Rangers-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

The Texas Rangers' starting pitching has been mostly stellar through the first eight games, with the only so-so outing coming from prized acquisition Yu Darvish.

The Japanese right-hander will look for a more consistent performance against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday when he makes his first major league road start.

Texas' starting rotation improved to 6-0 with a 2.22 ERA after Matt Harrison allowed one run in eight innings of Friday's 4-1 victory over Minnesota. Each starter has pitched into the sixth, allowing no more than three runs in seven of the eight outings.

Darvish, though, gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings but still earned the win as the Rangers (6-2) beat Seattle 11-5 on Monday. He allowed four runs and four hits while walking three in the first inning alone, but later regrouped to retire 10 straight hitters.

"Mentally, I was very calm, but my body felt like it wanted to go and go and go," Darvish said. "At the beginning of the game, my mind and my body kind of weren't on the same page."

The offense picked him up that night and has continued to produce runs.

Ian Kinsler hit his fourth homer and Elvis Andrus went 3 for 4 on Friday to help the Rangers to their second straight win over the Twins dating to last season after they lost nine of the previous 11.

Minnesota fans anticipating to see former closer Joe Nathan make an appearance for the Rangers were disappointed when manager Ron Washington turned to Alexi Ogando to record the final three outs.

Washington said he wanted to give Nathan more rest.

"He had a big workload the last time out there and we gave him down (time) yesterday and we decided we'll give him one more," Washington said. "He'll be back in there tomorrow."

The Twins hope to prevent Washington from using his new closer in a save situation, though.

Minnesota again struggled offensively after scoring 16 runs in back-to-back victories over Los Angeles on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Twins (2-5) scored six runs while losing their first four games and got only a second-inning sacrifice fly from Danny Valencia on Friday.

"(Harrison) had good stuff, but I felt like we hit some balls pretty hard, though," Valencia said. "He pitched well, but I felt like we could've swung the bats a little bit better."

Nick Blackburn will oppose Darvish looking to bounce back from a rough outing in his first start.

Blackburn gave up five runs and five hits in six innings of a 5-1 loss to the Angels on Monday. The right-hander allowed a career high-tying nine runs - six earned - and 11 hits in 2 2-3 innings in a 20-6 loss July 25 in his most recent start against Texas.

Josh Hamilton is 8 for 14 with a home run and two doubles, Kinsler is 5 for 12 with a pair of homers and Michael Young is 6 for 20 with two home runs against Blackburn.

What to Read Next