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Rangers look to again make history with Giants

Rangers look to again make history with Giants

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and the Giants made Major League history on June 12, 1997.

They played at the Ballpark in Arlington. Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Willie Mays threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Darren Oliver pitched for the Rangers against Mark Gardner for the Giants.

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The Giants won, 4-3. It was the first time an American League team played a National League team during the regular season. It was MLB's first Interleague game.

Now the two teams will play again when the World Series opens up in San Francisco on Wednesday night. Cliff Lee will pitch for the Rangers in Game 1 with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT at AT&T Park.

The Giants are in the World Series for the first time since 2002. The Rangers are in the World Series for the first time ever. The Rangers are also looking for their first victory in San Francisco since 1998, having lost 11 straight at Candlestick Park and AT&T Park.

"They're a very good club, a very good organization," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said of the Giants. "They've drafted well, have a deep staff. Should be a good series."

The Rangers are 5-3 against the Giants in Texas but 2-12 against them in San Francisco. Since the beginning of the 2000 season, the Giants have won 11 of 12 against the Rangers.

None of those games were started by Lee, who was acquired by the Rangers in July. He has made three starts in his career against the Giants and is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA. He will be followed to the mound by C.J. Wilson, who has never faced the Giants, and Colby Lewis, who has all of one scoreless inning in in his career against them.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum has never faced the Rangers. Matt Cain pitched against them last season at AT&T Park and allowed just one run in eight innings. Derek Holland pitched for the Rangers and allowed one run in seven innings. The Giants won, 2-1, in 11 innings. Jonathan Sanchez pitched two-thirds of an inning to get a win in his only appearance against the Rangers back in 2006.

There will be no designated hitter used at AT&T for Game 1 and Game 2. Lee, Wilson, Lewis and Tommy Hunter have been taking batting practice lately in preparation for hitting during the World Series.

But the bigger question is how much Vladimir Guerrero will play in the outfield. He started six of nine games in the outfield during Interleague Play on June 11-20, but has played just five games in the outfield since then and just once since back-to-back games in Kansas City on Aug. 30-31.

The Rangers will also have an opportunity to adjust their roster for the World Series. They went with seven relievers for the ALCS, switching infielder Esteban German and right-handed reliever Dustin Nippert for left-handers Clay Rapada and Michael Kirkman. Nippert, right-handers Mark Lowe and Scott Feldman and left-hander Matt Harrison have continued to throw regularly on the side during the postseason in case they are needed.

German, first baseman Chris Davis and catcher Taylor Teagarden have also been taking batting practice regularly. Davis, a left-handed hitter, could get consideration over Jorge Cantu for the World Series.

Now that Mitch Moreland is playing regularly at first base, the Rangers may prefer Davis off the bench as a pinch-hitter rather than Cantu, a right-handed hitter. Cantu is 0-for-7 in two playoff games to this point.

The Rangers have just two players who have played in the World Series. Lee pitched for the Phillies against the Yankees last season and Bengie Molina was the Angels catcher when they beat the Giants in 2002.

Molina started the season with the Giants before being traded to the Rangers at the beginning of July for pitchers Chris Ray and Michael Main. Ray was 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA in 28 appearances for the Giants, but was not on the NLCS roster and hasn't pitched in the playoffs. He has been throwing on the side if needed.

The Rangers are working out at the Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday. The tentative plan is to work out at AT&T Park on Monday. They will definitely work out there on Tuesday in preparation for their first World Series.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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