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Hamilton, Young atop AL in hitting

The Sports Xchange

--CF Josh Hamilton and DH-INF Michael Young are making a mockery of the idea of "plate discipline." Hamilton (60.3 percent) and Young (47.1 percent) rank first and second in the AL in percentage of times they swing at the first pitch. They also began Friday ranked first and second in the AL in hitting.

--OF Craig Gentry had the Rangers' first bunt hit of the season Thursday despite Detroit 3B Miguel Cabrera playing in. The Rangers hope Gentry, who has had trouble offensively in the past, can use the bunt as a weapon. "He's going to have to trust his ability to do it," manager Ron Washington said. "(Thursday) he trusted his ability to do it, and he found out that the third baseman can be in, and he can still drop a bunt."

--While RHP Yu Darvish is still learning the nuances of pitching in the majors, he is also learning there are benefits. Namely -- run support. The Rangers have scored 27 runs in his three starts, an average of nine runs per game. Only once last year with Hokaiddo of the Japanese Pacific League did he get as many as eight runs of support.

--DH Michael Young carries a seven-game hitting streak into Saturday's double-header. It is the Rangers' longest streak of the young season. Young is hitting 16-for-30 (.533) during the hitting streak with a pair of home runs and 10 RBIs.

--LHP Michael Kirkman began spring training as the odds-on favorite to win the role of left-handed reliever in the Rangers bullpen, but command issues cost him a shot at the majors. Now, in an attempt to jump-start his season, Kirkman has been moved into the rotation at Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers still envision him moving back to the bullpen, but they feel longer stints and regularly scheduled side sessions may help him rediscover his delivery.

9 -- Consecutive regular-season road wins for the Rangers, dating back to the last series of the 2011 season. It ties the club's best-ever road game streak. A win in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader will set a franchise record at 10 consecutive road wins. The Rangers previously won nine straight on the road from July 22-Aug. 3, 1977.

"Any time the offense scores like that, it does make me relax a little on the mound. I know if I battle and keep the team close, I know the offense is going to answer." -- RHP Yu Darvish, on the impressive run support he has received in his first three starts of the season.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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