American League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, September 9th (All times eastern)
Texas Rangers (83-56) at Tampa Bay Rays (76-63), 1:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Roy Oswalt (4-2, 5.85) Tampa Bay - James Shields (13-8, 3.88)
(Sports Network) - Roy Oswalt returns to the Texas Rangers' rotation on Sunday when they play the rubber match of a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Oswalt hasn't started since he picked up a no decision against the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 23. He's since pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief, but Texas manager Ron Washington decided to give him the start in an effort to give Matt Harrison an extra couple of days rest.
"Everyone benefits," Ron Washington said. "It certainly wasn't something that was planned; we just decided to do it."
Oswalt, who beat the Rays the only other time he faced them, is 4-2 on the year with a 5.85 ERA.
Tampa, meanwhile, will counter with right-hander James Shields, who has won five of his last six decisions. Shields' latest win came on Monday against the New York Yankees, as he allowed three runs and five hits in eight innings to improve to 14-8, while lowering his ERA to 3.88.
Shields lost to the Rangers two starts ago, despite giving up just one run in seven innings. He's 6-3 lifetime against them, though, with a 3.13 ERA in 10 starts.
After losing Friday's opener, Texas responded on Saturday, as Geovany Soto and Jurickson Profar hit back-to-back, two-out doubles in the 10th inning to lift the Rangers to a 4-2 win.
Josh Hamilton, who hit a two-run homer earlier in the contest, was later hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in another run for Texas, which played in extra innings for the third straight game.
Mike Adams (5-3) stranded a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth to earn the win and Joe Nathan tossed a scoreless 10th for his 31st save of the season as the AL West-leading Rangers won for the fifth time in seven games.
Kyle Farnsworth (1-4) surrendered the deciding runs to take the loss for the Rays, who have lost two of their last three but still sit two games behind the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees for the top spot in the AL East.
Both starting pitchers sparkled despite not receiving a decision as Yu Darvish allowed two runs -- one earned -- on two hits and two walks while striking out eight over eight innings. Chris Archer, who made his third career start in place of an injured David Price, gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts through seven frames.
"I was able to keep my team in the game and that's pretty much what the goal was," Archer said.
The Rays have split eight meetings with the Rangers this season.
09/09 10:36:51 ET