Luis Sardinas sparks Rangers’ sweep

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
7:09
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Luis Sardinas reflects on the biggest moments of his rookie season with the Texas Rangers, Sunday’s 10-3 win over the Atlanta Braves is sure to be high on the list.

The 21-year-old infielder drove in four runs with three hits, two of them doubles, to lift Texas to its first three-game sweep since April.

“It was a very good day for me,’’ the Venezuelan said through an interpreter. “It was fun to score that many runs and to have men on base and bring them in. It’s nice to help the team win.’’

[+] EnlargeLuis Sardinas
AP Photo/Jim CowsertRangers second baseman Luis Sardinas enjoyed a three-hit, four-RBI afternoon Sunday and earned congratulations from interim manager Tim Bogar.
Sardinas, a switch-hitter batting from the right side against Braves left-handed starter Mike Minor, scored the game’s initial run from first on a Michael Choice double in the second inning. He doubled home Adam Rosales for a 2-0 Rangers lead in the fourth. After an RBI single in the Rangers’ six-run fifth, Sardinas capped his day with a two-run double in the sixth.

“It’s nice to see him swing the bat well,’’ said Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar. “Right-handed, he seems stronger.’’

Sardinas agreed because he is a natural righty and has more confidence from that side.

With a three-hit afternoon, Sardinas raised his batting average 18 points to .271. The start was his seventh in nine games since a Sept. 2 recall from Triple-A Round Rock. He’s on his third stint with the big club.

In Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Braves, Sardinas started a three-run outburst with a single, one of only three hits by Texas on the day.

At Round Rock and Double-A Frisco, Sardinas hit .281 with 37 RBIs and one home run in 81 games.

This season for Rangers, Sardinas has 15 starts at second, six at shortstop, three at third and one as designated hitter.

Key contributor: Adrian Beltre was hitless in three at-bats Sunday but made an impact by corralling two foul popups to help winning pitcher Colby Lewis.

Bogar talked about Beltre’s effort for getting to the first popup in front of the Braves dugout and composure for reaching into the stands for the second on a ball that appeared to be tipped by a fan.

Lewis was aware of how important the plays were, coming when the game was close with runners on base.

“I was hoping the one in the stands wouldn’t be overruled, because that was a big out at that time,’’ Lewis said.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Braves 3

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
5:37
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Wily 35-year-old veteran Colby Lewis did not need many runs, but the Rangers provided them anyway in a 10-3 Texas victory that earned a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves Sunday afternoon before 25,449 at Globe Life Park.

Lewis continued to make a case for a spot in the 2015 rotation by limiting the playoff-contending Braves to five hits and one run over seven innings. The only damage was a solo home run by Ryan Doumit in the seventh. By that time, the Rangers had already piled up 10 runs.

The series sweep for the Rangers was only their second of the season. The first came in April at Oakland. The Rangers have won three straight for the first time since mid-June.

With two out and the bases empty in the fifth, the Rangers proceeded to put six runs on the board. Seven straight reached base on six hits and a walk. Texas finished with 18 hits.

A few observations:

RBI in low places: Michael Choice, batting ninth in the order, gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second inning with an RBI triple and doubled in two more in the fifth when the lead went to 6-0. Luis Sardinas, in the eighth spot, doubled in a fourth-inning run for a 2-0 lead, then greeted reliever David Hale with the RBI single that made it 4-0 in the fifth and doubled in two more for a 10-0 lead in the sixth.

Sardinas finished with three hits and four RBIs. Choice had two hits and three RBIs before leaving the game in the fifth with a strained left hamstring injury suffered while legging out the double. He is scheduled for an MRI on Monday.

Rally starter: Adam Rosales reached base in the second and fourth to set up the first two Texas runs. Then he drew his second walk of the game in the middle of the fifth-inning uprising. He finished with two hits and reached base four times.

Give me a break: A sign that the Rangers' luck might be turning: The barrel end of Robinson Chirinos' bat traveled all the way to shortstop, but he was still able to muscle an RBI single to begin the fifth-inning explosion.

Good idea: Leonys Martin caught the Braves unaware with a drag bunt for a hit with two out in the second inning and Choice at third. Only problem, Choice seemed to be caught unaware as well, holding the bag. The Rangers failed to add a second run when Martin was picked off first a moment later.

Challenging situation:
Tim Bogar dropped to 0-for-4 on manager’s challenges since taking over in the interim role on Sept. 5. Bogar asked for a review of first base umpire Adrian Johnson’s out call on a pickoff of Martin for the third out of the second inning. After a two-minute review, the call stood. Overall this season the Rangers have won 18 of 40 challenges.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez won a challenge in the fourth inning. Luis Sardinas was ruled out at third on a review after being called safe by third base umpire Bill Miller.

Defensive gems:
Adrian Beltre made a basket catch of a Ryan Doumit foul ball in front of the Braves dugout for a key out in the second inning when the Braves had a runner at third with one out. Three innings later, Beltre made a better play, leaning into the stands to glove a foul fly off the bat of Emilio Bonifacio. The catch was made more difficult by the ball hitting the fingertips of a fan in a Braves shirt before settling into Beltre’s glove.

Up next: After the final off-day of the season on Monday, the Rangers begin their final road trip with the first stop at 9:05 Tuesday in Oakland. Nick Tepesch (4-10, 4.47 ERA) will be on the mound for Texas against a still undetermined starter for the A’s on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rangers sweep Braves with 10-3 win

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
5:18
PM CT
video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Colby Lewis pitched seven innings for his 10th victory, Luis Sardinas doubled his career total with four RBIs and the Texas Rangers completed their first series sweep in nearly five months with a 10-3 win Sunday over the playoff-chasing Atlanta Braves.

After being swept in three games to complete a 2-7 trip, the Braves were four games behind Pittsburgh for the National League's second wild card with 13 games left in the regular season. The good news is they headed back to Atlanta for a 10-game homestand.

Michael Choice put the Rangers ahead to stay with an RBI triple in the second, and then added a two-run double in the fifth on a play when he got hurt running the bases and left the game.


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Sweep of Braves would be confidence-builder

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
1:54
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- With a win in Sunday's series finale with the Atlanta Braves at Globe Life Park, the Texas Rangers would accomplish their first series sweep since the opening month of the season in Oakland.

It remains the Rangers' only 2014 series sweep.

For interim manager Tim Bogar, today’s contest is not just another game.

“We haven’t had a lot to hang our hats on,’’ Bogar said in his pregame media conference. “I think it would give us confidence going into Oakland. For me, it is the first stepping stone, the first building block. It would say a lot if we could do it playing the Braves, a good team.’’

Texas has not put three wins together since mid-June.

Beyond wins and losses, Bogar is focused on the quality of baseball the team plays -- doing things correctly.

Even though the Rangers were swept in three games by the Angels earlier in the week, Bogar was impressed with the approach of his players going against what he called the best team in baseball.

“The bullpen has been fantastic. The starting pitching has been really good. We’ve just got to put it all together.’’

After today, the Rangers have 13 games remaining. They need seven more wins to avoid a 100-loss season.

Said Bogar: “I think we can finish strong.’’

Worth a second look: The performance of Lisalverto Bonilla on Saturday could earn the 24-year-old a second major league start. The Rangers have not penciled in a starter yet for the Friday series opener at the Angels.

Bonilla picked up the win by limiting the Braves to four hits and two runs in six innings.

“He faced a pretty good lineup with the Braves,’’ Bogar said. “Against the Angels, it would be nice to see how he would do.’’

Scott Baker also figures into the mix. “The thing about Baker, I respect the way he has gone about his business this year, doing everything asked of him,’’ Bogar said.

Baker, 32, was scratched for the start that ultimately went to Bonilla because of right triceps tendinitis.

“He’s still sore and still dealing with it,’’ said Bogar.

Notes: Outfielder Jake Smolinski, sidelined since July 22 with a fracture in his left foot, was scheduled to run the bases on Sunday. Bogar said if Smolinski passes that test, he could be available for Tuesday’s series opener at Oakland.

The Rangers have stacked their liineup with eight right-handed hitters against Braves lefty starter Mike Minor. Leadoff man Leonys Martin is the only Rangers starter who will hit from the left side.

Extra bases: Bullpen getting many late calls

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
10:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Interim Rangers manager Tim Bogar is not shy about going to the bullpen in the eighth inning.

The Rangers are hoping to get a chance to use the formula again for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Atlanta Braves set for 2:05 at Globe Life Park. The Rangers will be trying to win three in a row for the first time since mid-June.

In Friday’s 2-1 win over the Braves and again in a 3-2 victory Saturday, Bogar used three relievers in the eighth inning.

Just because the Rangers are eliminated from playoff hopes, there remains a responsibility to the other contenders.

“We’ve got a job to do for the rest of the league," said Bogar. “We are playing teams down the stretch that have a postseason chance."

In Friday’s game with the score tied 1-1, Shawn Tolleson entered to start the eighth and struck out Phil Gosselin. Left-hander Michael Kirkman was summoned and issued a walk. Then it was eventual winning pitcher Phil Klein coming on for a walk and two strikeouts.

On Saturday, with the Rangers up 3-2, Roman Mendez stayed on after a scoreless seventh to get the first out in the eighth. Kirkman got Freddie Freeman on a deep fly ball to right. Spencer Patton came on to strike out Justin Upton to end the inning.

For the ninth inning Friday, the Rangers turned to Neftali Feliz for his ninth save. On Saturday, Neal Cotts worked a scoreless ninth for his first save.

“We’ve got a lot of guys down there and we’re going to use them," Bogar said.

Bonilla exceeds expectations in first start

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
4:16
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Before the game, Tim Bogar said he would be thrilled to get five innings from first time major league starter Lisalverto Bonilla.

So when Bonilla went six strong innings, the Rangers interim manager had to revamp his choice of words.

“Amazed, I guess," said Bogar. “Really happy. We make a play and he doesn’t give up a run."

There was really no way to see this kind of performance coming from the 24-year-old right-hander. Bonilla carried a 7.36 earned run average in two relief appearances for Texas.

Bonilla limited the playoff-contending Braves to four hits and two runs. Both runs came in the third, aided by Phil Gosselin’s RBI bloop single to center that Leonys Martin seemed to initially misjudge. There were two outs when the ball fell.

Asked after five if he could go another, Bonilla conveyed through an interpreter, “I know that I can."

Said Bogar: “He located his fastball well. He was using off-speed to get outs."

All four of Bonilla’s walks were issued to left-handed batters, a result of trying to be too fine, Bogar said.

The walks did not factor in any Atlanta runs. Twice the Braves hit into double plays after a leadoff walk.

Rangers bunch hits: Texas put its three hits together in the sixth along with a costly Atlanta error. Rougned Odor’s two-run double erased a 2-1 deficit.

“Obviously, Odor’s hit was big," said Bogar of the two-run double that capped the inning. “But I thought Elvis’ [Andrus] hit past first was big for our confidence. We were facing an excellent pitcher and we didn’t have a lot of good swings."

Braves starter Julio Teheran did not allow a hit through five innings. In fact, the Rangers were hitless in seven of eight innings.

Odor struck out in the first and popped up to short in the fourth prior to delivering.

“He was pretty good," said Odor through an interpreter, “but we got him. It feels great to support the team."

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Braves 2

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
2:48
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers bunched all three of their hits in the sixth inning, rallying from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory before 31,595 Saturday afternoon at Globe Life Park.

Rougned Odor gapped a two-run double off Julio Teheran with two out in the sixth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 Rangers lead.

The Rangers (56-92) won back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 24-25 and dealt the Braves' wild-card hopes another setback.

Teheran was untouchable for five no-hit innings, facing the minimum 16 batters until Rangers third baseman Luis Sardinas broke up the no-hitter in the sixth with a single. The inning should have ended on Leonys Martin’s dying fly ball to left field, but Justin Upton dropped it for an error.

The Rangers leaped on the break. Elvis Andrus singled to right to cut the Braves' lead to 2-1. Odor followed with the big hit of the game.

Strong debut: Lisalverto Bonilla went six innings in his first major league start, limiting the Braves to four hits and two runs. None of the four walks issued by the 24-year-old right-hander caused any damage.

Bonilla became the 15th different starter used by the Rangers this season, tying Colorado for the most in the majors. The Rangers used 17 starters in 1973 and 2004, 16 in 2003 and 15 in 2007 and 2008.

Spoiler role: Sardinas broke up Teheran’s no-hitter with a looping single to left-center in the sixth inning. Earlier in the at-bat, Sardinas narrowly ducked out of the way of Teheran’s high and tight fastball. He took a little extra time before stepping back into the box and two pitches later, he singled.

Defensive gems: Adam Rosales turned a bad-hop grounder off the bat of Ramiro Pena into an out with some fast reflexes that momentarily put him in the sitting position on the infield dirt. He regained his footing and flipped to Bonilla for an out.

Sardinas, making only his third start at third base, started a snappy around-the-horn double play in the fourth.

Not-so-great D: Center fielder Leonys Martin seemed to get a bad jump on Phil Gosselin’s two-out looper. Martin’s late charge wasn’t enough to prevent the ball from falling for an RBI single for the game’s first run in the third inning.

Left fielder Ryan Rua took a rather casual approach to Freddie Freeman’s fly that hit the foul line for an RBI double, also in the third.

Bullpen work: The Rangers got solid relief work from Roman Mendez, Michael Kirkman, Spencer Patton and finally Neal Cotts for the save. But there were a couple of scares on fly balls by Freeman off Kirkman and Chris Johnson off Cotts.

Early bird: This afternoon’s 12:07 start was a minute shy of equaling the earliest start for a game since Globe Life Park opened in 1994. First pitch was delivered at 12:06 for a Sept. 14 game last season against Oakland.

Up next: The Rangers and Braves conclude their three-game series at 2:05 p.m. Sunday with right-hander Colby Lewis (9-13, 5.29 ERA) facing off against Atlanta left-hander Mike Minor (6-10, 4.58) on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Bonilla wins 1st start as Rangers top Braves 3-2

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
2:44
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rougned Odor's go-ahead double gave fellow rookie Lisalverto Bonilla a win in his first major-league start, and the last-place Texas Rangers beat Atlanta 3-2 Saturday, handing the Braves another setback in their push for an NL wild-card spot.

Atlanta's Julio Teheran (13-12) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before a one-out single from Luis Sardinas. An error by left fielder Jason Heyward kept the inning alive, and Odor took advantage by driving home Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus for a 3-2 lead.

Bonilla (1-0) was on a pitch count but still got through six innings on 78 pitches despite four walks.

The Braves, who started the day three games behind Pittsburgh for the second NL wild-card spot, dropped to 2-6 on their nine-game road trip.


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Pregame notes: Rua's versatility valuable

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
12:10
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Expanded September rosters notwithstanding, American League teams routinely carry fewer bench players so they can expand their bullpens.

When that happens in the first five months of a season, versatility becomes more important for a bench that is often no deeper than three regulars.

SportsNation

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Discuss (Total votes: 3,488)

Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar believes Ryan Rua is capable of playing many positions.

“A guy that can play a lot of positions gives him a chance to play more up here," said Bogar.

Rua is making his sixth start in left field. He has eight starts at first base and one as designated hitter.

First base and especially left field are new positions for Rua. Most of his experience has been at second and third base.

“I know there’s a reason why he’s been moved to first base and left, but I want to see it for myself," Bogar said. “If he could play third and play well, we’d be able to rest Adrian Beltre a little."

Rua, listed as an infielder-outfielder, has been solid at the plate with a .278 average. He’s hit in five of six games with a .391 average and five RBIs.

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Derek Holland makes his case for 2015

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
11:32
PM CT
Derek HollandAP Photo/Tony GutierrezDerek Holland's fourth start of 2014 could prove a solid foundation for the lefty's 2015.

ARLINGTON, Texas — This is the Derek Holland the Texas Rangers have missed for nearly five months.

We have seen quality efforts from Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis this season and inconsistency from a bunch of young kids and spot starters.

Holland, meanwhile, was plying his trade in Triple-A and Double-A, rehabbing from knee surgery and finding his command.

Friday night, Holland continued his strong progression in the final weeks of the season by pitching seven innings and allowing one run on eight hits. He struck out six and threw 113 pitches.

Holland got a no-decision on this wet evening, but the left-hander kept his club in the game against one of the worst-scoring teams in the big leagues.

The Rangers did beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1 at Globe Life Park to end a three-game losing streak, but, more than anything, it was Holland showing everybody he's someone to depend on for 2015.

"I don't doubt him one bit," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "He was throwing 92 mph out there at pitch 111, 112. Derek's strong and it's all about his knee and fielding and getting off the mound and that stuff, and he’s doing that well, too. So, at this point, I'm not going to say I don’t have any reservations, but I'm pretty close to it."

Holland encountered two major jams in the middle innings that might have suffocated a younger pitcher. The bases were loaded in the third inning with just one out.

Holland got Justin Upton swinging on a slider in the dirt and then induced Ryan Doumit to bounce out to third to end the frame.

Yes, the Rangers were down 1-0, but the damage could have been worse.

"I didn’t want any of those guys to score, and I did everything I possibly could," Holland said. "My defense made the plays for me, and I got out of it. I gave up one, and I'm happy with that."

The fifth brought another jam Holland navigated through. After consecutive hits, he struck out Phil Gosselin on an off-speed pitch and coaxed Freddie Freeman to hit a first-pitch sinker into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

"I think he got more intensity," Bogar said of the trouble Holland faced. "He realized, right there, he had to make pitches, and we gave him a couple of extra outs there in the third inning, and in that fifth inning he did a great job. It shows you how Derek goes after things every day."

In three starts, Holland has yet to walk a batter, becoming just the second Rangers pitcher ever to accomplish that while going at least seven innings in each of those consecutive outings.

Holland matched Ferguson Jenkins, who did it in 1979, and said he wanted no part of the comparison. He was respectful of Jenkins but understood there are still some starts left.

"That's the big thing I'm happy about: no walks," said Holland, who hasn't allowed a base on balls to the past 118 hitters he's faced dating back to last season. "I’m giving my defense a chance to make plays when I'm out there making pitches my last three starts. Obviously, I’m doing something to let these guys make plays and stay on their toes."

When the offseason comes, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels will most likely cross Holland off his list of things to worry about.

There is so much to worry about with this Rangers team, yet Holland is making sure he'll become a stabilizing force in the rotation.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Braves 1

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
10:42
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The runs are hard to obtain these days for the Texas Rangers.

Just eight runs came across during the previous four games. The Rangers lost three of them.

The offense was challenged again Friday night, but for a change, the Rangers produced more than their opponent and earned a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers ended a three-game losing streak and moved to 19-22 in one-run games. Atlanta, fighting for a playoff berth that’s becoming a tough challenge, is 29th in runs scored in the big leagues. When you review the Braves’ season, one of the main reasons they could fail to reach the postseason is the lack of run support.

The Rangers know all about a lack of run support, seeing as they are 24th in the big leagues in runs scored.

How it happened?: Robinson Chirinos, who missed the past 10 games with a stiff neck, returned to the lineup and delivered a clutch two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie. It was Chirinos’ first RBI since Aug. 24 against the Kansas City Royals.

Ryan Rua made a curious decision in the third inning that led to a deficit for the Rangers. With runners at the corners, Jason Heyward hit a bouncer to first and Rua held the ball anticipating B.J. Upton would head home from third. When that didn’t happen, Rua threw to second to get the force. But Upton’s speed allowed him to score the game’s first run after Rua committed to second.

The Rangers tied the game in the sixth when Rua picked up the seventh RBI of his young career as he bounced out to third, allowing pinch runner Guilder Rodriguez to score.

Holland is solid: Left-handed starter Derek Holland has been solid in his return from knee surgery. He threw seven innings, allowing just one run on eight hits. He struck out six in 113 pitches. Holland got a no-decision, but in three starts he’s given up just two runs and hasn’t walked a batter. Holland became just the second Rangers pitcher in franchise history to go at least seven innings and not walk a batter. Ferguson Jenkins also accomplished the feat in 1975.

Fielding follies: The Rangers had two fielding miscues Friday night. Right fielder Michael Choice lost a fly ball in the lights to allow Freddie Freeman to reach on a single. More issues occurred in the third inning. Holland had Heyward picked off first and Rua chased him to second. But after a throw to Elvis Andrus, Heyward ran back to first. Rua didn’t get back in the path of the runner to take the throw, nor did Holland. So Heyward dove back safely into first.

Bases-loaded issues: When you don’t have much in the lineup, you must take advantage of opportunities. The Rangers loaded the bases in the fourth inning but failed to get anything out of it. Rougned Odor grounded out to second on the first pitch from left-hander Alex Wood to end the inning. Andrus did the same thing in Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

What’s next?: RHP Lisalverto Bonilla (0-0, 7.36) makes his first major league start vs. RHP Julio Teheran (13-11, 3.00) at 12:05 p.m. CT Saturday in the second game of the series.

Chirinos helps Rangers past Braves 2-1

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
10:23
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Robinson Chirinos hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning, sending the Texas Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

Adrian Beltre and Ryan Rua had two hits apiece as Texas won for only the second time in 13 games. The Rangers improved to 2-5 under interim manager Tim Bogar.

The Braves have lost four of five to drop three games behind Pittsburgh for the National League's second wild card.


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Pregame notes: Baker scratched from start

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
5:40
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers scratched spot starter Scott Baker from Saturday’s scheduled outing against the Braves because of triceps tendinitis in his right elbow.

Lisalverto Bonilla will take his turn and become the 15th different pitcher to start a game for the Rangers this season. The Rangers have used the most starters in the American League and will tie the Rockies for the big-league lead when Bonilla makes his start.

“I feel very proud to start a game,” said Bonilla, who has pitched 3 2/3 innings in two relief appearances since being called up. “Of course I want to make my pitches and get ahead of the hitters and I’ll be OK.”

Interim manager Tim Bogar said he likes Bonilla’s mental makeup and described him as a "fly on the wall," in terms of trying to learn. Bonilla throws a good breaking ball, offspeed stuff and he gets ahead of hitters with his fastball.

Bonilla spent the bulk of his time in the minors as a starter but was moved to the bullpen this season when he arrived at Triple-A Round Rock. But he has moved back and forth between roles because of the Rangers' rotation issues. In six starts for Round Rock, Bonilla went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, and opponents hit .204 against him.

Workload taking toll: The workload for Baker and Miles Mikolas has apparently led to some health issues. Baker has pitched 76 2/3 innings this season, his first significant workload since returning from Tommy John surgery. He missed the 2012 season while recovering and pitched in three games for the Chicago Cubs last season.

Mikolas, who is out with a sore shoulder, was a reliever in the minors before making the switch to the rotation this season. Mikolas has thrown a career-high 57 innings this season over 10 starts.

“I don’t know if that’s an exact reason for it,” Bogar said of Baker's soreness. “There is going to be a little bit more wear on that (arm). Same with Miles; he’s had a pretty good workload, too. It’s only common for their arms to get a little bit sore or stiff.”

Feliz's velocity up: Closer Neftali Feliz wasn’t in his normal end-of-game situation Thursday night, but he threw in the high 90s, including two 97-mph fastballs to Albert Pujols in the ninth inning. Pujols, who struck out four times for the first time in his career, went down swinging on a Feliz fastball out of the strikezone.

“I’m just competing,” Feliz said. “Sometimes I feel real good, and when that happens I can make my pitches.”

Injury update: RF Alex Rios was scheduled to get the stitches removed from his thumb Friday. He’s still not ready to take live batting practice or take defensive drills. … OF Jake Smolinski (foot) ran full speed on Friday and expects to make the final road trip of the season, which starts Tuesday in Oakland. … OF Jim Adduci (concussion) said he doesn’t have headaches and is doing some heart-rate work. … INF Jurickson Profar (shoulder) said he’s throwing from 90 feet during his throwing program. He doesn’t know when he’ll start throwing across the infield yet.

Base Hits: Holland faces favorite team

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
1:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- If you want to know how players find their favorite teams, just ask Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland: He watched TBS.

Holland, who grew up in Newark, Ohio, watched Atlanta Braves game on television and became a big fan. His brother watched WGN and started loving the Chicago Cubs.

Holland faces the Braves for the first time Friday night at Globe Life Park.

“I was a huge Braves fan and Chipper Jones was my batting idol and I wanted to be like Chipper Jones and that’s why I’m still a switch-hitter,” Holland said. “Between me and my brother, he watched WGN. Those were our two teams growing up.”

Holland has a 0.64 ERA in two starts this season since returning from left knee surgery. His command has been excellent and his knee is fully healed.

“I’m not surprised,” Holland said regarding his command. “I’ve been working on it big time. From the rehab part to the rehab games, my focus has always been trying to command everything. My first two starts, I didn’t have a good command on my fastball and I made sure I was going to fix it. Those were the things I’ve been working on with the pitching staff to get myself prepared. I’m definitely going to get things going.”

Base Hits: Leonys Martin had two hits, including a home run, and a walk in Thursday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Martin is making a case to become the full-time leadoff hitter.

“I’m a lot more confident,” said Martin, who has been in the leadoff spot the last six games. “I’m swinging at good pitches.” ... As the No. 3 hitter under interim manager Tim Bogar, Rougned Odor is 2-for-11 with a walk. ... Bogar said closer Neftali Feliz made a statement with his 97 mph fastball to Albert Pujols on Thursday night to strike him out. Pujols struck out four times.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.12 123 158
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .322
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 73
OPSA. Beltre .873
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182