While the Texas Rangers got a nice boost this week from the return of Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, the club is still struggling to score. A series against the Kansas City Royals could change that.
The Rangers try again to break out offensively when they go for their ninth straight home win over the Royals on Friday night.
Hamilton and Cruz homered after coming off the disabled list Monday to help Texas to a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. The two players, though, went a combined 4 for 16 in the final two games of a series that ended with a 2-1 Rangers victory Wednesday.
Texas (26-24) matched a season low with three hits in that win and has scored two or fewer runs in five of the last seven.
"It's going to take a few more games for (the offense) to get rolling the way we want it to roll," manager Ron Washington said. "But once again, I can certainly see the difference in the way the pitchers are working out there to get through our lineup. I think pretty soon it's going to pay dividends."
It could happen during this series, as Texas has averaged 6.8 runs and batted .304 during its home winning streak versus Kansas City. The Rangers hit eight home runs - two apiece from Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli - and scored 22 times while sweeping the Royals in Arlington from April 22-24.
Kansas City snapped a five-game skid to Texas with a 2-1, 10-inning home win May 19.
The Rangers will try to give some run support to Colby Lewis (4-5, 3.69 ERA) after he received none in a 2-0 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday.
He surrendered two runs over 6 2-3 innings, but with the Rangers getting shut out for the second time this season - both in Lewis' starts - the right-hander failed to win his third straight outing. He has posted a 1.17 ERA in his last three games.
Lewis has gone 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts against Kansas City, both coming during his first stint with Texas in 2003.
He'll face a Royals team that has lost five straight and 10 of 12.
Kansas City (22-27) makes its final visit to Texas this season after getting swept by Baltimore. The Royals had a chance to salvage the finale of the three-game series Thursday, taking a 4-0 second-inning lead, but lost their fifth straight road game, 6-5 in 12 innings.
"We don't want to lose and now we're finding ways to lose," said third baseman Alex Gordon, batting .323 with two homers during a seven-game hitting streak. "So we need to take some of that anger and just put it all into the game and come out intense tomorrow.'
The Royals continue their six-game trip with Nate Adcock (1-0, 1.66) set to make his second career start. Pitching in place of the injured Kyle Davies, the rookie right-hander went five innings in a 3-0 loss to St. Louis on Saturday.
Adcock will face the Rangers for the second time. He surrendered three runs - one on a homer by Beltre - in 2 2-3 innings of relief during an 11-6 loss April 22.
Adcock will get his first look at Hamilton, who has batted .225 (20 for 89) in his career against Kansas City.
"Just because he's Josh Hamilton, it doesn't mean you can't pitch to contact," Adcock told the Royals' official website.
Hamilton will likely be the DH on Friday and could return to the outfield sometime during this series.
Royals infielder Mike Aviles is 4 for 10 against the Rangers this season, with his first career two-homer game coming in an 8-7 loss at Texas on April 24.
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