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C.J. Wilson, Rangers Aim To Take Series From Rays

C.J. Wilson takes the mound for the Texas Rangers on Thursday night as the Rangers look to rebound from Wednesday night's loss to the Tampa Bay Rays

James Shields baffled Texas' bats on Wednesday, surrendering just four hits and a walk while striking out seven without giving up a run in eight innings en route to a 4-1 Tampa Bay win. The Rangers will look to rebound offensively against Jeff Niemann, who carries a 9-5 record, 3.46 ERA and 1.18 WHIP into Thursday's rubber match. Niemann has issued just 28 walks in 112 innings this year, so the Rangers will have to earn their baserunners against Tampa on Thursday.

Wilson gets the nod for the Rangers as he looks to earn his 14th win of the season. Wilson was torched in his most recent outing, surrendering six runs on 10 hits to the Angels - with four of those hits being home runs. Despite the awful outing, Wilson's numbers are still very good on the season as he carries a 1.23 WHIP and .239 BAA into Thursday night's game.

The Rangers, despite the loss on Wednesday, maintained their 3.5 game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Angels thanks to the Mariners coming from behind to beat the Angels on Wednesday. Los Angeles and Seattle will conclude their series tonight in Seattle as Ervin Santana takes on Charlie Furbush.

First pitch from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT.

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