Coming off their first AL championship, the Texas Rangers have matched the best start in franchise history.
Justin Verlander hopes his success against them can get the Detroit Tigers back on track.
Verlander and the Tigers look to slow the Rangers' offense Monday when the teams open a three-game set at Comerica Park.
Texas (8-1) has used a high-powered offense as a catalyst for its strong start. The Rangers' 58 runs and 18 home runs both rank among the major league leaders.
Nelson Cruz has led the charge with five home runs and 10 RBIs, though he was 0 for 4 in Sunday's 3-0 win against Baltimore. Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler homered against the Orioles.
The Rangers joined the 1989 team, which won 10 of its first 11, as the only ones in franchise history to start 8-1.
"We can play whatever the game asks us to play. That's what we play," manager Ron Washington said. "We do have guys up and down the lineup that can punch the ball out of the ballpark. It happened today and it worked for us. Kinsler and Beltre got them, and that's all the runs we needed."
The home runs were plenty of support for Derek Holland, who pitched six innings before Neftali Feliz earned his third save.
Texas' starters are 7-1 with a 2.54 ERA.
Alexi Ogando (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the mound Monday looking to build off a strong 2011 debut. Ogando won his first major league start in Texas' 3-2 victory Tuesday against Seattle, allowing only two hits over six scoreless innings.
The second-year right-hander made three relief appearances against Detroit last season, giving up one run and three hits in 2 1-3 innings.
Ogando will have a tough matchup against Verlander, who hasn't lost to the Rangers in five seasons.
Verlander (1-0, 3.86) is making his third start of the year after beating Baltimore 7-3 on Wednesday. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out nine while giving up three runs and four hits over eight innings.
In his last six starts against Texas, Verlander is 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA. He's allowed only seven earned runs in 38 innings while striking out 45 during that span.
Verlander's only loss to the Rangers came Sept. 13, 2006, and he's 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA in eight career starts against them. Kinsler is 2 for 14 (.143) in the matchup, while Michael Young is 4 for 22 (.182).
Detroit (3-6), however, lost for the third time in four games Sunday, committing a season-high four errors in a 9-5 loss to Kansas City. The Tigers are off to their worst nine-game start since beginning 1-8 in 2008.
"I don't mind physical errors, but teams are going to take advantage of them," manager Jim Leyland said. "On the two bad throws by our pitchers, that let a runner go from first to third, which means they can score on a sacrifice fly, so it is even more damaging."
Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila homered Sunday for Detroit. Cabrera is hitting .358 with eight homers and 41 RBIs in 33 career games against Texas.
The Rangers have won eight of the last 12 meetings, though the Tigers have won 12 of the last 14 matchups at Comerica Park.
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