Rockies-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

The result was predictable in the opener of a series between the best and worst teams in interleague play.

The Texas Rangers can match their longest win streak of the season with their eighth straight Saturday when they try to drop the visiting Colorado Rockies to 1-13 against the AL.

Texas (44-27) improved to 13-3 in interleague play with a 4-1 victory Friday in Roy Oswalt's debut with the club. Oswalt allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings to win for the first time since Sept. 27.

His effort helped the Rangers lower their major league-best interleague ERA to 2.35.

Colorado (26-43) also lowered its interleague ERA to 6.50, but that's still baseball's worst mark. No team has ever gone through interleague play with only one victory, and the club has two games left.

The Rockies had 12 hits and left 10 men on base Friday while hitting into double plays in the seventh and eighth.

"We didn't play a bad ballgame at all," manager Jim Tracy said. "We had a bunch of hits. We just couldn't get the big hits.''

Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which won eight in a row April 12-21.

The Rangers should feel good about their chances of beating a somewhat familiar face in Colorado's Josh Outman (0-3, 8.41 ERA), who will start Saturday. Outman fell to 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in four 2012 starts after yielding four runs over 4 1-3 innings Tuesday in a 7-2 loss at Philadelphia.

The left-hander got a victory in his first career start by beating the Rangers in 2008 at home with Oakland. He went 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA in his next three outings against them - all in Arlington.

Nelson Cruz is 4 for 7 with three doubles against Outman, who has limited Josh Hamilton to two singles in 10 at-bats with five strikeouts.

Hamilton leads all active players with a .633 interleague slugging percentage and is second with a .347 interleague average. He continues to lead the majors with 64 RBIs.

The slugger, however, is hitting .206 with 22 strikeouts in 17 games this month, matching his strikeout total from 25 contests in May.

The Rockies have drawn 2.38 walks per game in interleague play, the majors' third-worst average. That means this figures to be a favorable matchup for Texas starter Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.00), who allows baseball's fewest walks per nine innings (1.13).

Lewis has 17 strikeouts over back-to-back victories, with 10 over seven innings as he gave up one run Sunday in a 9-3 rout of Houston. The right-hander also owns baseball's best strikeout-to-walk ratio at 7.00.

"Try to pound the strike zone and get some quick outs, that's my M.O.," Lewis said.

The Rockies are one of five teams Lewis has never faced. He's 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last six interleague outings.

Colorado's Jason Giambi is 5 for 7 with a homer and two doubles off Lewis. Giambi has served as the club's designated hitter in all four interleague road games, going 3 for 16 with five strikeouts and no walks.

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