Texas hopes to get Hamilton back for opener with Padres
(Sports Network) - The Rangers had little problem scoring runs this past weekend despite Josh Hamilton being out of the lineup.
Texas hopes to have its slugger back tonight when Matt Harrison tries to extend his scoreless-innings streak in the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.
The Rangers outscored the Astros 23-8 in a three-game sweep despite Hamilton missing all three games due to an intestinal virus that forced him out of Thursday's game with the Diamondbacks and required him to be hospitalized the following day.
Hamilton leads the majors with 62 runs batted in and is second in the American League with a .330 average and 22 homers. He returned to the Rangers on Sunday and is eyeing a return to action tonight.
"I'm good," Hamilton told the Rangers' website on Sunday. "I'm not going to do any baseball stuff today -- one more day of rest and play tomorrow in San Diego. It's cooler, less taxing on the body. The last thing I want to do is wear myself out and have a setback."
Minus Hamilton, Texas used a seven-run sixth inning to rally past Houston 9-3 on Sunday. Ian Kinsler hit a three-run triple in the big frame, which Adrian Beltre capped with a two-run homer. The victory was the Rangers' sixth in seven games and they matched their season high by moving 13 games over .500 (40-27).
Colby Lewis, who threw complete games in his previous two outings, pitched seven strong innings. He allowed one run on three hits and a walk while striking out 10. He retired the final eight batters he faced in the game.
"His outing was outstanding," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Colby stayed steadfast and kept us around."
Like Lewis, Harrison may be okay if the Rangers decide to keep Hamilton out of action for one more day. The left-hander hasn't allowed a run in consecutive outings, hurling a five-hit shutout at the Giants on June 8 to win his fourth straight start before scattering six hits and two walks over 7 1/3 scoreless frames in a no-decision against Arizona on Wednesday.
"I think it's just the aggressiveness and my tempo has been a lot better," said Harrison, who has pitched to a 1.42 earned run average over his last five outings. "I feel good with my tempo right now so it's making me concentrate more on my pitches and just trying to throw strikes."
Harrison stands at 8-3 with a 3.54 ERA through 13 starts and will face the Padres for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old is 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 12 career interleague appearances, including eight starts.
Taking the mound for the Padres will be Jason Marquis, who makes his third straight appearance with San Diego following a forgettable seven-start stint with the Twins to begin the season.
Marquis went 2-4 with an 8.47 ERA with Minnesota prior to getting released. He then lost his Padres debut on June 7, giving up four runs -- two earned -- over six frames to stretch his overall losing streak to five straight starts.
The 33-year-old righty, though, picked up his first win with the Padres on Wednesday, yielding six hits and four walks over 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the exact type of outing San Diego imagined when adding the veteran.
"Jason did a nice job keeping the ball below the strike zone, kept the ball at the knees when he needed to throw a strike, threw inside well with the fastball," Padres manager Bud Black said. "If you were to script out a Jason Marquis game, that's what it would look like."
Marquis sits four strikeouts shy of becoming the 49th active pitcher with at least 1,000 in his career and will try to reach the milestone in his third career start against the Rangers and first since 2007. He has split two decisions against them with a 4.50 ERA.
The Padres look to make it two wins in a row tonight after salvaging the finale of a three-game series versus the Athletics with Sunday's 2-1 win.
Clayton Richard fired 7 2/3 scoreless innings of five-hit ball and Huston Street recorded the four-out save despite allowing a run in the ninth inning as he held on to reward Richard with his fourth victory of the year.
"He mixed in enough sliders, change (and) curveballs to keep them honest. But it was all about the fastball in good spots, throwing strikes and working fast," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Richard's outing.
Will Venable put the Padres on the board with an RBI fielder's choice groundout in the third and Logan Forsythe scored what turned out to be a huge run in the top of the ninth when he scored on a wild pitch as a pinch-runner.
San Diego ended a nine-game road trip with a winning record at 5-4.
The Padres have won seven of their past 10 versus the Rangers and are hosting Texas for the first time since taking two of three during the 2001 campaign.