Colorado (26-43) at Texas (44-27), 7:05 p.m. EDT
While the Colorado Rockies have certainly had a rough go of interleague play, they picked up a rare win their last time out behind a big day at the plate.
A repeat performance seems unlikely with the major league-best Texas Rangers sending Matt Harrison to the hill during Sunday night’s series finale in Arlington.
Colorado (27-43) entered Saturday with a 1-12 record versus the AL and scored a combined two runs in its previous three interleague games before breaking out in an 11-7 victory. Wil Nieves and Dexter Fowler both homered for the Rockies, who collected 17 hits and went 7 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
“We got a team win. We came out and played. Besides one inning, we played a great game against the best team in baseball,” starter Josh Outman said after Colorado’s third victory in 16 games overall.
The Rangers (44-28) fell to 25-4 when recording at least 11 hits and saw their seven-game winning streak come to end. They surrendered 15 runs during that streak but fell behind 11-1 in the fifth inning Saturday.
“They put runs on the board. They hit the ball hard all day,” manager Ron Washington said. “I don’t know how you can say it’s a game we should have won. … They beat us. I’ve got no excuses.”
While Saturday’s result left a bad taste in their mouths, the Rangers have to like their chances of bouncing back behind Harrison (9-3, 3.41 ERA).
The left-hander has been especially sharp over his last six outings, going 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA while holding opponents to a .222 average.
“He’s growing up big time,” Washington told MLB’s official website. “The last four weeks he’s decided that he was going to put his stamp on things.”
The only run Harrison has allowed over his past three starts – all against the NL West – came Monday as he went six innings and defeated San Diego in a 2-1 victory.
He owns the best winning percentage in the majors among qualified pitchers since Sept. 4, having gone 13-3 (81.3 percent) in his last 19 starts.
“He’s young, he’s left-handed, he’s got power stuff. The future is very bright for the guy,” Rangers veteran Michael Young said.
Averaging 6.8 runs over its last five home games, Texas appears to have a favorable matchup against the Rockies’ Alex White (2-5, 6.06). The right-hander avoided losing a third straight start Wednesday but struggled, allowing five runs and five hits in 3 2-3 innings in a 7-6 loss at Philadelphia.
“Alex was just so-so. His command was erratic,” said manager Jim Tracy, who has been limiting his starters to around 75 pitches while going with a four-man rotation.
White has given up 15 runs over his last three road outings spanning 14 innings.
He’ll need to be wary of Nelson Cruz, who went 3 for 5 with his 10th and 11th homers of the season Saturday. Cruz is batting .333 with eight long balls and 24 RBIs in his last 17 home games.
Josh Hamilton, in contrast, has cooled off since his remarkable start. The MVP candidate, who went 0 for 5 with a career worst-tying four strikeouts Saturday, is hitting .188 over his last 17 games.