Struggling to regain their momentum, the Texas Rangers got just the pitching performance they needed with three lineup regulars missing.
While Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus could remain out, Josh Hamilton will likely return to the starting lineup and try to jump-start the Rangers offense Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.Texas (61-47) still leads the AL West but has gone 5-6 since a 12-game win streak. The Rangers are the second-highest scoring team in baseball but have been held to 11 runs over the last four games.They had the added task of playing with a short-handed lineup Saturday, but Derek Holland recorded his fourth shutout of the season and third this month.Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli homered to provide all of the scoring in that 3-0 win while Cruz (left quad) and Andrus (right knee) sat out. Hamilton was scheduled to have the day off but played in left field during the bottom of the ninth."(Hamilton) didn't get an All-Star break and he has been going since (then)," manager Ron Washington told the team's website. "I felt like he needed a day."To save his ailing leg from Toronto's turf, Cruz isn't expected to return until Tuesday's series opener in Detroit. The right fielder, 10 for 26 with three homers and 12 RBIs in eight games versus the Blue Jays in 2011, missed most of May with a strained right quad.While Cruz is batting .326 with 26 RBIs this month, Andrus is 8 for 22 in his past five games but remains day-to-day. Hamilton is batting .379 over the last eight games.The reigning AL MVP now looks to provide some support for C.J. Wilson (10-4, 3.16 ERA), who looks to bounce back from his worst start of the season.The left-hander gave up six runs over four-plus innings and walked four but did not get a decision in Tuesday's 9-8 loss to Minnesota."As a starting pitcher, you're going to cough up an egg," Wilson told the team's website.His only start versus Toronto since his 2005 rookie season came April 8, 2010, when he struck out nine in seven scoreless innings of a 3-1 loss. He has a 2.91 ERA in 12 games against the Blue Jays (54-53).After having their three-game win streak snapped, Toronto will try to bounce back behind Brandon Morrow (7-5, 4.71), who also hopes to rebound from a poor effort.The right-hander gave up seven runs over 3 1/3 innings during a 12-4 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday after going 5-0 with a 2.85 ERA over his previous seven outings."I've been on a good roll and I'm throwing the ball well. So I'm not going to let this one get me down," he told the team's website.Morrow will try to earn his third straight win over the Rangers. The right-hander gave up two runs over six innings and struck out six in Arlington on April 28 but did not get a decision in a 5-2 victory.A matchup with Morrow could be just what the struggling Ian Kinsler needs. The second baseman, 1 for 22 in his last five games, is 6 for 16 with three doubles in his career against the right-hander.Toronto's Colby Rasmus is 0 for 12 with five strikeouts since being acquired from St. Louis on Wednesday.Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar will become the first Blue Jays player to have his jersey retired in a pregame ceremony.