Rays-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

Tampa Bay Rays starters haven't allowed a run halfway through this four-game series and the club has won four straight road starts by Chris Archer.

He'll try to help the Rays bounce back from a rare road defeat in Wednesday night's matchup with the Texas Rangers.

Drew Smyly earned his first win for Tampa Bay (58-61) with 7 2-3 innings in Monday's 7-0 win before Jeremy Hellickson lasted six the next night. The problem for the Rays was that their bullpen blew a two-run lead in a 3-2, 14-inning defeat - just their sixth in their last 25 road games.

The Rays have set an AL record by allowing three runs or fewer in 16 straight road games, with the 1908 Chicago Cubs holding the all-time record of 21.

Archer (7-6, 3.33 ERA) will get the ball next after going 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his last four road starts - all in this 25-game span for Tampa Bay. He allowed two runs over six innings Friday in a 4-3, 10-inning road win over the Cubs.

The right-hander has never pitched in Arlington, going 0-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two home outings against the Rangers. Adrian Beltre has a single in six at-bats against him and Alex Rios a single in four.

Rios is expected to be back in the lineup after not starting the first two games of this series due to a sprained right ankle suffered in Sunday's 6-2 victory at Houston. He pinch hit in Tuesday's win, and Wednesday figures to either be in right field or serve as the designated hitter depending on how much pain he still has.

"Since I'm going to be standing on my feet every day, it's something I'll have to deal with the rest of the year," Rios told MLB's official website. "I just have to go day by day and see how it feels."

Rios has just four hits in his last 29 at-bats. Shin-Soo Choo, plagued by an ankle problem throughout the season, has played in right field the last two games with Daniel Robertson and Jim Adduci getting starts in left.

Texas (47-72) prevailed Tuesday when Adam Rosales walked with the bases loaded in the 14th to boost the AL's worst home record to 22-34. The Rangers haven't won consecutive games in Arlington since June 27-28 over Minnesota.

Leonys Martin notched the first four-hit game of his career as the center fielder broke out of a 6-for-54 slump over his previous 16 games.

The Rangers' Miles Mikolas (1-4, 6.57) has shown some recent improvement as a starter as he looks for his first win at home, where he is 0-3 with a 13.17 ERA in three starts with opponents batting .406 off him.

The right-hander's last two outings have been on the road, with Mikolas yielding a total of three runs in 12 innings. Mikolas, whose ERA was 10.05 four starts ago, has never faced Tampa Bay.

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