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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, May 17th (All times eastern)

Toronto Blue Jays (22-21) at Texas Rangers (20-22), 8:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Toronto - Mark Buehrle (7-1, 2.04) Texas - Robbie Ross Jr. (1-4, 4.05)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers try to put an end to a three-game slide Saturday as they clash with the Toronto Blue Jays in the second of a three-game set at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Now six games off the pace in the American League West where they are fourth in the division standings, the Rangers were shut out for the second time in the last three outings on Friday night in the series opener, 2-0, marking the club's fifth loss in six tries.

Texas managed a mere three hits last night, one each by Adrian Beltre, Leonys Martin and Rougned Odor, wasting another strong outing by hurler Yu Darvish who allowed just two runs on five hits and struck out 11 over eight innings of work.

"Offensively we're capable of doing a lot of damage," noted Texas outfielder Alex Rios after the outing. "We're not there yet. We're all still positive and believe we can do damage. But it's a little frustrating when we're not seeing the real power of our offense."

Drew Hutchison went the distance for the Jays, walking one and fanning six as he picked up his second win of the campaign.

"He was tremendous," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of his starting pitcher. "He went toe to toe with [Darvish], matched him, and ended up getting the win. It was a battle on both sides. Both guys were really good."

Now batting .320 on the season, Melky Cabrera knocked in both runs for the visitors and drew a pair of walks, helping to offset the performances of Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie at the plate as they each struck out three times for a squad that is sitting in third place in the AL East, trailing both Baltimore and the Yankees entering play on Saturday.

The shutout was the seventh of the season for the Toronto staff, second-most in the American League behind only Texas which has notched nine in just 42 contests.

The first seven-game winner in the majors heads back to the mound this evening as Mark Buehrle takes the ball for the visiting Jays. Outside of an 8-1 loss to Boston late last month, Buehrle has been virtually untouchable with his 2.04 ERA over the course of 53 innings.

The left-hander is currently riding a three-game win streak, thanks to a victory against the LA Angels earlier this week. Buehrle lasted a total of six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and an uncharacteristic five walks, but still came out on the right side of the 7-3 decision.

Now in his 15th major league campaign, Buehrle has a career mark of 13-5 and a 3.14 ERA in 22 total games versus Texas.

As for the Rangers, they'll hand the ball to Robbie Ross Jr. Also a left- hander, Ross has been saddled with four defeats in his last five outings, the most recent of those coming against Boston at home on Sunday. For the third time in a row Ross was tagged for at least five runs, based on six hits and a couple of walks through 6 2/3 innings.

Just three seasons into his major league career, Ross has yet to register a decision versus Toronto, even though this will be his sixth appearance against the club all-time.

Toronto, which captured six wins in seven meetings last season versus the Rangers, is tops in the AL in home runs at the moment with 56 through 43 games, while Texas is second from the bottom with just 26.

05/17 10:26:36 ET

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