Sox Take On Rangers In Texas, Try To Gain On Division Leaders

(Sports Network) - Two extra days' rest will have more of an impact on Texas starter Colby Lewis than originally thought. That's because Lewis may be teaming up with a new catcher this evening, when Bengie Molina could make his Rangers debut in the opener of a three-game series versus the Chicago White Sox in Arlington.

Molina was traded from San Francisco to Texas on Thursday for reliever Chris Ray and minor league pitcher Michael Main. Molina will add significant experience to Texas' pitching staff and could help the offense even though he is batting just .257 this year in 61 games with three homers and 17 RBI.

He is certainly an upgrade over Texas' current catching duo of Matt Treanor and Max Ramirez, who are hitting a combined .212 this season.

"[Molina] brings a veteran presence. He's a guy that's been back there and caught quality pitching in some big games," general manager Jon Daniels said on the Rangers' website. "First things first, this guy is a winner. He takes a lot of pride in his game calling and working with the staff and understanding the game plan."

Lewis should be the first Rangers hurler to benefit from Molina's presence. The right-hander, who had his originally scheduled start pushed back two days for more rest, had allowed just four runs over a three-start win streak before yielding that many runs in Friday's loss to the Astros.

That setback dropped Lewis to 7-5 on the season and halted Texas' 11-game winning streak. The 30-year-old is also just 1-3 with an 8.31 ERA in six games (four starts) lifetime versus the White Sox, who beat him on June 3 after Lewis allowed four runs over 6 1/3 innings.

White Sox starter Freddy Garcia earned the win in that game for Chicago after yielding three runs -- two earned -- over seven innings, improving to 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 20 lifetime starts versus the Rangers.

That victory was part of a string of five consecutive winning starts for Garcia, but that run ended on Saturday due to a no-decision versus the Cubs. The 33-year-old righty gave up just two runs on eight hits over seven innings and is 8-3 on the season with a 4.66 ERA.

Garcia hopes that the Rangers' Josh Hamilton has cooled off after his 23-game hitting streak ended with Thursday's 0-for-3 performance in a 2-1 loss to the Angels.

Hamilton led all major league players with a .454 batting average and 31 RBI in June, but is just 1-for-7 in his career against Garcia.

Texas, which has split six contests since its 11-game win streak, begins a 10- game homestand tonight and has won eight of its last nine at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The White Sox have also struggled since winning 11 in a row, losing three of their last four since the run of victories. That includes Wednesday's 7-6 loss to the Royals in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Alex Rios had two RBI, Brent Lillibridge drove in three runs with a triple and Omar Vizquel's fourth-inning triple gave him 2,675 career hits, passing Luis Aparicio for second on the all-time shortstop hits list.

Jake Peavy allowed three runs in his six-inning start as the White Sox trail the Twins by two games for the top spot in the AL Central.

"It was a hard-fought game," Peavy said. "We just came out on the wrong end."

The Rangers have won four of six versus the White Sox this year, taking two of three at home on April 27-29.

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