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Texas Looks To Sweep Florida

(Sports Network) - Josh Hamilton never got a chance to shine under the Florida sun as a member of the Rays. The Rangers slugger has made up for lost time in this series.

Hamilton will try to extend his 12-game hitting streak this evening when Texas goes for a three-game sweep of the hosting Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium.

The Rangers have won the first two games of his set to run their winning streak to four games, one shy of their season-best five-game run from May 17-21. Hamilton is 6-for-8 in the series and is batting .467 (21-for-45) with seven homers and 19 RBI over his hitting streak.

The reigning American League Player of the Week, an honor he shared with teammate Colby Lewis, is hitting .458 in June, upping his season average from .281 to .323.

Hamilton hit a solo homer in last night's 6-3 win, while Michael Young had two hits to become Texas' all-time franchise leader in hits. Young matched former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez with a seventh-inning double, then secured career hit 1,748 in the ninth with a two-out, two-run single.

"I knew it would mean a lot, but now that it's finished, looking back at my career in Texas and the players I've passed, it means a lot," Young said. "I have played my whole career in one uniform, and I hope I can finish that."

Julio Borbon also homered to help Texas, which is two games up on the Angels for first place in the AL West, overcome the loss of starter Tommy Hunter, who exited after 2 1/3 innings because of a strained right hip flexor.

The Rangers are already down a starter after Rich Harden was placed on the 15- day disabled list on Saturday due to a strained left glute muscle. Right- hander Dustin Nippert will start in his place tonight after going 2-3 with a 4.60 earned run average in 22 games of relief this year. He gets the call over lefty Matt Harrison, who pitched in relief last night.

"We feel like the right-hander has a better chance," manager Ron Washington told Texas' website. "Nippert has a good breaking ball and changeup. He can equalize that."

Nippert is 6-8 with a 5.72 ERA in 21 career starts, 10 of those coming last year. The 29-year-old has thrown 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief against the Marlins in his career, spanning two outings.

Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan both drove in a run last night for the Marlins, who have lost three of four and seven of their last 10.

"That's what we need -- a streak," Ramirez said. "We need to win like 10 or something -- a streak. The consistency, it hasn't happened yet."

Anibal Sanchez gave up three runs -- one earned -- on eight hits in a six- inning start to take the loss.

Ricky Nolasco will be trying to rebound from his shortest outing of the season tonight in his start for the Marlins.

Nolasco lasted just 2 1/3 innings versus the Rays on Saturday, allowing five runs on nine hits. Three of those hits were solo homers and led to the right- hander falling to 5-5 on the season with a 5.05 ERA.

"They're just not missing them. There's not much I can do about it," Nolasco told the Marlins' website. "Those balls are right over the middle of the plate, and good hitters are putting good swings on them. Not much I can do there ... just falling behind in some of those counts, and that doesn't help."

The 27-year-old has never faced the Rangers and is 4-4 with a 5.56 ERA in 10 career interleague starts.

The Marlins won two of three over the Rangers when the teams last met in Florida from June 10-12, 2005, but Texas swept a three-game set the previous year in Florida.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.