Rangers-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

The Texas Rangers have yet to lose two straight this season, and they'll try to keep it that way when they close out a four-game series with the host Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Winners of seven of eight after taking a pair of one-run games to open this set, the Rangers (16-8) are looking to get back on track following a 7-2 defeat Saturday. Texas had won five in a row at Minnesota.

"We got hits, but we didn't swing the bat the way we're capable of,'' said manager Ron Washington, whose team avoided getting shut out for the second time this season with Mitch Moreland's two-run double in the ninth inning.

The Rangers will try to end their seven-game trip on a better note with Alexi Ogando (2-1, 3.12 ERA) making his first start versus Minnesota. The converted reliever has faced the Twins seven times, posting a 1.50 ERA over a six-inning span.

The right-hander had his longest outing of the season Tuesday, going seven-plus innings and giving up four runs - two earned - in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Ogando has gone 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in his last two starts.

The Twins, who ended a three-game losing streak Saturday, will send Kevin Correia (2-1, 2.86 ERA) to the mound. The right-hander has given his team length in his four starts this season after joining the Twins on a two-year deal in the offseason.

The right-hander has pitched at least seven innings in each game, allowing three or fewer runs in all of them.

"It's nice to get off to a good start," Correia told the Twins' official website. "I'm sure I'm going to have some outings where I don't get through seven so it's nice to get off to a good start and get those innings piled up. That's kind of the goal for me."

If he goes at least seven Sunday, he'll be the first Twin to reach that mark in his first five appearances since Carlos Silva did it in his first 10 in 2005.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus should return to the lineup after rookie Leury Garcia replaced him Saturday. Andrus has gone 10 for 28 during a six-game hitting streak.

Adrian Beltre, who homered in a 4-3 victory Friday, should be back at third base after taking over for Lance Berkman at designated hitter Saturday. Beltre has four hits, including two homers and a double, in 10 at-bats off Correia.

"I've been hitting the ball hard, but this last week or so I haven't been getting a lot of luck," Beltre told the team's official site. "That's what I want to do. I want to keep hitting the ball hard and it'll start falling. I don't want to change anything right now."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could also tweak his lineup after sitting Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmelee and Justin Morneau on Saturday. It was Morneau's first off day of the season.

"He could've played," Gardenhire said. "But it's one of those things where we wanted to mix things around here."

Joe Mauer needs to change something, as the three-time AL batting champ has no hits in three games and is 2 for 21 in the last six. Mauer has never faced Ogando.

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