|4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, May 7, 2019
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Attendance: 13,032
Suddenly hot-hitting Rangers make rare trip to Pittsburgh
The Texas Rangers will play in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2007 when they open a two-game series against the Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday. But the teams are hardly unfamiliar with each other.
Pittsburgh swept two games last week at Arlington, Texas, 6-4 in 11 innings on April 30 and 7-5 on Wednesday.
Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor was 0-for-9 in the series, part of a hitless funk that spanned 21 at-bats. On Sunday, however, Odor broke out of it with a two-run homer and an RBI single in Texas' 10-2 home win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I was not getting frustrated," Odor told reporters of his slump. "I have been through this before. I was just staying positive, playing the game and keep swinging. I wasn't feeling bad. I knew I was close to getting back to where I can be. I was just a little late on pitches. The coaches just said, 'Get back your timing and you will be fine."'
The Rangers won two of three against the Blue Jays, outscoring Toronto 18-8. The Pirates won two of three in their last series, an interleague matchup against Oakland, despite being outscored 21-12.
"We're going to have to find a way to score more runs," Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said. "We're going to have to figure out a way to cover those nine innings and keep our opponents' run totals down. It's going to be a challenge, but we've already faced a ton of adversity, and this club continues to fight and fight its way to .500 and now hopefully push above it."
Injuries have been one of the biggest points of adversity. Outfielders and pitchers have been particularly hard hit.
One of the outfielders who has spent time on the injured list, Starling Marte, hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 13th inning Sunday.
"More than anything, it's keeping a positive mindset within the clubhouse," Marte said through an interpreter. "The second thing is the energy, making sure that we're giving out positive energy to one another."
Pittsburgh has had to revamp its rotation with Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer hurt. So left-hander Steven Brault (0-1, 8.31 ERA) will get the start Tuesday against Texas right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-1, 3.58).
Brault has spent time with the Pirates and in Triple-A Indianapolis this season, appearing in four games for Pittsburgh -- all out of the bullpen. His last start was April 27, 2018.
Brault's most recent appearance was April 30 at Texas, when he pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three of the six batters he faced. It was the only one of his four appearances this season when he has not been scored upon. It was also the only time in his career he has faced the Rangers.
Sampson started the April 30 game and pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings with five hits, a season-high five strikeouts and no walks. He has a scoreless streak of 9 2/3 innings over his past three appearances.
Sampson has pitched both out of the bullpen and as part of the rotation. He made the most of his start against the Pirates, including a season-high 82 pitches, before Pittsburgh came back for a 6-4 win against the relievers.
"The first time through the lineup I felt like I saw what they were doing and I made a couple adjustments on where to put the pitches, and after that I got on a little roll," Sampson said.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 7, 2019