The Texas Rangers appear poised this season to continue the interleague road success they've enjoyed in recent years.
After holding on for their latest victory against an NL opponent, the Rangers try for a sixth consecutive interleague road victory Wednesday night versus a Chicago Cubs team looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer, Derek Holland allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings and center fielder Craig Gentry ended the game with a diving catch to preserve Texas' 4-2 win Tuesday at Wrigley Field."I figured four runs - we'd get an out before they got four or five," manager Ron Washington said. "So we ended up doing it. It took a great play in center but we did it."
The Rangers (9-5) have won 21 of 27 interleague road contests and own a 22-8 scoring advantage during a five-game winning streak at NL ballparks.
Beltre, who homered for the second time in 2013, is batting .434 with six home runs and 22 RBIs in his last 22 interleague games. He's batted .333 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 20 career games at Wrigley.
He's 3 for 6 against scheduled starter Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64 ERA), who has been victimized by his team's suspect bullpen in 2013.
The right-hander has allowed one run and nine hits over 14 innings in his first two starts, but Chicago relievers blew leads in both contests. He gave up three hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings against San Francisco on Friday, but rookie Kyuji Fujikawa yielded three runs in the ninth before the Cubs (4-9) rallied in the bottom of the frame to win 4-3."All we needed is the win," Villanueva said. "Personal stats, whatever."
He is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA as a starter against the Rangers.
Alfonso Soriano had two hits Tuesday for the Cubs, who got a two-run double by Nate Schierholtz in the ninth off closer Joe Nathan to make things interesting. With the bases loaded, Gentry made a diving catch on Darwin Barney 's liner to send Chicago to its 12th loss in 15 interleague home games."We did a good job of putting an inning together there," said Barney, the Gold Glove second baseman who came off the disabled list but went 0-for-4 in his 2013 debut. "We've been doing that this year, putting together a rally in the ninth inning. It's time to start doing that a little earlier maybe as a team."
Ex-Ranger Soriano, 7 for 12 in the last three contests, is batting .412 during a 16-game hitting streak against the Rangers.
Soriano and the Cubs look to bounce back when they get their first look at Texas' Justin Grimm , who allowed two runs, five hits and walked three on 92 pitches over four innings of a 4-3 win at Seattle on Thursday.
"It was a matter of not trusting my stuff, but when I had to trust it, I did. It could have been a lot worse," Grimm told the Rangers' official website. "At least I battled and gave my team a chance."
The right-hander is in the rotation while Matt Harrison remains on the disabled list with a lower-back injury.
|April 11, 2013||Justin Miller||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 07, 2013||Matt Harrison||15-Day DL||Inflamed nerve in lower back|
|April 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Left game - blister|
|March 24, 2013||Neftali Feliz||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Joakim Soria||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 14, 2013||Steve Clevenger||60-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|April 13, 2013||Steve Clevenger||Day-to-Day||Left oblique injury|
|April 13, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|March 31, 2013||Darwin Barney||15-Day DL||Left knee laceration|
|March 31, 2013||Scott Baker||60-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|March 31, 2013||Darwin Barney||15-Day DL||Left knee laceration|
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Texas Rangers are getting accustomed to this cold, damp weather.
The game between the Rangers and Chicago Cubs scheduled for Wednesday night was rained out. It was postponed two hours before it was supposed to start at Wrigley Field.
No makeup date was announced. The teams are set to play Thursday afternoon.
"(Tuesday) night wasn't bad, just a little chilly but we're in Chicago and we're going to have to put up with that," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "We've kind of dealt with it the last few games anyways."
It might've been more than "a little chilly." The gametime temperature Tuesday night was 39 degrees with the wind blowing in off nearby Lake Michigan.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said it was worse the conditions he's felt crosstown at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox.
"I can tell you what, we've been on the south side when it's cold, but it's not the same cold on the north side," Washington said.
Texas opened the interleague series with a 4-2 win.
Before Wednesday, the Rangers had played their last five games with the temperatures below 50 degrees, including four at Seattle's Safeco Field. So, for a warm-weather team, Texas is rather well-versed in ways to beat low temperatures and tough conditions.
The Rangers will skip Wednesday's scheduled starter, Justin Grimm , in favor of Alexi Ogando on Thursday.
Yu Darvish will pitch Friday against Seattle regardless of Thursday's weather. Grimm will pitch Sunday and Tuesday's winner, Derek Holland , will open the Rangers' set Monday with the Los Angeles Angels .
And if the Chicago weather continues to be a problem, there are a few Rangers who know how to deal with the raw conditions.
The Rangers have former Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, along with ex-Cubs Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker . The three spent parts of a combined 20 years in Chicago, and certainly experienced some miserable April days.
"The thing you keep coming back to is that both teams are playing in it," said Baker, who spent parts of four years with the Cubs. "Yeah, you're probably not going to have your great individual performance that day but at the same time all that matters is beating that other team and going out there and scoring more runs."
Moreland said he was told to expect what the Rangers are getting.
"That's the way it is in Chicago this time of the year," Moreland said. "That's part of it."
That isn't to say the conditions are pleasant at Wrigley. Baker remembered that last season he didn't wear short sleeves under his jersey until June at Wrigley.
His mindset, however, never changed. It was always about winning and trying to block out the raw weather.
"If you look at it that way, it keeps you sane and you don't focus on how miserable it is," Baker said.
Even with the weather, the rare trip to Wrigley was still a special one for many Rangers.
"You're going to deal with that," Moreland said. "The Wrigley part of it kind of overshadows the weather."
NOTES: The Rangers have won nine of their last 10 interleague games. They've won their last six series against NL teams since losing two out of three to Florida in July 2011. ... Former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was at Wrigley Field before Wednesday's game for a visit. He is currently a free agent.