The Texas Rangers appear poised to continue the interleague road success they've enjoyed in recent years, so they probably weren't too happy to see their latest chance in an NL park rained out.
The weather Thursday at Wrigley Field doesn't look any more promising.
The Rangers hope to have another chance for a sixth consecutive interleague road victory in this finale against a Chicago Cubs team looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Wednesday's contest was rained out, and Thursday afternoon's forecast looks just as bad. Strong storms are expected throughout the day.
"Hopefully the weathermen are wrong, but they weren't wrong today," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website.
The only other time the Rangers are set to be in Chicago in 2013 is an Aug. 23-25 visit with the White Sox, so making up one game - let alone two - may be challenging.
"The thing you keep coming back to is that both teams are playing in it," said Texas utilityman Jeff 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."
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 Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64 ERA), who the Cubs will send to the mound after he was scheduled to start Wednesday.
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 half 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 Texas.
Rather than sending Justin Grimm out Thursday, the Rangers will push him to Sunday in favor of Ogando (2-0, 1.08), who has looked good despite not pitching particularly deep in games.
The right-hander needed 98 pitches to get through five innings Saturday at Seattle, but only allowed one run and five hits while not receiving a decision in a 3-1 win.
"I thought I pitched well, but threw too many pitches," Ogando said. "... They battled and made me throw a lot of pitches."
Ogando, who has never faced the Cubs, is 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last six road starts dating to August 2011.
|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) -- As the first pitch approached, nobody was quite sure if Thursday's game at Wrigley Field would be played.
The Chicago Cubs are certainly glad it was.
Alfonso Soriano hit his first home run of the season, Anthony Rizzo also homered and the Cubs beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 on a soggy afternoon.
Despite torrential rains that caused citywide floods, the teams were able to carry on in an occasional drizzle. The Cubs and Texas were rained out Wednesday.
After watching the bullpen squander leads in his two starts against Atlanta and San Francisco, Carlos Villanueva (1-0) pitched seven innings and gave up two runs and four hits while striking out six.
"I tried to stay with my guard up just in case. You never want to drop your guard and all of a sudden have to go, `Hey, 20 minutes, the game's starting,' and I'm just sitting at my locker not thinking about the game," Villanueva said.
"I kept hearing (the rain is) going to come at 1:35, it's going to come in the fourth, it's going to come in the fifth. And then I said, `You know what, just don't tell me."'
Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the third inning estimated at 475 feet. Soriano followed with a shot that gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead against Alexi Ogando (2-1). Soriano's homer accounted for his first RBI of the season.
"I feel like I found some things today and just got to build off the momentum here," Rizzo said. "It's big that Soriano hit as well today and got that big monkey off his shoulder - home run and RBI."
Welington Castillo added a career-high four hits as Chicago ended its three-game losing streak. Castillo is hitting .425 this season.
"If he can swing the bat like this all year long we've got something really special because the defense he has behind the plate is one of the best in baseball," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs' hitters backed Villanueva and the relievers got the job done.
"Personal stats ... it'll happen. What do I gain from being upset if I don't get a win?" Villanueva said. "Nobody benefits from that. This isn't a game to be selfish about."
Ogando lasted only 2 1-3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits while walking two.
Before Thursday, Ogando had been 5-0 with a 1.88 ERA in eight career April starts.
The Texas right-hander said he was slipping on the mound, and had members of the grounds crew try to fix it during the Cubs' four-run third.
"On top of being out of control today, that mound didn't really help at all today," Ogando said.
Despite the result, Rangers manager Ron Washington was glad the game was played.
"Wish for better results, but I am," he said. "It's one game we don't have to play when we return."
The Cubs took the lead in the second. Nate Schierholtz doubled, Castillo singled and Luis Valbuena hit an RBI single.
Valbuena got two hits, drove in two runs and also made a diving play at third base on Elvis Andrus ' grounder in the seventh.
David DeJesus led off the Cubs' third with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. Starlin Castro walked, Rizzo hit his fourth homer and Soriano followed with a drive. One batter later, Ogando was replaced by Derek Lowe .
Castro drew his first two walks of the season. He extended his hitting streak to 10 with a one-out double in the sixth.
Ian Kinsler led off the Texas fourth with a home run. Chicago regained its five-run lead in the bottom half when Valbuena doubled home Castillo.
Nelson Cruz homered with two outs in the seventh for Texas, which was held to four hits and ended its six-game road trip 3-3.
Cruz and Kinsler each had two hits.
James Russell threw an inning of scoreless relief in the eighth for the Cubs. His father, Jeff, is the Rangers' all-time leader in relief appearances with 406.
Former Cubs closer Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.
NOTES: Castro has 10 hitting streaks of at least 10 games since the start of the 2011 season. Cubs RHP Matt Garza was expected to make a rehab start Friday at Single-A Kane County. But because of weather conditions, he will instead throw a 35-pitch simulated game in Milwaukee. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Garza then will likely throw for Double-A Tennessee. ... Jeff Samardzija is expected to start Friday for the Cubs in Milwaukee vs Marco Estrada . Yu Darvish is set to match up with Seattle's Joe Saunders . ... The teams did not announce a makeup date for Wednesday's rainout. ... Cubs reliever Hisanori Takahashi cleared waivers and will be assigned to Triple-A Iowa. Takahashi was designated for assignment on Tuesday.