Blue Jays-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

After three subpar performances at the plate to conclude their road trip, the Texas Rangers found their bats again during their return home.

The Rangers will try to keep things going while adding to Toronto Blue Jays' and right-hander Henderson Alvarez's woes Saturday afternoon.

With a .288 batting average, 256 runs scored and 66 homers, Texas (28-18) is again one of the top hitting teams in the majors but hit .167 and scored a combined seven runs while dropping two of three in Seattle earlier this week.

The Rangers bounced back in a big way Friday with a 14-3 drubbing of Toronto (24-22), which matched their second-highest run total this season.

"It was nice to break out like this," second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

Nelson Cruz hit his fourth career grand slam and second this season while matching a career high with eight RBIs, set July 22 against Toronto.

"You dream to have those kinds of days,'' said Cruz, who went 4 for 5. "It can't happen every day. When it happens, you should be happy and enjoy it."

Josh Hamilton also hit his first home run since May 12 and recorded his 50th RBI of the season before leaving with a head cold. Hamilton's longball was also a club record-tying 10th in May, and he's the first Rangers' player with 19 homers through the first 46 games of a season.

Hamilton and his teammates will try to keep rolling against Alvarez (3-4, 3.30 ERA), who is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA over his last two starts. The right-hander tied a career high Sunday by giving up six runs over five innings in a 6-5 loss to the visiting New York Mets.

"There are always good days and bad days. I feel like I didn't have a good day today," Alvarez told the team's website through an interpreter. "Things happen when you pitch, but I will learn from this start."

While Alvarez will try to get back on track in his first start against Texas, the Rangers' Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.30) will try to build on his best outing of the month. The right-hander allowed a solo homer and three other hits over eight-plus innings Sunday during a 6-1 victory in Houston after going 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA in his first three starts this month.

"Things didn't go my way in the last couple of starts, so I just wanted to bounce back and go deep into the game," he said.

Lewis gave up a solo homer and a single over 6 2-3 innings in his most recent matchup with Toronto, a 12-2 win in Arlington on July 22.

He will try to duplicate that outing while helping the Rangers register consecutive victories for the first time since May 10-11. Texas has alternated wins and losses over its last nine games but has won four of six at home against the Blue Jays.

Toronto, meanwhile, will try to avoid its first four-game losing streak since April 24-27.

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