(Sports Network) - Cliff Lee only has one victory since joining the Rangers by way of a trade, but the club is expecting many more down the road.
Lee will try to build off that win this evening when Texas begins a three-game series versus the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Lee went 0-1 over his first two starts since being acquired from Seattle despite going nine innings in each of outing. He gave up eight runs in that span while only getting three runs of support, but the Rangers matched that total on Thursday versus the Angels to get Lee a 3-2 win.
The 31-year-old left-hander scattered two runs and five hits over 8 1/3 innings, giving him a 3.42 earned run average in three starts with Texas and a 9-4 mark with a 2.56 ERA in 16 total 2010 starts.
"Any time you get that deep into the game, and give the team a chance, you have to feel good about it," said Lee.
Lee also improved to 5-4 with a 6.60 ERA in nine career starts at Rangers Ballpark and is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA lifetime versus the Athletics.
Lee gave the Rangers a victory in the opener of a key four-game set with the Angels last week. The series went Texas' way as Sunday's 6-4 win allowed them to take three out of four and leave the series with a seven-game lead over Los Angeles in the American League West standings.
Josh Hamilton had three hits and drove in three runs on Sunday, while Nelson Cruz and Michael Young each had two hits and an RBI. Cruz extended his hitting streak to 14 games, hitting .414 (24-for-58) in that timeframe with a pair of homers and 14 RBI.
"I was happy with our effort. We came out and played hard all four nights," Young said. "That's what we've been doing real well."
Tommy Hunter improved to 8-0 on the season after holding Los Angeles to three runs on three hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Texas will begin a nine-game road trip on Friday versus the Angels, but first they must deal with an Oakland club that has won nine of its last 11 games. The Athletics took two of three versus the White Sox over the weekend, winning Sunday's finale, 6-4.
In his second start since a disabled list stint due to an elbow injury, Dallas Braden gave up three runs over 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time in 10 starts (0-5) since his perfect game back on May 9.
"A lot of things seem to get lost in that stretch ... People forget I threw a complete game after [my perfect game]. People forget about that because the win-loss [record] is so glaring," Braden said.
Kurt Suzuki, who signed a four-year contract extension on Friday, drove in three runs for Oakland and is batting .412 (14-for-34) over his last nine games with a homer and six RBI.
The A's will look to keep rolling tonight behind Gio Gonzalez, who has won back-to-back starts and is 3-1 over his last four outings.
After throwing seven innings of one-run ball versus the Royals on July 16, the 24-year-old southpaw was charged with four runs, seven hits and two walks over six frames of a 6-4 triumph over Boston on Wednesday.
Gonzalez is 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA this year and 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four career games versus the Rangers, two of those starts. That loss came in Texas on May 12, as he gave up four runs on nine hits over four innings.
These two clubs have split six meetings so far this year, with the Rangers taking two of three at home from May 11-13.
3 game series vs Rangers @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010, 5:05 PM PDT
Gio Gonzalez vs Cliff Lee
Partly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing in from center field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 95.
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