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MIN@TEX: Dempster fans seven over six solid innings

After a much-deserved off-day for the Rangers on Thursday -- having played 20 games in 20 days, the longest a team can go without one, as stipulated by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement -- the club opens up a three-game weekend set Friday with the Indians.

Although their homestand ended on a bitter note, losing 8-4 to the Rays, the Rangers took two of three from Tampa Bay and have won 10 of their past 14 games. They'll look to continue their winning ways with Ryan Dempster on the mound Friday opposite Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

The 35-year-old Dempster hasn't faced the Tribe this season, having spent most of it with the Cubs in the National League. In fact, the last time Dempster saw action against Cleveland was back in 2006 when he allowed four runs in one inning of relief.

Though Dempster hasn't started a game against Cleveland sine 2003, he's perhaps running into the Tribe at the perfect time. The Indians finished a series with the A's on Thursday scoring seven runs in a loss, their highest run total since Aug. 5, but they've averaged only two runs over their previous 11 contests.

Dempster knows a thing or two about poor run support from his time with the Cubs this season -- he was 0-3 on May 25 despite a 2.14 ERA -- but that's not something he's had to worry about with the Rangers.

"It seems like these guys are putting up five runs in an inning almost every day," said Dempster after allowing two runs in six innings against Minnesota on Saturday. "I know they've always done a good job offensively, but you still have to execute your game plan, whether you get one run or 10 runs."

It's quite possible the Rangers could score 10 on Friday, as Jimenez's ERA is the highest in the American League. It's also quite possible Texas could put up a zero, seeing as Jimenez fired seven scoreless innings against them on May 6, allowing two hits while walking five and striking out six.

"He's capable of doing that," said Rangers manager Ron Washington after that game. "He has the talent, and he has done it before. Today was his day."

Rangers: Eight sent to Arizona Fall League
• The rosters for the AFL were announced Wednesday, and the Rangers are sending eight to play for the Surprise Saguaros. Pitchers Miguel De Los Santos, Jimmy Reyes, Ryan Rodebaugh and Ben Rowen will join catcher Kellin Deglan and infielders Leury Garcia, Chris McGuinness and Luis Sardinas.

• Nelson Cruz was back in the lineup Wednesday, batting fifth and playing in right field. He left Tuesday's game with a contusion in his left elbow, but returned in the series finale, going 1-for-4 with an RBI.

After batting .223 and .177 in June and July, respectively, Josh Hamilton has seemingly returned to form. He hit his seventh home run of the month Wednesday night and enters the Indians series batting .309 in August. Five of his last seven contests have been multihit games, giving him 11 for the month.

Indians: Jimenez having poor August
• Repeating that seven-inning performance might be a bit of a stretch for the 28-year-old Jimenez. He's gone six innings just once in five starts this month. Jimenez is 1-3 with a 7.96 ERA in August, his highest ERA in any month.

• With a loss to the A's on Thursday, the Indians dropped to 1-6 on their current 10-day, 10-game homestand. The stretch marks the longest homestand for the Tribe this season.

• Catcher Carlos Santana had been removed from Wednesday's game due to his lack of hustle in an 8-4 loss against Oakland. He was back in there Thursday, going 0-for-3 with a run scored, but he said he certainly got the message from manager Manny Acta.

"It's something I'll learn from," said Santana, who slowly ran out a ground ball in the sixth inning before being replaced by Lou Marson. Comments