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Tigers, Rangers continue series in Texas

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Tigers hope to further pad their lead atop the AL Central when they shoot for a series win over the Texas Rangers Wednesday in Arlington.

The Tigers recorded an 8-2 win in Tuesday's series opener and have won five in a row for a three-game lead over Kansas City in the division. J.D. Martinez highlighted a five-run seventh inning with a two-run double and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He has five homers during the run.

Former Ranger Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run in the first inning and finished 2-for-5 with three RBI, while Rajai Davis, Alex Avila and Eugenio Suarez combined for eight hits, four runs scored and two RBI for the Tigers.

Drew Smyly started for the Tigers and got the win by allowing just an unearned run in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.

"I was able to make big pitches when I needed to," said Smyly. "After the third I thought I settled down pretty good. Once we get on a roll we're going to be fine."

Detroit is 4-0 on a nine-game road trip and will close the journey this weekend against the Houston Astros. The club is 22-13 away from Detroit this season.

In other news for the Tigers, outfielder Torii Hunter could return Wednesday and hasn't played since June 16 because of a hamstring issue. Hunter is batting .266 with nine homers and 35 RBI this season.

Anibal Sanchez gets the start for the Tigers Wednesday and has won back-to- back trips to the mound. He is 4-0 in his last seven appearances and defeated Kansas City with seven innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 win last Thursday.

Sanchez, who is 4-2 with a 2.33 earned run average, will make his fifth career start against the Rangers and is 1-3 with a 6.98 in the first four. The righty has a 1-0 record in four road assignments.

Texas lost its sixth straight game Tuesday and starting pitcher Colby Lewis was touched for four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. Adrian Beltre was the lone bright spot offensively for the Rangers with four hits and an RBI. He eclipsed the 2,500-hit mark for his career in the process.

"He's an excellent player," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Beltre. "He just hits. He plays both sides of the ball so you enjoy watching guys like that."

Detroit pounded out 16 hits compared to nine from Texas. Leonys Martin had the other RBI for Texas, which is on its longest losing streak since a seven-game drought last Sept. 9-16.

The Rangers will also host Minnesota for three games on this homestand and are 1-5-1 in the last seven series. Last night's opener with Detroit marked a stretch in which the Rangers are scheduled to play games for a season-high 20 consecutive days.

Texas will pin pitching duties on Joe Saunders Wednesday and he is 0-3 with a 4.11 earned run average in six starts. Saunders pitched in last Friday's 7-3 loss at the LA Angels and allowed seven runs -- four earned -- in 4 2/3 innings. He also surrendered 10 hits, struck out three and walked three.

Saunders, a left-hander, is 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA in 10 career starts against the Tigers.

The Rangers won three of four meetings with the Tigers from May 22-25 at Comerica Park.

06/25 10:47:45 ET