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Rangers walk off on homers in three straight games

Two second-place clubs trying for a second-half postseason push will clash in Thursday's Interleague makeup game between the D-backs and the Rangers.

After going 32 days without picking up a game on the division-leading A's, the Rangers' three-game sweep of the Angels has them only four games behind Oakland. The D-backs, who ended a three-game skid with a 7-0 victory over the Rays on Wednesday night, are in a similar position behind the red-hot Dodgers in the NL West.

D-backs righty Zeke Spruill will make his first big league start at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in the makeup of a May 29 game. Spruill has already proved he has big league stuff, allowing just one run in four relief appearances (4 1/3 innings) for Arizona.

Spruill, 23, also carried a 3.24 ERA in 12 starts with Triple-A Reno, highlighted by the eight scoreless innings he tossed in his last Minor League start Saturday.

"Spruill is probably coming off his best outing on Saturday, when he probably threw one of the best games ever in the history of Reno Ballpark," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "He's kind of got the hot hand right now; he's got a taste of what it's like up here."

Arizona will try to keep its offense rolling against one of the best arms in the big leagues in Yu Darvish, who fanned 11 and allowed just one run over six innings in his last start but still picked up the loss, as the Rangers could not produce a run and fell to the Indians, 1-0.

That run is the only one given up by the Rangers' ace in two starts back from the disabled list, and his 172 strikeouts lead the Majors.

The Rangers took each game from the Angels with improbable flair, Adrian Beltre the hero Wednesday night as Texas won its third straight game on a walk-off homer. It was just their second series victory of the month, but Rangers manager Ron Washington finally saw the offense he envisioned come to life against Los Angeles.

"Right now we're getting our legs back," Washington said. "Two weeks ago our legs didn't look as fast. Now they are. That's what we've been looking forward to, is getting our legs back. That's our game. When we play it, it looks good."

D-backs: Kennedy traded to Padres
The D-backs sent starting pitcher Ian Kennedy to the Padres on Wednesday in exchange for reliever Joe Thatcher, Minor League righty Matt Stites and a 2014 Competitive Balance Round B Draft pick.

A Cy Young finalist in 2011, Kennedy struggled with a 5.23 ERA and 3-8 record in 21 starts this year. The surprising move came just before the end of the non-waiver Trade Deadline and reunited him with former D-backs and current Padres general manager Josh Byrnes.

In search of a left-handed reliever, Arizona grabbed Thatcher, who boasts a 2.10 ERA in 50 appearances. Thatcher has allowed just one run in 12 games (eight innings) this month.

Stites projects as a bullpen arm and has a 2.08 ERA and 14 saves over 52 innings with Double-A San Antonio.

Rangers: After drought, walk-offs pour in
Before pounding three straight walk-off homers in a sweep of the Angels, the Rangers had gone more than a year without a game-ending homer. Now, they're just two games shy of the all-time record of five consecutive walk-offs -- held, coincidentally, by the D-backs, who did it to the Expos on May 10-12, 1999.

Texas' walk-off trifecta marked the first time in franchise history the Rangers won three consecutive games with walk-off homers, and it had been more than 30 years since they won back-to-back games on walk-off home runs.

Though the Rangers' surging offense produced just two runs Wednesday night, Texas logged season highs in hits, runs and walks in Tuesday's 14-11, 10-inning shootout with the Angels.

Worth noting
• Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has a hit in eight of his last nine Interleague games. He's 16-for-38 over that span and a career .333 hitter in games against the American League.

• Texas has dropped two of three against Arizona this year, losing both games of a doubleheader in Phoenix before picking up a win in Arlington.

• The May 29 date between the Rangers and D-backs was postponed due to field conditions, and Thursday's game will be just the second one-game makeup date in the 19-year history of Rangers Ballpark.

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