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09/07/10 11:06 PM ET

Rangers look to end woes against AL East

It's a good thing the Rangers built themselves a sizable lead in the American League West. Or else, this Texas-sized slump they're in could have been the beginning of an epic collapse.

Luckily for the Rangers, they still have a seven-game lead over Oakland. Tuesday's 8-5 loss marked Texas' eighth loss in its last 10 games and ninth in the last 12. It was also the Rangers' seventh straight against the Blue Jays, as their season-long woes against the American League East continued.

The Rangers are now 14-25 against the AL East and, as seen in the past two days, it isn't just the Yankees and Rays who are giving them fits. Texas is a combined 5-12 against fourth-place Toronto and fifth-place Baltimore.

"Well, in the case of Toronto, we have to keep them in the ballpark," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "You don't keep them in the ballpark, you don't have a chance."

The Blue Jays have proved Washington correct, launching seven combined homers in the series' first two games.

On Wednesday, lefty Derek Holland (2-3, 4.93 ERA) will try to limit Toronto's long balls. He will be opposed by left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (1-3, 6.62), who will be throwing on three days' rest for the first time in his career.

Rzepczynski allowed five runs in four innings in his no-decision Saturday against the Yankees and said he's ready for the challenge.

"I feel good, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there," he said. "For me, it's changing the routine, backing off some stuff, backing off the lifting a little bit. And my bullpen, I just threw less than normal.

"By the fourth day, you usually feel pretty good anyway. It's just a good opportunity to get out there one day earlier."

Rangers: Andrus will miss rest of series
If the Rangers are going to rebound the next two days and salvage a four-game split, they will have to do it without Elvis Andrus. Washington said the shortstop will not return to the lineup until after the club's series in Toronto.

Andrus, who strained his right hamstring Saturday, ran sprints at Rogers Centre on Tuesday, but Washington said he'd like to keep his shortstop off Toronto's turf.

"He went down and hit today," Washington said. "I certainly don't want him out there messing around, taking ground balls and stuff right now, because it doesn't take much on that turf for it to tighten up, and we need to get Elvis right."

Blue Jays: Lewis is ready to return
Toronto manager Cito Gaston said before Tuesday's win that Fred Lewis was available to play, but Gaston opted to keep Lewis out of the lineup for another day. It was the fourth straight game Lewis has missed due to a hyperextended right elbow, which he injured on Sept. 1.

After being available only to pinch-run, Lewis now can hit whenever the skipper decides to put him back in the lineup.

"He's ready to go. He said he's OK right now," Gaston said. "He can play any time I put him back in the lineup."

Lewis is batting .262 with eight homers and 36 RBIs.

Worth noting
Tuesday's victory was Gaston's 900th of his career. Some sources, however, credit him with 881 victories, subtracting the 19 wins the Blue Jays collected in 1991 when he missed 33 games while having back surgery. Bench coach Gene Tenace led the team, but Gaston was still officially the manager.

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