runs and five hits over seven innings in an 8-3 victory at Oakland on Thursday. He's now seeking his career-best fifth straight road win.
The former Ranger, though, hasn't pitched well against his old club, going 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in five starts. He's also 0-1 with a 11.12 ERA in three outings at Texas while with the Angels.
Adrian Beltre has gone 10 for 28 (.357) with a homer, four doubles and four RBIs versus Wilson, while Kinsler is 4 for 10 with a homer.
The Rangers counter with Derek Holland (8-6, 3.06), who is 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA in his last six starts.
The left-hander, however, has dropped his last two outings while getting just one run of support. He yielded two runs and eight hits over 7 1-3 innings in Thursday's 2-0 loss to the Yankees in Arlington.
"His job is to keep us in the ballgame, and he's been doing that,'' manager Ron Washington said.
While Holland is 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 road starts, he's 0-4 with a 4.26 ERA in his last five at home while being backed with three total runs.
Holland, 2-2 with a 6.58 ERA in his last six starts versus the Angels (48-56), has allowed eight runs and 12 hits over 12 2-3 innings in two outings this season. He walked five and struck out 12 without factoring in either decision, though the Rangers won both games.
This time, he faces a Los Angeles team trying to win for just the second time in nine road games.
Howie Kendrick has gone 9 for 18 with a homer, three doubles and seven RBIs against Holland the past two seasons.
Teammate Mike Trout went 2 for 2 with a double in the opener and is hitting .375 with 22 RBIs over his last 36 games. He's a .344 hitter (21 for 61) with six homers in 16 lifetime games at Texas.
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Angels