Rangers-Padres Preview

The Associated Press

Yu Darvish could be facing the perfect foe to break out of a four-start road losing streak.

The Japanese rookie will be up against baseball's worst team Wednesday as the Texas Rangers look for a sixth straight win and a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres.

Darvish (8-4, 3.57 ERA) has posted a 6.23 ERA in dropping his last four road outings. He gave up a season-high six runs over 5 1-3 innings June 7 in his last one, a 7-1 loss to Oakland.

The Rangers (42-27) opted to give him some extra time off after that defeat. It paid off Friday as he matched a season high with 11 strikeouts and allowed two runs over eight innings in a 6-2 home victory over Houston.

"This time off, which was very positive for me, I was able to kind of reset my body and be able to pitch the way I want," Darvish said through his translator. "And going forward, I want to continue to have this type of production."

Darvish will be back on four days' rest, when he's 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA in seven outings. This twilight start time can sometimes negatively affect hitters, but the right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA in four day starts.

This is Darvish's first start in an NL park so he will bat for the first time. He went 5 for 36 in his career at the plate with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan.

He should be looking forward to his first look at San Diego (24-45), which is last in the majors in runs per game at 3.32. The Padres are trying to avoid their first five-game home slide since May 20-24, 2011.

Texas is now tied with the New York Yankees for baseball's best 2012 interleague record at 11-3 after Tuesday's 7-3 victory.

Josh Hamilton went 2 for 5 with two RBIs in his first start since Thursday. He was out of the lineup for four games due to an intestinal virus that hospitalized him and caused him to lose 10 pounds.

"I knew I was going to be tired,'' Hamilton said. "After I spent time on the bases, I was literally spent the rest of the game. But it will be better.''

Hamilton ranks second among active players with a .352 interleague batting average, and first with a .641 interleague slugging percentage.

Texas leads the majors with 5.32 runs per game and is fourth with 88 homers. San Diego, meanwhile, has produced a major league-low 36 homers, including just 14 in 36 home games.

The Padres haven't been opportunistic in this series, going 3 for 18 with runners in scoring position. Chase Headley is 5 for 9 in the first two games, but he hasn't scored a run with cleanup hitter Carlos Quentin going 1 for 7.

San Diego will start Anthony Bass (2-7, 4.88), who is 0-3 with an 8.89 ERA in his last five outings. He was tagged for a career-high nine runs over 5 1-3 innings Friday in a 10-2 defeat at Oakland.

The Padres have won the right-hander's last two outings at home, where he is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in six starts this year. Bass has never faced the Rangers.

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