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Rangers, Feldman Look To Sweep Pirates

(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers didn't skip a beat without their red-hot slugger Josh Hamilton in the lineup on Wednesday. Tonight Hamilton will try to extend his career-best hitting streak, while the Rangers go after their 11th straight win and a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Hamilton has hit safely in his last 17 games, but sat out the middle test of this three-game set after playing the last 31 games. Texas didn't even notice he was gone, as Michael Young had three hits and four RBI, helping the Rangers set a season-high in runs in the 13-3 rout.

"Everyone is playing their part. That's what winning lineups do," Young said. "They pick each other up, they understand what their role is in any given situation and they execute it."

Nelson Cruz was 3-for-4 and knocked in three while Ian Kinsler drove in two with a pair of hits and scored two runs for the Rangers, who are in the midst of their longest winning streak since ripping off a team-record 14 wins in a row run from May 12-27, 1991.

The American League West leaders are also 17-4 in June. A big reason for the surge has been Hamilton, who is hitting .485 with eight homers and 24 RBI during his streak.

Dustin Nippert got plenty of support but pitched just three innings in the start. He struck out seven, walked four and gave up two runs on four hits while reaching 82 pitches.

Alexi Ogando (3-0) pitched the next three innings for his third win in as many career appearances. Matt Harrison came on to work the final three frames for his first career save.

Paul Maholm (4-6) was slammed for seven hits and seven runs in failing to record an out in the second inning before getting the early hook. Dana Eveland wasn't much better, surrendering seven hits and six runs in 2 2/3 frames of relief.

"I (stunk). There's no better way to say it," Maholm said. "It wasn't a good day, but I also understand that it's part of the game, and I'm going to be ready in five days."

Delwyn Young, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez drove in the runs for Pittsburgh, which lost for the 14th time in the last 16 contests and fell for the 13th straight time on the road.

Pittsburgh hasn't dropped 14 straight away from home since a 19-game slide July 23-Aug. 30, 1985.

Hoping to add to the Bucs' misery tonight will be righty Scott Feldman, who is 5-6 with a 5.16 ERA. Feldman won his second straight start on Friday in Houston, holding the Astros to three runs and nine hits in six innings. He also struck out six and walked a batter in the win.

This will be Feldman's first-ever start against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will hand the ball to Jeff Karstens, who will try to string back-to-back wins together tonight. Karstens got the best of the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, as he allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 frames to improve to 2-2 to go along with a 4.72 ERA.

Karstens has never faced the Rangers.

Pittsburgh took two of three from the Rangers the last time these teams met back in 2007, but was also swept in 2004 in its only other visit to Arlington.

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