Rays-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

The Texas Rangers have already won a franchise-best six consecutive series to open a season.

The Rangers can extend that streak Sunday night if they continue their mastery of David Price in the finale of their weekend set with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

After losing 8-4 in Friday's series opener, Texas (16-5) rebounded to win 7-2 on Saturday, snapping Tampa Bay's six-game winning streak. Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer and Josh Hamilton had a pair of RBIs for the Rangers, who scored at least seven runs for the sixth time this season and second time in three contests.

"We're going to win ballgames with our lineup," said starter Colby Lewis, who pitched six innings to earn the win.

Price (3-1, 2.63 ERA) is a tough test for most lineups but he hasn't fooled Texas, going 0-6 with a 5.30 ERA in nine career starts against the Rangers including three in postseason. Of the 12 AL teams the left-hander has faced in his career, the Rangers are the only one he hasn't beaten. He has never pitched against Seattle.

Price notched his first shutout of the season and the second of his career Tuesday. He pitched a five-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels, striking out a season-high six and walking one in the Rays' 5-0 home victory.

"I just needed that long outing to get that feeling back," Price, who had lasted a total of 8 2-3 innings in his previous two outings, told the Rays' official website. "It gets old coming out after the fifth or sixth inning."

While Price is coming off one of the best starts of his career, Texas' Derek Holland (2-1, 4.78) will attempt to bounce back from a miserable one.

The left-hander was 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA in his first three starts this season before giving up seven runs over six innings of Monday's 7-4 home loss to the New York Yankees.

"Derek's a great pitcher. He's going to have a great season," Rangers veteran Michael Young said. "He's getting to be a real professional now. So, he'll make his adjustments, watch his film, so he'll be ready to make his next start."

Holland has posted a 5.79 ERA in six starts against the Rays (13-8) including postseason, but has a 4-1 record in those outings. He gave up three runs over five innings while winning Game 2 of last year's division series in Arlington.

Matt Joyce drove in two of those runs with a homer and is 4 for 9 in his career against the left-hander, including postseason. Teammate Desmond Jennings, riding a 10-game hit streak, is 1 for 6 off Holland.

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, who has 99 RBIs in his last 110 games, is 8 for 17 with five doubles and two homers off Holland, while B.J. Upton is 8 for 16.

Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, mired in a 5-for-28 slump, is 7 for 16 with two homers against Price, and shortstop Elvis Andrus is 9 for 22.

What to Read Next