By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Detroit Tigers starter Rick Porcello has struggled in the past against the Texas Rangers, with Josh Hamilton doing some of that damage this year.
Porcello's worst career regular-season ERA against an AL opponent is the work of the high-scoring Rangers heading into the opener of a three-game set Monday night in Arlington.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 12.27 ERA in three outings against Texas (45-28), including his shortest effort over his last three seasons April 21. Porcello (4-5, 4.95 ERA) was tagged for nine runs over one-plus inning in a 10-4 defeat in the opener of a doubleheader.
Hamilton hit a three-run homer off Porcello in that contest after previously being 0 for 3 against him.
Numerous other Rangers, though, have excellent regular-season numbers against Porcello. Ian Kinsler is 4 for 5, David Murphy 5 for 7 with a homer, Michael Young 4 for 7 and Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre have each gone 3 for 8.
Porcello is 0-3 with a 12.08 ERA in three starts against the AL West this year. Opponents are hitting .319 overall against him - the worst mark in baseball among starters that have gone at least 70 innings - although Porcello felt better after giving up two runs and 10 hits over seven in Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to St. Louis.
"(It) was definitely a good step in the right direction, and I want to keep that going," he said.
That could be difficult against a Texas team that leads the majors with 386 runs. The Tigers (35-37) are visiting Arlington for the first time since losing all three games there in last year's AL championship series, including a 15-5 defeat in the clinching Game 6.
Cruz was named the series MVP after homering six times and driving in 13 runs, with four and eight at home.
Hamilton and Mike Napoli each went deep twice as Texas won three of four at Detroit from April 19-22 in the first 2012 series between these teams.
The Rangers, who have matched their best 73-game start set in 1996, have won 11 of 13 after a 4-2 victory over Colorado on Sunday.
Texas received a major contribution from its No. 9 hitter as Leonys Martin had a pair of extra-base hits for his first three RBIs in the big leagues.
Beltre went 1 for 2 with two walks after he had gone 13 for 24 over six straight multihit efforts at home. His .351 average at home is the AL's second-best behind the Angels' Mark Trumbo.
Texas rookie Justin Grimm (1-0, 4.50) gets the ball again after yielding three runs over six innings June 16 in his major league debut, an 8-3 victory over Houston.
A fifth-round pick by the Rangers in 2010, the right-hander was promoted from Double-A Frisco before that start.
Detroit captured four straight interleague series before totaling five runs in losing two of three over the weekend in Pittsburgh.
"It's simple: We gotta score some runs," manager Jim Leyland told the Tigers' official website. "There's no secret to it."
After injuring his wrist warming up in the bullpen Tuesday, Tigers closer Jose Valverde is expected to be available for this series. He hasn't pitched since allowing six runs - one earned - in the 10th inning against Colorado on June 15.
Updated June 25, 2012