Rangers-Yankees Preview

When the Texas Rangers acquired Josh Hamilton on April 27, they ended the day as the worst hitting team in the majors. Help couldn't come soon enough.

Now entering what could be their final game without the rehabbing outfielder, the Rangers feature a lineup manager Jeff Banister might be hesitant to change.

Consecutive big days at the plate have the Rangers in position for a three-game road sweep of the free-falling New York Yankees on Sunday night, as well as their top winning streak of the season with Hamilton possibly making his season debut Monday in Cleveland.

Saturday's 15-4 win was the fourth in a row for Texas (20-23), which has 25 runs and 27 hits in this series. Every starter had a hit, and after batting .210 in April, the team is at .274 in May with an MLB-best 116 runs.

"Our guys have been working on a lot of things since spring training and you can really see that it's starting to pay off," Banister told MLB's official website. "I'm really proud of the effort they have put in."

The Rangers scored their first 10 runs in the third inning with Shin-soo Choo delivering a three-run homer and an RBI single. Choo hit .096 with one homer and five RBIs in 16 April games, but he's batting .316 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 22 games this month.

Prince Fielder also had two hits in the inning and finished 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs. He's gone deep three times with seven RBIs in the series and is batting .405 on a 10-game hitting streak against New York.

The Rangers have experienced most of their success on the road, going 14-10 with wins in 10 of their last 13, and now seek their first sweep at Yankee Stadium since May 2003.

New York (22-21), which hasn't been swept at home since June 30-July 2 against Tampa Bay, has dropped nine of 10 overall with a 6.59 ERA and is in danger of its first six-game skid since May 11-16, 2011.

Those struggles could continue with Chris Capuano on the mound. The left-hander made his season debut in a 6-0 loss at Kansas City last Sunday, surrendering four runs and four hits with two walks in three innings. Capuano had been out with a quadriceps strain suffered in spring training.

"It's disappointing," Capuano said. "Physically, I feel great. It was nice to be out there competing. I hope to stay locked in for the whole game next time, not have a letdown."

At Yankee Stadium, Capuano is 0-1 with a 5.50 ERA in seven starts since being traded from Colorado on July 24. Fielder is 2 for 8 with two home runs against the veteran.

The Rangers' last defeat came with Yovani Gallardo on the mound, and that result has been all too common lately. Gallardo (3-6, 4.26 ERA) allowed four runs and 10 hits in Tuesday's 4-3 loss in Boston. The right-hander fell to 1-5 with a 4.63 ERA in his last six starts, but the record is in part due to a 2.31 run-support average in that time.

"I felt good," Gallardo said. "I have been feeling pretty good, but my command was a little off. I wasn't able to command my sinker and I hung some pitches up in the zone."

Chase Headley (7 for 19) has had the most success against Gallardo, while Mark Teixeira (0 for 6), Chris Young (2 for 16), Stephen Drew (2 for 16 with eight strikeouts) and Brian McCann (3 for 17) have all struggled.

While Gallardo's only career start against the Yankees was a loss May 9 of last year, giving up four runs in 5 2-3 innings, Capuano hasn't started against Texas since 2007.

The Rangers last scored at least 10 runs in three straight games in September 2009.


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