Rangers-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

Thanks to some solid pitching, the Texas Rangers have a chance for their first series sweep at Kansas City in almost four years.

The AL West-leading Rangers look for their fifth consecutive victory overall Sunday when Derek Holland takes the mound against the Royals.

Texas (63-43) allowed 40 runs while splitting a four-game set against the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week, but has given up five while winning the first two in Kansas City. Scott Feldman pitched 7 2-3 strong innings to win his sixth straight decision in Saturday's 4-2 victory.

Kansas City (44-62) has struggled to score after totaling 20 runs during a three-game sweep of Cleveland to begin this homestand.

Though the Rangers have won 13 of 18 at Kauffman Stadium, they haven't swept a series there since Aug. 25-27, 2008.

Holland (7-6, 4.96 ERA) looks to help his team accomplish that feat again while bouncing back from his second rough start in three outings.

The left-hander allowed six runs and three homers while walking four in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday. Two starts prior, he also yielded six runs in 6 2-3 innings during a 6-1 road defeat to the Angels on July 20.

Though Holland has served up seven home runs in his last three starts, he's not too concerned.

"The way I look at it, when I'm giving up home runs, at least I'm throwing strikes," he told the Rangers' official website. "I'd rather do that than give up free bases.

"I need to keep doing what I have been doing and not change anything. I want to make sure I throw strikes and give my team a chance to win."

Holland is 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA in three starts against the Royals. He also pitched a scoreless inning of relief during a 3-1 home loss to Kansas City on May 14.

Josh Hamilton and rookie Mike Olt each had two RBIs Saturday for the Rangers. Playing in his second major league game, Olt recorded his second hit and his first two RBIs.

"A big sac fly, a big hit up the middle with two outs. That was huge," manager Ron Washington said of Olt, who had 28 home runs and 82 RBIs with Double-A Frisco before being promoted Thursday.

Hamilton is batting .202 since June 1, but has six RBIs in his last three games. He's 1 for 8 with four strikeouts against scheduled Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar (7-9, 5.22), who is 2-0 with a 1.90 ERA in three career home starts versus Texas.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last four home starts overall after opening the season 0-4 with an 8.59 ERA in his first six at Kauffman Stadium. He allowed three runs in six innings of an 8-3 home victory over Cleveland on Tuesday for his first win in four starts overall since the All-Star break.

With two hits Saturday, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is 7 for 17 (.412) in four career home games versus Texas.

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