(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers try to extend their season-high winning streak to nine games this evening when they open a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The American League West-leading Rangers are in the midst of their best run since a nine-game tear from May 20-31, 2005 and are in great position to match that streak tonight, as they face a Pirates team that enters the contest with an NL worst 25-44 record and with losses in their last 11 road games.
Texas swept in-state rival Houston over the weekend, winning Sunday's finale in extra innings. Josh Hamilton extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games with a 5-for-6 effort and drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the top of the 10th inning, lifting the Rangers to a 5-4 win.
"I have a different approach, a different mind set for situations," Hamilton said of his recent stretch. He has also hit safely in a club-record 18 consecutive interleague games dating back to June 27, 2008.
Julio Borbon went 4-for-5 with an RBI and run scored for the victors.
Chris Ray (2-0) tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up the win. Neftali Feliz pitched a perfect 10th inning to record his 19th save of the year.
Tonight the Rangers turn to 23-year-old righty Tommy Hunter, who is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. Hunter was impressive in winning his first two starts, but had to leave his last outing in Florida on Wednesday after with 2 1/3 innings with discomfort in his hip.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, snapped a 12-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over the Cleveland Indians, including a 5-3 triumph in Sunday's rubber match at PNC Park.
Pedro Alvarez's sacrifice fly scored Andrew McCutchen to put the Pirates ahead in that one, while Bobby Crosby had three hits to help Pittsburgh win consecutive games for the first time since May 31-June 1.
Another victory Tuesday would give the Pirates their first three-game winning streak since May 4-6.
Pittsburgh starter Brad Lincoln gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings and Brendan Donnelly (3-1) pitched out of a jam in the top of the eighth to get the win.
"It was a great win," Russell said. "Donnelly did a phenomenal job to get out of that mess and the guys responded."
Getting the call for the Pirates tonight will be winless right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, who is 0-5 with a 5.22 ERA. Ohlendorf's latest setback came on Thursday against Chicago, as the White Sox reached him for five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.
This will be his first-ever appearance against the Rangers.
Pittsburgh took two of three from the Rangers the last time these teams met back in 2007, but was swept in its only other visit to Arlington back in 2004.