Twins-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

The AL West-leading Texas Rangers are dominating the Minnesota Twins this season, but Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton's success against them goes much further back.

The duo looks for another big effort at the plate as the Rangers attempt to beat the Twins for the seventh time in eight meetings Friday night.

Texas (73-51) is 6-1 against Minnesota (51-73) in 2012 after dropping nine of the previous 12.

The Rangers capitalized on another meeting with the last-place club in the AL Central on Thursday, winning 10-6 in the opener of this four-game set at Arlington.

Hamilton and Beltre could keep Texas rolling against the Twins after pounding them again Thursday. Hamilton collected five RBIs with two hits, and Beltre finished with three hits, including his fourth homer in his last two games.

They've routinely pounded Minnesota pitching - Hamilton has a .324 career average and is hitting .364 with six doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs in his last 11 meetings. Beltre is batting .426 with 15 runs in 13 games against the Twins, and the third baseman is also on a tear in his past six games at home, going 12 for 26 with four homers and six RBIs.

Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, is hitting .345 with 17 RBIs in the past 16 games.

"Down the stretch, he is our horse," manager Ron Washington said of Hamilton. "So is Beltre, so is (Mitch) Moreland, so is (David) Murphy. We've got a pretty good team."

The Rangers have won seven of nine at home, and Matt Harrison (14-7, 3.19 ERA) gets the ball seeking his career-high 15th victory. The left-hander matched his overall win total from last year Sunday, yielding two runs and two hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings of an 11-2 victory at Toronto.

"The most important thing was my mechanics and I was able to hone those in pretty quick," Harrison said of making an adjustment in his windup. "It definitely kept me in the strike zone more and built confidence, and I was able to be more aggressive with all my pitches."

Harrison has won his last two starts against the Twins while posting a 1.17 ERA. He beat them April 13, yielding one run in eight innings in a 4-1 road victory.

The Twins, who stranded 14 runners Thursday, have lost 12 of 14. Their rotation has compiled a 5.73 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .329 in that span.

Samuel Deduno (4-1, 3.33) will try to show some improvement as he's scheduled to get the ball against the Rangers for the first time since making his first major league start July 7 in Arlington. The rookie right-hander allowed three runs and six hits - including homers to Hamilton and Beltre - in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss in 10 innings.

Deduno has constantly battled control problems, issuing 36 walks in 46 innings over eight starts. That includes walking at least five in each of his last three outings.

He allowed a season-high six and hit another batter while yielding two runs in six innings of Sunday's 5-1 loss at Seattle.

"I don't know what to say about the walks," Deduno said. "Too many. Too many people. Too many bodies. I have to be better. That's too many."

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