Pirates-Rangers Preview

While Francisco Liriano hopes to clean up his road issues to get the Pittsburgh Pirates back on track, Martin Perez hopes his home dominance leads to another series win for the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers will go for their seventh victory in nine games one day after ending the Pirates' five-game winning streak when they close this interleague series Sunday.

Pittsburgh (28-20) came within one game of matching a season-high run with Friday's 9-1 victory, but Texas (28-21) evened the series with Saturday's 5-2 win and ended a four-game skid to the Pirates.

Yu Darvish struck out seven in five strong innings in his first start in the majors in almost 22 months, and Adrian Beltre belted a two-run homer to become the fourth third baseman with at least 1,500 RBIs. Beltre has five RBIs and five hits over the last three games.

Though Liriano takes the ball with momentum from his last two starts, he also carries in a five-game road resume that includes a 1-2 record and 7.00 ERA.

After a dismal outing against the MLB-leading Chicago Cubs in which he gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings May 13, Liriano (4-3, 4.30 ERA) regrouped at home. Between a 3-1 loss to Atlanta on May 18 and Tuesday's 12-1 win over Arizona, he surrendered just nine hits and three runs in 12 2/3 innings.

He gave up two hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings against the Diamondbacks, though he did walk five.

"The chase rates he's been able to create over the last three years with his changeup and slider are off the charts, because it looks like a strike," manager Clint Hurdle told MLB's official website. "I think this year there's been times where it just doesn't look like as much of a strike as the other times, and they're backing off."

Liriano's misstep against the Cubs was his only start of his last five allowing more than two runs.

The southpaw has won his last four starts against Texas with a 1.63 ERA but hasn't faced them since 2013. Beltre is the only current Rangers hitter with a home run off Liriano along with three doubles while batting .300 in 30 at-bats.

While Liriano has struggled on the road, Perez is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts in Arlington.

Perez (2-4, 3.13) got his first win of May with another strong start Tuesday, tossing six innings in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

The left-hander had been 0-2 for the month despite a 2.59 ERA in four starts, and he dropped that number to 2.08 as he struck out six. He stranded the bases loaded in the sixth inning while facing the middle of the Angels' order.

''It was probably as calm as we've seen him in those type of situations all year long,'' manager Jeff Banister said. ''Early on in the season, those type of situations he let speed up on him and seemed to get out of control and would lose the strike zone.''

Perez, whose run support average of 2.39 is the AL's worst, made his only career start against Pittsburgh in September 2013 when he gave up nine hits and four runs in five innings of a 5-4 loss.

Jordy Mercer (3 for 3, two doubles), Andrew McCutchen (2 for 3) and David Freese (3 for 9, double, triple) have fared well in the matchup.

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