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07/06/10 6:42 PM ET

Lewis, Rangers confident ahead of rubber game

If momentum really is tomorrow's starting pitcher, the Rangers may be in good hands.

A night after his team's 12-1 smacking of the Indians, Colby Lewis will go for his fifth quality start in his last six outings on Wednesday. His outing will come against the same team he fanned a season-high-tying 10 times in an April 14 win at Progressive Field.

Now the venue is the Ballpark in Arlington, where Lewis is 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA. He received a no-decision in his last outing, a six-inning, eight-hit, three-run performance at home against the White Sox. But if his lineup performs anything like it did Tuesday night, that type of outing should be more than enough.

The Rangers, who had lost four of five before Tuesday, recorded 17 hits in the rout, despite sitting two regulars, shortstop Michael Young and third baseman Elvis Andrus.

No worries. Their replacements, Joaquin Arias and Andres Blanco, went a combined 5-for-10 with six RBIs and three runs scored to help the Rangers maintain their distance from the Angels atop the American League West.

They also helped derail Cleveland, which had won seven of its last nine games despite being last in the AL Central.

The Indians, boasting the youngest 40-man roster in the Majors, will turn to Mitch Talbot to get them back on track. The 26-year-old right-hander has lost three of his last four decisions despite surrendering just two earned runs in each of his last two losses.

"I just want these young kids to continue to improve and finish up [the first half] healthy," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Continue to give their best effort every day and don't feel sorry for themselves. Just play the game."

Indians: Choo might avoid surgery

Hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham did not discover a ligament tear after examining outfielder Shin-Soo Choo's sprained right thumb at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, meaning Choo has a good chance to avoid surgery that could have cost him two months of action. Choo injured his thumb on a diving attempt to catch Jack Cust's double Friday, and head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Choo's thumb will remain in a brace for 7-10 days before another evaluation. ... There remains a chance Matt LaPorta could return to the Tribe's lineup Wednesday after being hit in the head by Elvis Andrus' elbow Monday. LaPorta said he felt fine Tuesday, and he was being held out for cautionary reasons.

Rangers: Sticking with Smoak

General manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday that the Rangers plan to stick with struggling first baseman Justin Smoak despite the emergence of Triple-A Oklahoma City's Chris Davis, whose .349 batting average leads the Pacific Coast League. Smoak, meanwhile, was mired in an 0-for-25 slump before singling Monday. ... Matt Harrison will likely be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City this week and is expected to start Saturday against the Orioles. Omar Beltre was optioned to the Minor Leagues on Tuesday and right-hander Doug Mathis was recalled and placed in the bullpen. Harrison, who started for Oklahoma City on Monday, was 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in six starts for the Rangers earlier this season. ... Josh Hamilton extended his home hitting streak to 26 games on Tuesday. He is now four games shy of tying Al Oliver's club record.

Worth noting

Tuesday's game was delayed 16 minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning when a male fan fell roughly 30 feet from the second deck to the lower bowl at the Ballpark in Arlington after a Nelson Cruz foul ball. Conscious and able to move all of his extremities, the fan was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Four other fans were treated for minor injuries, with none being taken to the hospital.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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