Coming off one of the worst outings of his career, Oswalt looks to get on track when Texas hosts the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a three-game set Sunday night.
The Rangers inked Oswalt to a one-year deal after the veteran sat out the first part of the season recovering from back problems. He allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings of a win over Colorado in his first start June 22, but he's struggled in his last two.
Oswalt (2-1, 7.79 ERA) gave up five runs and a career-high 13 hits in six innings of a 13-9 win over Detroit on June 27, then got roughed up for 13 hits again while allowing a career-worst 11 runs in 4 2-3 innings of Tuesday's 19-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox."If you lose 1-0 or 10-0, you still lose," Oswalt said. "Don't really look at it that much."
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three career starts versus the Twins, though he hasn't faced them since 2009.
The AL West-leading Rangers (51-34) snapped a season-worst five-game losing streak with a 4-3, 10-inning victory Saturday. Nelson Cruz 's game-ending double drove in Adrian Beltre , who also hit a solo homer in the sixth. Cruz and Beltre each finished 3 for 5.
Texas, which hit .209 while being outscored 34-9 during its skid, also got a home run from Josh Hamilton , whose status was in doubt after leaving Friday's contest early with back spasms but returned to the lineup as the designated hitter."We were due to finally put together something offensively," manager Ron Washington said. "We kept swinging and kept getting runners out there. We just weren't able to get as many in as we would have liked, but we got the one in that was important."
Minnesota (36-48) had won six of eight prior to Saturday's defeat. Josh Willingham hit his 19th homer in the sixth to give the Twins a short-lived lead before Beltre tied the game with his blast.
Four of Willingham's seven hits over his last eight games have been home runs.
Former Twins closer Joe Nathan pitched two scoreless innings for the Rangers to earn the victory.
"He's pretty good -- that's all you have to say about him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told his team's official website. "Nathan is used to those situations. He's a big-time pitcher."
The Twins will look to bounce back with the help of Cole De Vries, who jumps back into the starting rotation after making one relief appearance.
De Vries (2-1, 3.91) went 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA in four starts before allowing two runs over two innings of relief in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Detroit. He is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two home starts, and gave up one run in six innings of a 5-1 win over Kansas City in his most recent start June 30.
The rookie right-hander likely will continue to occupy a spot in the rotation after the struggling Nick Blackburn was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday.
|June 24, 2012||Matt Capps||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 17, 2012||Matt Capps||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|June 17, 2012||Joe Mauer||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right quadricep|
|June 16, 2012||Joe Mauer||Day-to-Day||Sore left hamstring|
|June 15, 2012||Justin Morneau||Day-to-Day||Left forearm injury|
|June 14, 2012||P.J. Walters||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|July 06, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Lower back spasms|
|June 26, 2012||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal muscle|
|June 24, 2012||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Right forearm tendinitis|
|June 24, 2012||Matt Harrison||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hip soreness|
|June 20, 2012||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 16, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Intestinal virus|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ian Kinsler provided an electrifying finish for the Texas Rangers in their last game before the All-Star break.
Kinsler's lined a game-winning single into the left-center gap with one out in the 13th inning and the AL West-leading Rangers won 4-3 Sunday night after tying the game with three unearned runs in the ninth.
"You know we didn't swing the bats well all night, then that ninth inning, somehow we figured out how to get three runs on the board," Kinsler said. "That last inning, bases loaded, we've got to get it done right there."
One of eight Texas players headed to the All-Star game, Kinsler ended the Rangers' second consecutive extra-inning victory - after a season-worst five-game losing streak. His teammates stormed out of the dugout to celebrate as David Murphy scored the winning run and the ball bounced against the wall.
"It was huge," manager Ron Washington said. "We certainly needed to continue to move forward off of (Saturday). ... We just kept battling and in the ninth inning, I think we showed the character that we have in that clubhouse. We didn't quit."
Along with extra innings, there was a 46-minute delay in the fourth inning that started with a lightning bolt and a loud clap of thunder.
Michael Young , who tied the game with a two-run single with two outs in the ninth, led off the 13th against Alex Burnett (2-2) with a double into the right-field corner. He was forced out at home on Craig Gentry 's grounder to shortstop Brian Dozier , whose error in the ninth set up Texas for a tying rally.
But the bases were still loaded for Kinsler.
After Young's double, Murphy had been intentionally walked before Mike Napoli reached on an infield single before Gentry's grounder.
"A lot of really good things happened there, unfortunately, we just couldn't nail it down, we couldn't finish it off," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "A disappointing loss for us, some big plays to save the game, but not enough."
The Rangers (52-34), who are tied with the New York Yankees for the most victories in the majors, have won seven consecutive series at home, and eight of nine overall. They have a four-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
After the bright flash and thunder when Rangers starter Roy Oswalt was preparing to throw a pitch in the fourth, catcher Napoli and Minnesota batter Ryan Doumit quickly scrambled to their respective dugouts. Baserunner Josh Willingham dropped to his knees near first base and the game was immediately stopped, about 10 minutes before the rain began.
Rangers officials said the lightning struck north of stadium and didn't hit the facility. There were no reports of damage or any injuries.
"My heart stopped when I heard the thunder at the stadium. Glad no one heard me scream like a little girl too!! Lol," Twins right fielder Ben Revere tweeted during the ensuing delay.
"That was the loudest thing I ever heard in my life, I don't even know how to describe it. It was crazy," Young said. "Being on the field, it was nuts. ... It was interesting to see everyone's reaction, that's for sure. During the rain delay, we looked at the replay at least 40 times."
Young had his first four-hit game of the season, but missed a game-ending hit by only inches in the 11th when his liner down the right-field line was just foul before center fielder Denard Span made a running catch of his deep liner. The Rangers left the bases loaded that inning when Gentry hit a liner to first base.
The Rangers also left two runners on in the 12th when Nelson Cruz , who had the game-ending hit Saturday night, had an inning-ending grounder.
Scott Feldman (3-6), the eighth Rangers pitcher, worked the last two innings.
Texas got its three runs in the ninth off Glen Perkins right after Minnesota had padded a 1-0 lead with two unearned runs in the top of the inning off All-Star closer Joe Nathan .
Nathan's throwing error against his former team led to a run before Span hit a sacrifice fly.
Twins rookie Cole De Vries pitched seven scoreless innings against the Texas lineup with five All-Stars. The right-hander struck out five while allowing three singles, two of them to Kinsler.
The other All-Stars on the majors' top-hitting team - Elvis Andrus , Josh Hamilton , Beltre and Napoli were a combined 0 for 9 with three strikeouts, a walk and a sacrifice bunt against De Vries.
"De Vries was unbelievable," Gardenhire said.
Casey Fien threw a scoreless eighth in his first appearance for the Twins before Perkins' third blown save in seven chances.
Oswalt, who had given up 13 hits in each of his last two starts, allowed one run and five hits over 5 2-3 innings. He was gone after Justin Morneau 's RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
Kinsler led off the ninth with a grounder to Dozier that turned into a two-base throwing error. After Perkins threw a wild pitch, Andrus had an RBI grounder.
Hamilton popped out to third before Texas, with only four hits to that point, had four consecutive two-out hits. That included Young's tying hit.
Notes: The game lasted 4 hours, 32 minutes, not including the 46-minute delay. ... Texas hadn't won extra-inning games on consecutive days since 1994. ... A U.S. Army soldier in uniform and wearing a glove caught a foul ball in the first row of seats down the right-field line in the second inning. Young, who ran after the ball out of his reach, was smiling after a congratulatory tap with his first baseman's mitt on the soldier's chest.