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Wed, May 1, 2013 - 8:05 PM ET
 

White Sox-Rangers Preview

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The Texas Rangers' struggling offense busted out in a big way in the series opener, though runs haven't been easy to come by against Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale lately.

Texas looks to stay hot as it continues its three-game series with visiting Chicago on Wednesday night.

The Rangers (17-9) totaled eight runs while splitting a four-game series with Minnesota - including a 5-0 loss Sunday - before getting homers from Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and Jeff Baker in Tuesday's 10-6 victory over the White Sox.

Cruz is hitting .364 with four homers and 14 RBIs over his last nine games.

''We were what, 11 innings (since) we (last) scored a run, then we got some big hits and they just kept coming,'' manager Ron Washington said.

Texas scored its most runs versus Chicago since a 12-11 win July 13, 2008, and did so without catcher A.J. Pierzynski, whose first game against his former team was delayed as he nursed a right oblique injury.

Pierzynski, who has an eight-game hitting streak, hopes to be back in the lineup before Thursday's series finale.

''It's killing me not to be out there," Pierzynski said. "Obviously the team I was with the last eight years, a bunch of guys, a bunch of my friends and to not be able to go out there is hard. I was looking forward to this series.''

Pierzynski at the very least can give some inside information about Sale, who won 17 games in his first season as a starter in 2012 with Pierzynski catching the majority of the time.

Aside from giving up eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to Cleveland on April 13, Sale (2-2, 4.09 ERA) has pitched to the level that led him to last season's success.

The left-hander has pitched at least seven innings in each of his other four starts, allowing a total of seven earned runs. He walked a career worst-tying four but struck out seven and gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday.

"You can't throw confetti when you're going good and you can't kick yourself in the rear when you're going bad,'' Sale said.

Sale gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-5 road win over the Rangers on July 27 in his last start against them. Cruz, whose .191 career average versus the White Sox is tied for his worst against any AL team, hit a three-run homer in that contest and is 3 for 6 lifetime against Sale.

The Rangers will counter with rookie Nick Tepesch, who had another solid outing Thursday after allowing one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win at Minnesota.

Tepesch (2-1, 2.53) and fellow 25-year-old Justin Grimm, who will start Thursday's series finale, have shined in their opportunities to be members of the Rangers' rotation, which is exactly what Washington expected.

"We had to give these guys a chance," Washington said told the team's official website. "I don't care if you're young. You have to get it done. It's that simple."

Tepesch will be making his first start against the White Sox (10-15), who have dropped three straight. Adam Dunn homered to give him three during a five-game hitting streak after going 1 for 37 with 17 strikeouts over his previous 11 contests.

Chicago's .230 average is the worst in the AL.

Tagged: White Sox, Rangers, A.J. Pierzynski, Nelson Cruz, Chris Sale

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