06/24/10 1:37 AM ET
Karstens will try to cool off hot Texas
By Tim Britton / MLB.com
Texas won its 10th straight game on Wednesday in a 13-3 rout over the Pirates, and the Rangers will look for their third consecutive Interleague sweep on Thursday. The winning streak is the longest in the Major Leagues this season.
Entering June, the Rangers were only two games over .500. But the team has heated up with the weather, winning 17 of 21 games this month to surge into first place in the American League West ahead of the Angels.
Texas is hitting .306 this month with 25 home runs in 21 games. Its pitching has been just as impressive, with a 3.21 ERA. That number was 4.68 in May.
"One through nine [we're contributing]," outfielder Josh Hamilton said after the Rangers' win on Tuesday night. "Even the pitchers picked up some slack on the road. They did a good job at the plate and on the mound. We're a team right now. That's a good place to be."
The Pirates are on the other extreme of the spectrum, having lost 14 in their past 16 road games. Manager John Russell has tried to invigorate his offense by playing Bobby Crosby at shortstop over Ronny Cedeno.
"Bobby is doing a good job," said Russell. "He really is. He's a good leader and is swinging the bat very well. But Ronny is still a very good player. I don't want to slight Ronny Cedeno either. What Bobby has done the last few games, it's tough not to put him in there."
The veteran Crosby went 2-for-4 in Wednesday's loss, his third consecutive multihit game. Crosby is batting .385 over his past nine games.
Pirates: Karstens looks to make it two wins in row
Jeff Karstens will take the hill looking for his second consecutive victory. That win over the Indians halted Pittsburgh's 12-game losing streak, and Karstens is 2-1 following a loss this season for Pittsburgh. That just about qualifies him as the team's stopper.
Since returning to the rotation at the beginning of June, Karstens has pitched reasonably well, going 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA.
Rangers: Feldman looks to make it three wins in row
Scott Feldman has been a key part of the Rangers' run in June, winning three of his four starts to rebound from a sluggish start to the season. He is coming off back-to-back wins and consecutive quality starts in his previous two times out in Milwaukee and Houston. After a series of short outings early in the year, Feldman has now pitched at least six frames in six of his last seven starts for Texas.
The Pirates are 0-for-June on the road and have dropped their last 13 away from PNC Park dating to May 25. ... The Rangers improved to 9-2 all-time against the Pirates on Wednesday. ... Texas' 10-game winning streak is the franchise's second-longest, behind only a 14-gamer in 1991.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.