Ask the Detroit Tigers how difficult that is.
Miguel Cabrera crushes three home runs and Detroit can't outlast the Rangers. They knocked out two Detroit starters in the third inning in the four-game series, including Justin Verlander, who took an eight-run pounding.
The Rangers cruised past the quarter pole of the season with the best record in baseball, and upped that mark to 29-15 with Sunday's 11-8 victory. They start Monday with a 6 1/2 game lead -- every other division race is 2 1/2 games or less.
And so much for the Rangers building the franchise's best record through 44 games against Houston and other losing teams. They swept Boston, who came to Arlington with baseball's best record at the time, and they just took three out of four against Detroit, the defending American League champs.
Depth has been the answer. The Rangers prove again they are the deepest organization in baseball. They'll start Monday with three pitchers in the rotation who haven't made double-digit starts in the big leagues yet -- Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm and Josh Lindblom.
A.J. Pierzynski goes down and Geovany Soto starts hitting. Ian Kinsler hits the 15-day disabled list and the top prosect in baseball, Jurickson Profar, is waiting in the wings.
The buzz in the ballpark should be high Monday when Profar starts at second base. Manager Ron Washington, releuctant to play Profar in key games last season with the division title on the line, said Sunday that Profar will play.
The deepest team in baseball gets to show off again Monday night.
Other Rangers notes:
Beltre belting: Don't look now but Adrian Beltre's batting average is up to .291. He had four more hits Sunday for his third straight multi-hit game. He's batting .447 in his last eight games. He has eight extra base hits (five doubles, three home runs) in the last nine games.
Bullpen matters: The Rangers have an interesting decision to make Monday when Josh Lindblom is activated to start against Oakland. A roster move will have to be made. Right-hander reliever Cory Burns has impressed in two outings and the Rangers could use a another righty in the bullpen. Look for Burns to stay. That could mean left-hander Joseph Ortiz, who has options, could get more work at Triple-A Round Rock.
Rotation matters: The Rangers still haven't decided on what they'll do as far as adjusting the starting rotation with Thursday's off day. They have three off days coming up in the next two weeks, so they'll be able to adjust and push back or skip starts by Justin Grimm and Josh Lindblom.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The best hitter in baseball, Miguel Cabrera, belted three home runs and wowed 39,638 fans and every player, coach and manager in the ballpark Sunday night.
David Murphy, trying to hone his swing in mid-May, produced the home run that mattered, lifting the Texas Rangers to an 11-8 victory over the Detroit Tigers and their amazing Cabrera.
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportDavid Murphy was moved to the No. 2 spot in the lineup to help get his bat going. He delivered with a three-run homer in the sixth inning.
And Murphy, whose three-run home run gave the Rangers an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the sixth -- after the Rangers had lost a one-run advantage in the top of the inning -- provided the game-changing moment the Rangers needed.
The Rangers were able to turn the game over to Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan. And even with Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the other lineup, the Rangers' trio at the back of the bullpen proved again automatic.
"We feel like we can do what we have to do," Ross said after running his career record to 8-0. "Our offense kept us in there. Murphy's home run was huge."
Yes, it was. The Rangers had just lost a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth when manager Ron Washington picked the lesser of two evils, pitching to Fielder with the bases loaded and two outs, rather than facing Cabrera, who already had two homers off starter Derek Holland.
Washington chose to intentionally walk Cabrera, matching up Fielder against left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman. Fielder scalded a three-run double for a 7-5 lead.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers rallied twice, once from a three-run deficit and again from a two-run deficit to beat the Detroit Tigers 11-8 on Sunday night.
In a battle of American League powerhouses, the Rangers won three out of four games in the series and have baseball's best record at 29-15.
Murphy comes up clutch: Rangers manager Ron Washington put David Murphy in the No. 2 spot in the lineup to try to get his bat going with Ian Kinsler out and Elvis Andrus moving into the leadoff spot. It worked out swimmingly. Trailing 7-5 with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the sixth, Murphy hit a line drive to right field that carried over the fence for a three-run home run and an 8-7 lead. It was Murphy's fifth homer of the season. Murphy had two hits plus a sacrifice fly for an insurance run in the seventh inning.
Back of the bullpen: Both teams took a lot of hits in the bullpen, and the Rangers had their first blown save of the season, but the Rangers did OK in the final three innings. The dynamic trio of Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan held another lead. Scheppers did allow his second run of the season -- both have come on home runs -- as Miguel Cabrera belted his third home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth to trim the Rangers lead to 11-8.
Holland hit hard again: The pressure increases slightly for Derek Holland with two rookie starters in the rotation and another, Josh Lindblom, making his first career start Monday. Holland didn't deliver Sunday night. He gave up eight hits and walked three in 4 2/3 innings for his shortest outing of the season. He gave up four earned runs, including two home runs to Cabrera. Holland gave up a three-run homer to Cabrera to lose the lead in the third inning. And Holland had to duck a line-drive smash by Cabrera that carried over the center-field fence. Holland has allowed eight earned runs in his last 10 1/3 innings with his ERA going up from 2.54 to 3.30.
Bullpen moves don't work: You can't blame Washington for deciding to pitch to Prince Fielder instead of Cabrera, even with the bases loaded and two outs and nursing a 5-4 lead. Washington intentionally walked Cabrera to get to Fielder and went with left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman. The only problem is Kirkman didn't deliver, giving up a three-run double to Fielder as the Tigers took the lead back at 7-5. First batters are now 11-for-19 against Kirkman. Left-handed hitters are batting .357 against Kirkman.
Soto magic: Catcher Geovany Soto had three hits Sunday night, two of them starting rallies that both times ended with the Rangers taking the lead. Soto led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and scored on Andrus' RBI ground out to start a four-run inning as the Rangers eventually took a 5-4 lead. Soto had a single to start the bottom of the sixth as the Rangers had another four-run inning and erased a 7-5 Tigers lead.
Beltre goes for four: Adrian Beltre had his third four-hit game of the season. Included were two bloop doubles inside each foul line. The second one glanced off Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta's glove as the Rangers took a brief 5-4 lead in the fifth inning.
Up next: The Rangers open a three-game series Monday night against the American League West rival Oakland A's with right-hander Josh Lindblom making his first career major league start against right-hander Bartolo Colon (3-2, 4.56 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.
It has been business as usual for the seven-game winner, who said he hasn't changed anything about his between-starts routine.
"I didn't have much fatigue after the 130 pitches," Darvish said.
His next start against the Oakland A's and their right-hander Dan Straily will have a little less -- make that a lot less -- hype than Thursday's matchup against Detroit's Justin Verlander. Darvish won that game, even though both pitchers struggled early.
Verlander was knocked out of the game in the third inning after he allowed eight runs. Darvish trailed early, 3-1, but bounced back to pitch eight innings and throw those final 15 pitches in the eighth inning to get him up to 130.
The highlight of the outing was Darvish's slow down curve to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who hit a three-run home run Sunday night against Derek Holland. Darvish found a way to baffle Cabrera, throwing him the 62-mph curveball that he's gone as low as 59 mph with this season.
"I got a swing and a miss from Cabrera," Darvish said. "I don't think I have to perfect that anymore."
Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said on Galloway & Company on ESPN-FM 103.3 this week that Darvish has the best slider in baseball. Darvish said Sunday that he is honored and grateful that the Hall of Fame pitcher would say that.
Darvish was asked where he ranks himself among the top pitchers in baseball after starting this season with a 7-1 record and a 2.97 ERA. It's too early to tell, he said.
He's pitched only 38 games in the big leagues.
"I still think Verlander is the best pitcher in Major League Baseball," Darvish said. "I only have won 20 or so games here in the big leagues. I don't think I'm at a point where you guys can compare me to the top pitchers in Major League Baseball. I'm not even at the starting point."
Lindblom, 25, has actually made his major league debut, pitching in 27 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011. Only it was as a reliever, as were the case for all 101 of his major league appearances with the Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies during the past two seasons.
Lindblom, who was made a reliever after struggling this spring training and being sent to Triple-A Round Rock, will get a chance in a different role Monday. The last time he started a game was in 2010 with Triple-A Albuquerque, when he made 10 starts and was moved to the bullpen.
"I really honestly never thought I'd have a chance to be a starter in the big leagues," Lindblom said. "But I came to an organization that really wants to get the most out of every player they have."
Lindblom has been able to expand the number of pitches he throws after throwing only a fastball and an out pitch. Now, as a starter, he can mix in his changeup, slider and curveball.
"I was really limiting myself as a pitcher," Lindblom said. "You watch all of the relievers out there going down to two pitches, a lot of them have a fastball and an out pitch. I have other pitches, and I wasn't able to use them."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said internal discussions among the front office near the end of spring training led to the decision to try Lindblom as a starter. It's worked so far; he was 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA for Triple-A Round Rock.
"He had a four-pitch mix," Daniels said. "We thought the way he was throwing that was going to work best down there."
Lindblom has lost 14 pounds since spring training and is down to 233 pounds.
He said he's improved his mental approach to the game. He received a DVD from ex-Phillies teammate Roy Halladay on the ABCs of the mental approach to the game. He's also talked at length to Rangers teammates Matt Harrison and Derek Lowe.
"I'm focusing on things that matter," Lindblom said.
Other Rangers notes:
Olt starting hitting program: Rangers infield prospect Mike Olt has started a hitting program with Triple-A hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.
But general manager Jon Daniels said the specialists still haven't identified the problem with Olt's vision, which has landed him on the disabled list.
"You always like to have answers," Daniels said. "You deal with what you have."
Soria update: Daniels said that rehabbing reliever Joakim Soria, one of the Rangers' key offseason signings, should be able to resume throwing off a mound at the start of June and could be ready to pitch in the big leagues in early July.
Lewis set to go: Colby Lewis will pitch at 11 a.m. Monday in Frisco in a rehab start for the Double-A RoughRiders. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who will be on the second and final day of his rehab assignment, will catch Lewis.
Minor notes: Double-A Frisco left fielder Ryan Strausborger had four stolen bases Saturday night and has 14 for the season.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain, and the Rangers have called up top prospect Jurickson Profar. Profar is not in the starting lineup tonight but Texas manager Ron Washington said he will split time with utility man Leury Garcia, who gets the start at second for the third straight game.
SS Elvis Andrus
LF David Murphy
DH Lance Berkman
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
CF Craig Gentry
2B Leury Garcia
P Derek Holland
Holland (3-2, 2.93): Holland tries to bounce back after a frustrating outing in Oakland in which the Rangers gave him an early 3-0 lead and couldn't hold it ... The Rangers' left-hander failed to go at least seven innings for only the second time in eight starts ... He couldn't get out of the sixth inning, leaving the game with the tied at 3-3 ... Holland has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his eight starts, tied for third behind Boston's Clay Buchholz's and the New York Mets' Matt Harvey ... Holland's ERA is the fourth lowest among American League left-handers .... He has six quality starts, tied with Yu Darvish for ninth in the AL ... Holland will finally pitch again at Rangers Ballpark after making five of his last six starts on the road ... He is 1-1 with 1 .57 ERA in three home starts ... He is 0-0 with a 1.54 ERA for two career starts against the Tigers, both at home.
Fister (5-1, 3.06): Fister is one of the most consistent pitchers in the AL ... He has allowed three runs or less in all but one of his eight starts ... He won his last start against the Houston, allowing two runs in seven innings in a 7-2 victory against the Astros ... Fister bounced back from his lone rough start of the season when he went only three innings, allowing four runs in a 5-4 loss to Washington ... Fister gives up right around a hit an inning and has walked eight and has allowed one home run in 50 innings ... Fister reached double digits in ground balls outs in his first six starts ... He is 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA for four road starts ... Fister bears down with runners in scoring position and two outs, allowing two hits in 21 at-bats ... Fister is 2-4 with a 5.61 ERA for his career against the Rangers, allowing seven home runs in 43 1/3 innings ... He is 0-2 with a 13.00 ERA at Rangers Ballpark ... He has a .404 opponents batting average for five home runs and 13 earned runs allowed in nine innings in Arlington.
Hitters: Nelson Cruz (7-for-16, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) has been struggling off late with three double plays in the last two games but he could turn things around against Fister. David Murphy (8-for-18, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs) has had even more success against the Tigers' right-hander. Torii Hunter (10-for-34, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs) has had the most success against Holland.
They also have a pretty good backup. Elvis Andrus.
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsBefore Saturday's game against Detroit, Elvis Andrus had never had five hits in a major league game.
Andrus scored three runs and stole two bases as the aggressive Rangers blitzed red-hot Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers 7-2 on Saturday night.
Andrus used the entire ballpark to get his five hits, his career high.
"He's a tremendous hitter when he does that," manager Ron Washington said of Andrus' using the big part of Rangers Ballpark. "We needed that."
Andrus opened the bottom of the first with a single to left. He stole second and went to third on an error by Tigers catcher Alex Avila. He scored on a passed ball.
Andrus had a triple to right-center field in the second inning that scored Leonys Martin and ignited a three-run rally for a 4-0 lead.
Andrus had another RBI single to center field in the bottom of the third for a 6-0 lead. He led the way with three hits in the first three innings.
With a personal three-game losing streak entering a rematch with Detroit, Grimm joked with Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux before Saturday's game that he was going to get back at the Tigers for what they did to him last June in his second major league start. Riding the high of a brilliant debut against the Houston Astros, the Tigers pounded Grimm for six runs in an inning.
How sweet revenge is.
"It wasn't necessarily remembering what happened last year," Grimm said. "Outings like that, you're young. Mistakes happen. These hitters are going to capitalize on those mistakes."
Grimm fought himself in the second and third innings. He had a leadoff walk in the second to Victor Martinez, which is almost always a recipe for giving up runs. But after a one-out single by Jhonny Peralta put two runners on, Grimm was able to get Omar Infante to ground into a double play.
The third inning featured a second run-in with the heart of the Tigers' batting order with the Rangers leading 4-0. Another leadoff baserunner, this time after a single by Avisail Garcia, led to Detroit's first run on a double by Torii Hunter. That forced Grimm to deal with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder with a runner in scoring position.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Justin Grimm had a bounce-back start and Elvis Andrus was 5-for-5 with three runs scored as the Texas Rangers made it two out of three wins over the Detroit Tigers with a 7-2 victory on Saturday night.
Grimm gets it done: Grimm gave up six runs in an inning in a start against the powerful Tigers last June in his second big league start. He was much better at damage control Saturday night against Detroit. Grimm gave up seven hits and had only one perfect inning, but he got big outs when he needed them as the Tigers were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Grimm ended a personal three-game losing streak after a strong April start in which he was the American League rookie of the month.
Moreland gets to 10: Mitch Moreland reached double figures in home runs almost a month earlier than he did last season with a solo shot to right field to lead off the third inning to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead. Moreland hit his 10th home run on June 15 last season in a game against Houston.
Andrus gets five hits: Andrus became the second Ranger this season to collect five hits in a game. Andrus fell a home run short of the cycle. He had singles in the first and third and eighth innings, a triple in the second and a double in the sixth. He scored three runs and stole two bases. It was a dominant effort from the leadoff spot, in which Andrus was batting in place of the injured Ian Kinsler. It was Andrus' first game with four or more hits since last August.
Tigers miscues help: The Tigers couldn't catch the ball in the second inning. First, Andrus hit a triple off the glove of the running Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter for a triple. David Murphy then hit a tapper in front of the plate that Detroit pitcher Anibal Sanchez threw into right field for an error to make it 3-0 Rangers. Lance Berkman later had an RBI single for a 4-0 lead.
Martin on the run: Andrus wasn't the only Ranger on the run Saturday night. Leonys Martin stole another base, his fourth in four games. Martin is 4-for-6 on stolen-base attempts for the season. He was 1-for-2 with a run scored and also executed a sacrifice bunt.
Up next: The Rangers go for the series win Sunday afternoon as left-hander Derek Holland (3-2, 2.93 ERA) against right-hander Doug Fister (5-1, 3.06 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN TV and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
Ogando, who went on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with biceps tendinits, first told Washington about the issue after his start in Oakland. Ogando said Friday that's he been having issues with soreness off and on this season.
Ogando, who is switching back to the rotation from the bullpen, is gaining experince, Washington said, and learning that only pitching an inning in a given day is different than starting every five days.
"Taking this workload of a starter, anything that's not right, we need to know about it," Washington said. "This is a different world. He has to try to go through a lineup three or four times, not just once. It's something that you put to experience. Now he has it, you hope that doesn't happen again."
Burns has a chance: Washington likes what's seen from right-hander Cory Burns, including Friday's ninth inning effort of getting out Detroit's Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera.
Even with the Rangers need for another right-hander in the bullpen, and Josh Lindblom slated to start Monday for Ogando, Washington's not ready to commit to Burns staying around past Sunday.
"I like what he did," Washington said. "But to make a decision on yes or no, we're not ready to do that."
Martin's arm impresses: Leonys Martin impressed again Friday night, throwing out Tigers leadoff man Andy Dirks with a laser shot to Geovany Soto on the fly in the top of the third. It was the Rangers' fourth outfield assist this season and Martin has two of them.
Washington said earlier in the week that Martin has the strongest arm on the team. Throws like Friday's against a speedy runner could make opponents hesitant to run on him. He also gunned down Milwaukee's speedy shortstop Jean Segura earlier this month.
"If he's coming straight in on a ball, you might thing about not chancing it," Washington said. "If he has to go left or right and get something and then make a throw, that's when you could ahead and take a chance. That ball right there he came straight in."
Kinsler out again: Second baseman Ian Kinsler was out of the lineup for the second straight day to give him more time to heal bruised ribs. Kinsler, who came in to pinch run in Friday's game, was available in that capacity again Saturday.
Pierzynski starts rehab Sunday: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, nearing the end of his disabled list stint, will begin his two-day rehab assignment on Sunday. Pierzynski, coming back from a strained right oblique muscle, can come off the DL on Tuesday against Oakland.
Lewis set to go Monday: Colby Lewis threw long toss Saturday and reported no problems and is set to start Monday for Double-A Frisco. Pierzynski will catch him. It's an early start, 11 a.m., at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Minor notes: Left-hander Neal Cotts has struck out 40 of the 79 batters he's faced this season for Triple-A Round Rock. Left-handed hitters are 0-for-27 against him with 21 strikeouts ... Round Rock shortstop Jurickson Profar had a seven-game hitting streak entering Saturday with a .379 batting average during that span.
Ian Kinsler is out of the lineup for the second straight day, still sore and day-to-day with bruised ribs. He is available to pinch run, which he did last night. Robinson Chirinos gets the start at catcher.
SS Elvis Andrus
LF David Murphy
DH Lance Berkman
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mitch Moreland
C Robinson Chirinos
CF Leonys Martin
2B Leury Garcia
P Justin Grimm
LF Andy Dirks
RF Torii Hunter
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Victor Martinez
C Alex Avila
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Omar Infante
CF Avisail Garcia
P Anibal Sanchez
Grimm (2-3, 4.28 ERA): Grimm tries to turn around a three-game losing streak. ... He has allowed 10 runs in his past 10 innings. ... He has struggled to keep the ball down in the strike zone, allowing seven hits and five runs in a start Monday in Oakland. He allowed consecutive home runs to Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss in the third inning to fall behind 4-0. ... It's been a tough turnaround for Grimm, who is 0-3 with a 7.02 ERA for three May starts, that after being named American League rookie of the month for April, having gone 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA. ... He has pitched well at home with a 1-1 record and 2.84 ERA for three starts in Arlington. ... He will face the Tigers for the second time. The first one didn't go well, as he allowed seven hits to the first nine batters he faced and Detroit scored five runs in the first inning.
Sanchez (4-3, 2.05): Sanchez is off to a great start. He's fourth in the AL with 66 strikeouts and fifth with his 2.05 ERA. He has allowed three runs or fewer in all eight of his starts. ... He dominated Houston in his last start, allowing two runs in seven innings in a 7-2 victory over the Astros. Sanchez had eight strikeouts. ... But that's not the real story for him as far as strikeouts go. Sanchez had a major league-best 17 strikeouts against Atlanta in a 10-0 victory over the Braves on April 26. It broke a team record that had stood since 1969 when Mickey Lolich struck out 16 twice less than three weeks apart. ... Sanchez is 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA for two career starts against the Rangers.
Hitters: Geovany Soto (5-for-10, RBI) and Lance Berkman (5-for-13) had success against Sanchez when he pitched in the National League. Miguel Cabrera was 2-for-2 with two RBIs when the Tigers crushed Grimm for six runs in one inning-plus last June in Arlington.
That after Burns struck out Cabrera with a devastating changeup.
Burns doesn't appear to need a confidence boost as he tries to stay in the bullpen after being called up Thursday. But he knew what it meant to get the best of the Tigers' Triple Crown man in Friday's 2-1 loss to Detroit.
"Miguel is one of the best hitters in my opinion ever," Burns said. "It's still pitching. You still have to go out and make your pitches whether you're facing Miguel Cabrera or Babe Ruth or whoever."
Burns said he didn't do anything special to get Cabrera out with a runner at first in the top of the ninth and the Rangers trailing by a run. Burns threw Cabrera a two-seam fastball that he fouled off and a changeup that the Tigers third baseman missed.
Burns went back to the changeup to strike out Cabrera, right after he had retired the always dangerous Torii Hunter.
"I didn't really even set him up," Burns said. "I just kind of went with my best stuff right there. I threw it with some conviction, and it worked out.
"My changeup is my pitch. I'm getting better with my other pitches. They're coming along really well. And that makes my changeup that much better."
In two outings -- Burns had a perfect inning in Thursday's 10-4 victory -- the 25-year-old from Phoenix has retired all five batters he's faced and impressed his teammates. Burns is supposed to go back to Triple-A Round Rock when Josh Lindblom is called up from the Express to start in Alexi Ogando's spot. Burns is trying to persuade the Rangers to keep him.
"He had a really good changeup," Texas catcher Geovany Soto said. "He has a good delivery. And he's coming in and he's being aggressive."
Burns knows what's at stake. Manager Ron Washington said earlier in the week that there's a need for another right-handed arm out of the bullpen. Burns, who pitched in 17 games last season for the San Diego Padres and had a 5.50 ERA, knows the chance is there to win a big league job.
"Some guys get one opportunity," Burns said. "I'm fortunate enough that the Rangers have given me another opportunity here, and I'm going to do everything I can and bust my tail to try and earn a spot and stay."
Other Rangers notes for Saturday morning:
Grimm tries to end skid: Right-handed starter Justin Grimm has allowed 10 runs in his past 10 innings. He will try to turn things around against the Tigers' formidable lineup Saturday. Washington said Friday that Grimm has to work on keeping his pitches down in the strike zone. He allowed two home runs in his previous start, against Oakland, to fall behind 4-0 in the third inning.
Rangers in the clutch: The Rangers still haven't solved their riddle of hitting with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-8 in Friday's 2-1 loss to continue a bad trend. The Rangers are batting .219 for the past 13 games with runners in scoring position.
Ross rolling: Left-handed reliever Robbie Ross pitched two scoreless innings Friday to extend his scoreless innings streak to 14, the second-longest of his career. He lowered his ERA to 0.48. Ross has walked a batter in three of his past four appearances.
It will provide a nice learning experience from the rookie right-hander's eighth start. Triple Crown winners are especially tough to get out.
Rick Yeatts/Getty ImagesNick Tepesch had a learning experience versus Miguel Cabrera on Friday night.
"He's a tough hitter," Tepesch said. "That's a really good lineup."
Tepesch didn't have a clean inning. Cabrera was in the middle in three of them. It's not surprising.
Cabrera had a two-out single in the top of the first. Tepesch, a ground ball pitcher, kept the game at 0-all. He picked up his third ground ball to second baseman Leury Garcia in the inning.
Tepesch allowed another single to Cabrera with one out in the third inning but was able to work around an error, getting Victor Martinez to ground out. Tepesch's pitch count was still going up despite holding the Tigers scoreless.
"I didn't really get a quick inning," Tepesch said. "I put too many guys on base."
Cabrera finally came up with a runner on second in the fifth and delivered an RBI double off the left-field fence. Tepesch said he didn't make the pitch he wanted to against Cabrera.
"It was a curveball right down the middle," Tepesch said. "It wasn't a very good pitch."
The bad news is the Tigers scored another run in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Alex Avila for a 2-0 lead. That meant Geovany Soto's home run to start the bottom of the fifth wasn't enough to tie the game.
Tepesch and four relievers who combined on four hitless innings didn't get much help from the Rangers' offense. They were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Elvis Andrus couldn't deliver with a runner at third and one out in the third inning.
Manager Ron Washington decided it was too early for Andrus, a great bunter, to put down a squeeze play.
"I felt like Elvis would get a ball to the outfield," Washington said. "He didn't."
Nelson Cruz twice had a chance to get the Rangers a pivotal run. He grounded into a double play with runners at first and second and no outs in the fourth inning.
The Rangers had runners at first and third and one out in the eighth inning. Another chance to score a runner from third base with one out. Cruz bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Oakland for his weekly visit.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss his role with the Rangers. Ryan says that he has not been in contact with the Astros about a possible opening and he doesn't think that he would be interested anyway.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit and wastes no time sounding off on MLB umpire Angel Hernandez.
Play Podcast Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland joins GAC from Milwaukee to discuss what it was like facing former teammate Scott Feldman, Texas' upcoming series and more.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Milwaukee for his weekly visit and discusses Nick Tepesch, the Rangers' rotation, interleague play and more.