ARLINGTON, Texas. - J.D. Martinez has presented manager Brad Ausmus with the best kind of dilemma as the Detroit Tigers aim for their sixth straight win Tuesday against the host Texas Rangers. Outfielder Torii Hunter is expected to return after missing seven games with a strained hamstring, forcing Ausmus to juggle four outfielders, including Martinez, Rajai Davis and Austin Jackson. Martinez will be hard to sit against the slumping Rangers after batting .412 with five homers and 15 RBIs during his 13-game hitting streak.
Texas has lost a season-high six straight games and fallen six games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 23, 2008. The Rangers, who have been held to a total of 16 runs during their losing streak, attempted to spark their struggling offense Tuesday by promoting first baseman Carlos Pena from Triple-A Round Rock. The 36-year-old Pena, who made his major league debut with the Rangers in 2001, batted .207 in 89 games last season with Houston and Kansas City.
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PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 2.33 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Joe Saunders (0-3, 4.11)
Sanchez has a 1.94 ERA over his last six starts, including seven innings of one-run ball against Kansas City on Thursday. The 30-year-old, who turned in the stellar outing without striking out a batter, has thrown at least 107 pitches in each of his last five starts. Adrian Beltre has six hits in eight at-bats against Sanchez, who is looking to improve on a 1-3 record and 6.98 ERA in four career starts against Texas.
Saunders remained winless in six starts with Texas last Friday against the Angels when he allowed seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings. The 33-year-old signed with the Rangers on March 5 after going 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA in 32 starts for Seattle last season. Ian Kinsler is 12-for-36 with four homers against Saunders, who is 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA in 10 career starts against Detroit.
1. The Rangers' starting pitchers have posted a 6.18 ERA over the last seven games.
2. Detroit is 25-11 when scoring first.
3. Texas CF Shin-Soo Choo is batting .129 (9-for-70) in 20 games this month.
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