After Adrian Beltre helped Texas snap its longest skid of the season, Yu Darvish hopes to keep the Rangers headed in the right direction.
The prized rookie right-hander looks to improve to 5-0 in his major league career Sunday when the Rangers conclude a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Bothered by a sore hamstring that has kept him out of the starting lineup for four straight games, Beltre delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer in the top of the 11th inning to help Texas (18-9) end a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory Saturday.
"It was a nice feeling going around the bases," Beltre said after his first pinch-hit home run since 2000. "We've had a tough stretch lately. To get a win feels pretty good.'
After its pitching staff yielded 25 runs over the previous three contests, Texas got a solid 7 1-3 innings from starter Derek Holland. However, Holland was charged with both Cleveland runs that reliever Mike Adams allowed to score in the eighth.
Beltre bailed out Adams and enabled the Rangers to avoid a fifth loss in six games.
"We needed that,' manager Ron Washington said. "This is the biggest win we've had all year. We've been spinning our wheels.'
Washington now confidently hands the ball to Darvish (4-0, 2.18 ERA), who has allowed three earned runs and struck out 28 in 27 1-3 innings over four starts since giving up five runs over 5 2-3 innings in his major league debut against Seattle on April 9.
"I don't expect him to go 32-0,' said Washington, whose team has won all five of Darvish's starts. "The thing about him is he will keep us in ballgames, and that's what we want.'
Darvish, who turns 26 in August, allowed his first home run and three other hits while fanning nine in seven innings of a 4-1 victory at Toronto on Monday. The Japanese import is the sixth rookie since 1957 to win at least four games without a loss in April while pitching exclusively as a starter.
"I'm very aware that all these hitters are seeing me for the first time,' Darvish said. "It's (early), so I'm not thinking about how I did (last) month or being satisfied. Right now all I'm thinking about is preparing well for the next start.'
He'll try to help the Rangers avoid their first losing series of at least three games in Cleveland since Aug. 16-18, 2005.
The Central Division-leading Indians (14-11) totaled 19 runs during a three-game winning streak that ended after they managed eight hits Saturday. Asdrubal Cabrera, who had half of those hits and an RBI, is 8 for 14 (.571) in the last four games.
Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2, 5.02) takes the ball for the Indians looking to avoid a third loss in as many starts. The right-hander allowed seven runs - four earned - and six walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss at the Chicago White Sox.
"My throwing shoulder is probably too open," Jimenez said. "I am trying to create more torque and power out of it.'
In his only appearance versus Texas last Aug. 5, Jimenez gave up five runs, seven hits and three walks while striking out seven in five innings of an 8-7, 11-inning road defeat.
The Associated Press News Service
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