Matt Harrison is trying to gain a share of AL wins lead. Taking the mound at home may improve his chances.
Harrison (15-7, 3.04 ERA) has emerged as the Rangers' most reliable starter in just his second full season in the majors. If he wins Wednesday, he would move into a three-way tie for the league lead with Jered Weaver of Los Angeles and David Price , who was charged with Tampa Bay's 6-5 loss in Monday's series opener.
Harrison carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Friday's 8-0 victory over Minnesota, eventually leaving after allowing two hits and two walks in eight frames to improve to 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA in his last six home starts.
"I just have to keep building on this," Harrison told the Rangers' official website. "It took me a couple of innings to get locked in, but after the third I was on a roll. I just wanted to stay aggressive, keep making pitches and get us into the dugout."
The left-hander fared poorly against Tampa Bay (70-59) on April 27, allowing seven runs and a career-high 14 hits in five innings of an 8-4 home loss.
The Rays, however, are batting .194 and have totaled 11 runs during their current losing streak, which reached four after Tuesday's 1-0 defeat - their fourth loss by that score in their last 22 contests.
Yu Darvish struck out 10 in seven innings to earn the win for Texas.
"The pain factor is closer to a 10, when you get shut out 1-0," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, whose club has fallen 1 1/2 games behind wild-card leaders Baltimore and Oakland. "We've had the displeasure of experiencing that often in the recent past, but I know one thing about our guys, we're going to show up (Wednesday)."
Probable Rays starter Alex Cobb (8-8, 4.32) has yielded either one run or none in four of his last five starts - all ending in Tampa Bay wins.
The right-hander tossed his first career shutout Thursday, a four-hitter with eight strikeouts in a 5-0 victory over Oakland. That was a dramatic improvement from his previous outing, when he was tagged for a career high-tying eight runs and 12 hits - two homers - in 2 2-3 innings of a 10-8 win at Los Angeles.
"Nothing worked the last time. And to his credit, he just threw that in the trash can and did this," manager Joe Maddon said after Thursday's win.
Cobb didn't get a decision in his only career meeting with the Rangers, allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a home victory May 31, 2011.
Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler , who is 1 for 3 versus Cobb, is hitting .343 with three home runs and 10 RBIs over his last nine games after driving in Tuesday's lone run with a solo homer.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|August 28, 2012||Matt Joyce||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left forearm|
|August 05, 2012||Ben Zobrist||Day-to-Day||Left game - upper back spasms|
|July 21, 2012||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|July 21, 2012||Alex Cobb||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee contusion|
|July 21, 2012||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|July 02, 2012||Hideki Matsui||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|August 28, 2012||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left elbow|
|August 22, 2012||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Right quad tightness|
|August 11, 2012||Mike Napoli||15-Day DL||Strained left quadriceps|
|August 05, 2012||Elvis Andrus||Day-to-Day||Left game - shoulder soreness|
|July 19, 2012||Colby Lewis||60-Day DL||Torn flexor tendon, right elbow|
|July 06, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Lower back spasms|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Tampa Bay's offense has sputtered at times this season.
For some reason, though, the Rays haven't had any problems figuring out All-Star Matt Harrison .
Evan Longoria homered twice, Tampa Bay roughed up Harrison and the Rays beat the Texas Rangers 8-4 Wednesday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Rays have lost four 1-0 games since Aug. 5 - including one Tuesday night - but Tampa Bay found its stride against Harrison, who was coming off one of the best starts of his career.
"Our hitters have a decent history against him," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I think it's one of those things where our guys see him pretty well. And perhaps he doesn't see them that well."
Harrison (15-8) allowed seven runs and 12 hits in 5 1-3 innings.
The Rays have scored 14 runs with 26 hits in two starts against Harrison, who was looking to tie for the league lead in wins.
"We knew we had to jump out fast," said B.J. Upton, who hit a three-run homer in the second that put the Rays on top 6-0. "We did that and kind of kept our foot down after that."
After dropping the last two against the AL West-leading Rangers by one run, the Rays avoided the three-game sweep.
Tampa Bay had scored only 11 runs during their losing skid before breaking out for 16 hits against Texas.
Longoria hit a two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the ninth. Elliot Johnson added a solo blast in the sixth.
Jeff Keppinger went 4 for 5 and Ben Zobrist had three hits for the Rays.
Jake McGee (5-2) pitched a perfect sixth and five Tampa Bay relievers combined for 4 1-3 scoreless innings.
Since July 19, the Rays' bullpen has posted a 0.76 ERA in 106 innings.
"Our `pen was great once again," Maddon said. "That's who we are."
Josh Hamilton hit his 36th home run for Texas, a solo shot that brought Texas to 6-4 in the fifth.
The Rangers wrapped up a 7-3 homestand and have a 4 1/2-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
"If we can continue to win series, we'll be right where we want to be," Texas manager Ron Washington said.
Harrison gave up seven runs and a career-high 14 hits in an 8-4 loss to the Rays on April 27. The left-hander struggled again against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, giving up six runs and a pair of home runs by the second inning.
He took a no-hitter into the seventh and permitted two hits in eight shutout innings in his last outing Friday night against Minnesota.
"I put us in a big hole early in the game," Harrison said. "I didn't give us a chance"
Zobrist's RBI double in the first snapped a 13-inning scoreless drought.
Longoria drove a 3-1 fastball from Harrison 409 feet to center. The two-run shot extended Tampa Bay's lead to 3-0. Longoria is 6 for 9 with three home runs against Harrison in the regular season.
In the second inning, Sam Fuld tripled with one out and Desmond Jennings walked to set the stage for Upton.
After Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux visited Harrison, Upton lined a fastball into the seats in left for his 16th home run of the season.
Johnson led off the sixth with a home run and Harrison was chased out of the game two batters later.
It was the first time Harrison allowed three home runs in a game since April 21, 2010 against Boston.
Texas' Mitch Moreland hit a two-run homer in the second, his 15th of the season. Nelson Cruz 's RBI groundout got the Rangers to within 6-3.
Hamilton's 424-foot shot landed in the upper deck in right and gave him 112 RBIs, which leads the majors.
Rays starter Alex Cobb allowed eight hits and four runs in 4 2-3 innings.
Notes: Tampa Bay OF Matt Joyce , who left Tuesday's night's game with a strained left forearm, was not in the lineup. Maddon said Joyce might be available Thursday night at Toronto. ... Cruz was in the lineup after being hit in the left elbow Tuesday night. ... The Rays are 15-7 since Longoria came off the disabled list Aug. 7.