American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, May 26th (All times eastern)
Toronto Blue Jays (24-22) at Texas Rangers (28-18), 3:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Toronto - Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 3.30) Texas - Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.30)
(Sports Network) - After losing six of their previous 10 games, the Texas Rangers got back on track in a big way Friday night against the Blue Jays.
The Rangers offense came out firing from the start, putting up six runs in the bottom of the first inning, and ultimately cruised to an easy 14-3 win.
Nelson Cruz went 4-for-5 with a grand slam and matched a career-high with eight RBI. Cruz got things started in the first inning with a three-run double, then followed that up with an RBI single in the sixth, and capped his night off with the slam in the seventh.
Josh Hamilton continued his MVP-like campaign with his major league-leading 19th home run of the season, snapping a streak of 11 games without a long ball.
Every player in the Rangers' starting lineup reached base safely on Friday night, while five different players recorded multi-hit games.
Derek Holland (4-3) was given more than enough run support to earn the win, allowing two runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings while striking out a season- high nine.
Edwin Encarnacion went 2-fo-4 with a home run for the Blue Jays, who have now lost three in a row. The homer for Encarnacion was his 15th of the season, second to only Hamilton in the American League.
It was a rough outing for Toronto starter Brandon Morrow, who's otherwise had a great season. The right-hander pitched just two-thirds of an inning - the shortest outing of his career - allowing five hits, three walks, and six earned runs. Even with the bad outing, Morrow's ERA hovers at a respectable 3.47.
Hoping for that same type of run support tonight, Texas will send Colby Lewis to the mound for game two of the series. After starting May with three straight losses while giving up 14 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings, Lewis got back on track in the Rangers 6-1 interleague win over rival Houston on May 20.
Lewis was spectacular in his fourth win of the season, going eight strong innings and striking out six while allowing just four hits, one walk, and one earned run. The right-hander also took advantage of his at-bats in the National League park, helping his cause with two hits and a pair of RBI.
"Things didn't go my way in the last couple of starts, so I just wanted to bounce back and go deep into the game," Lewis said of his performance.
Lewis hopes to build on his success this afternoon in Arlington, where he has dominated in four starts this season with a 2-1 record and a 1.85 ERA, but he has not seen much success against the Blue Jays in his career, as he is just 3-4 with a bloated 7.43 ERA in eight career games against Toronto.
The Blue Jays will counter with 22-year old Henderson Alvarez, who's enjoying a fine sophomore season with a 3.30 ERA. He is coming off back-to-back losses however, including a nine-hit, six-earned run let down in a 6-5 loss to the Mets on Sunday. Alvarez lasted just five innings, snapping a streak of 16 straight starts with at least six innings pitched.
Alvarez has never faced the potent Rangers lineup before, though he has been lights-out away from Rogers Centre this year, going 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA while allowing just 18 hits in 23 innings.
05/26 10:27:04 ET