Kinsler, Tigers go for sixth straight victory Wednesday night
By KEVIN CHROUSTAP
Ian Kinsler didn't get his wish of the Texas Rangers going 0-162, but he's so far done his part in games he has some control over.
The second baseman homered Tuesday as his Detroit Tigers won in his return to Texas, and he'll try to keep at it Wednesday night and help the AL Central leaders to a sixth straight victory.
Kinsler, who wished a winless season upon the team that traded him in the offseason for now-injuried Prince Fielder, homered in his first at-bat back in Texas and finished the 8-2 win 2 for 5 with three RBIs. He's batting .395 with three home runs, four doubles and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games and is 10 for 22 this season against Texas.
"I mean, it was my return home, and get lucky enough to square one up like that and have it go over the fence, it was a good feeling," said Kinsler, who waved to the home dugout while rounding the bases. "I was just having fun."
Rajai Davis went 3 for 5 and is 9 for 18 in four games against Texas this season while J.D. Martinez added a home run and is batting .404 with five homers and 15 RBIs on a career-best 13-game hitting streak.
The Tigers (41-32) have scored 29 runs and are batting .323 in the first four games of a nine-game road trip.
Even if the offense doesn't keep it up, Detroit will have Anibal Sanchez to lean on. Sanchez (4-2, 2.33 ERA) last lost on April 21. In eight starts since, he's 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA and .173 opponent batting average.
One of those victories came May 23 against Texas, in which he allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. He had gone 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA in his first three starts versus the Rangers. Adrian Beltre is 6 for 8 against him.
The right-hander surrendered a run and five hits in seven innings of Thursday's 2-1 victory over Kansas City. He didn't strike anyone out, and his strikeouts per nine innings is down to 7.62 this season after reaching a career-high 9.99 in his first full season in Detroit.
"He has the ability to make batters miss the barrel - to get a lot of balls off the end or off the hands," manager Brad Ausmus told MLB's official website.
Joe Saunders (0-3, 4.11) is coming off possibly his worst effort in a Texas uniform. The left-hander allowed seven runs - four earned - and 10 hits while walking three in 4 2-3 innings of Friday's 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Opponents are batting .368 against Saunders in four June starts.
He hasn't had much success against Detroit, going 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA in 10 career starts. Kinsler is 12 for 36 with four home runs and three doubles against him while Miguel Cabrera is 6 for 17 and Torii Hunter is 4 for 9, though he's been sidelined seven games with a strained hamstring.
The Rangers (35-41) are six games below .500 for the first time since September 2008 and have lost a season-high six straight, scoring 11 runs in the last five.
"We just can't put anything together," manager Ron Washington said.
Carlos Pena was called up from Triple-A Round Rock Tuesday and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts as Texas auditions him as a replacement for Fielder and Mitch Moreland.
Beltre went 4 for 4 and is batting .387 in his last 19 games. His on-base percentage is actually lower (.385) in that time because he's drawn just one walk and hit two sacrifice flies.