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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 28th (All times Eastern)

Tampa Bay Rays (13-7) at Texas Rangers (15-5), 8:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeff Niemann (1-2, 4.11) Texas - Colby Lewis (2-0, 2.03)

(Sports Network) - Colby Lewis hopes to continue his hot start to the season and maybe put his name in Texas' record books this evening when the Rangers continue a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Lewis, who is 2-0 with a 2.02 earned run average, did not get a decision on Sunday in Detroit, but pitched well, as he surrendered two runs and seven hits in seven innings of his team's 3-2 triumph.

He also didn't allow a walk for the third straight start and has not issued one in his last 25 1/3 frames. The club record is 29 1/3 innings set by Jon Matlack in '78.

Lewis has faced the Rays four times (three starts) and is 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, will counter with righty Jeff Niemann, who is 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA, but is coming off his first win of the season his last time out. Niemann beat the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, holding them to a pair of runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He also struck out five and walked two.

Niemann has lost both of his decisions to the Rangers and has given up 15 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings against them.

Tampa won for the sixth straight time in Friday's opener, as Evan Longoria belted a three-run home run and finished with four runs batted in, helping the Rays to an 8-4 win.

B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist added an RBI apiece while Luke Scott smacked a solo shot for the Rays. Starter James Shields surrendered four runs on eleven hits with eight strike outs over six innings to earn the victory.

"The guys did a great job of getting us off to a hot start," said Shields. "Obviously getting a bunch of runs early was huge and obviously against a team like this you have to do that."

The Rays' streak is their best since a seven-game run from July 24-30, 2010.

Texas starter Matt Harrison was shelled for seven runs -- six earned -- and 14 hits over five innings of work. Josh Hamilton launched a three-run homer while David Murphy added a solo shot for the Rangers, who had won two straight.

"It seemed like they knew what I was going to throw," lamented Harrison. "Maybe I was tipping something tonight, I don't know."

Texas won five of its nine regular season matchups with the Rays last season.

04/28 10:33:49 ET

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