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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Leonys Martin drove in four runs and the Texas Rangers routed the Chicago White Sox 12-0 Friday night.

Martin homered and was one of four Texas batters with three hits apiece. Robinson Chirinos also went deep.

Perez (3-0) retired his last 12 batters and struck out eight in his second complete game, including rookie Jose Abreu three times. Perez retired seven straight after Adam Eaton opened the game with a single and never allowed more than one baserunner in an inning.

Martin had a two-run triple and Chirinos hit a two-run homer on the next pitch in seven-run third inning off Felipe Paulino (0-2). Martin homered for a 10-0 lead in the fourth.


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Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, White Sox 0

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
10:00
PM CT
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- With starter Martin Perez needing only a little offense, the Rangers got him a lot, pounding out 18 hits in an 12-0 beatdown of the Chicago White Sox in the opener of a three-game series Friday night before 40,671 at Globe Life Park.

In what is becoming a routine performance for him, Perez (3-0) efficiently handcuffed the White Sox on three hits, going the distance. Most impressive was the way the left-hander avoided the trap of losing concentration when handed a big lead.
The 12 runs are the most by the Rangers this season. Four Rangers (Alex Rios, Jim Adduci, Leonys Martin and Robinson Chirinos)s had three hits. Martin was within a double of hitting for a cycle in the eighth (he struck out) and matched a career high for RBIs with four.

Bottoms up: The bottom two spots in the Rangers batting order occupied by Martin and Chirinos combined for six hits, six RBIs and a pair of home runs. Chirinos’ third-inning drive over the scoreboard wall in left field traveled an estimated 367 feet, four feet longer than Martin’s fourth-inning liner to lower deck in right.

Re-cycled: Though Martin missed an individual cycle, the Rangers hit for a cycle in the space of seven batters in the seven-run third -- Adduci: single; Martin: triple; Chirinos: home run; Shin-Soo Choo: double. Seven runs in an inning is the most by the Rangers since hanging 11 on the Astros on Aug. 19, 2013, and the major league high this season.

Remember me? The first pitch Rios saw from Chicago starter Felipe Paulino, a brush-back, was not something the Rangers' designated hitter might expect from his old club.

If the indignity bothered Rios, he didn’t show it, instead smoking Paulino’s next pitch to center field for a single, the table-setting hit in Texas’ two-run first inning. Later Rios contributed a two-run single when the Rangers broke it open in the third inning.

Streaking Elvis: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus singled in the second inning, giving him hits in 16 of the Rangers’ 17 games. Andrus also stole two bases, giving him four in the past two days and eight for the season.

What kept you: Adduci, the only Rangers position player without a start before Friday, drove in a run with an infield grounder in the first inning and followed it with hits in his next three plate appearances.

Up next: Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis (0-1,6.75 ERA) will be opposed by White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana (1-0) in the second game of the series set for 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.






Was Scheppers slow to reveal injury?

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
6:50
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Is it possible Tanner Scheppers, wanting to hold on to a coveted spot in the starting rotation, was slow to speak up about the inflamed muscle injury in his right elbow that landed him on the 15-day disabled list on Friday?

Scheppers said the tightness he felt was something new to him.

Manager Ron Washington learned of Scheppers’ injury only late on Thursday, and the Texas Rangers’ manager said Scheppers should have "told me sooner."

Scheppers was handed a 4-0 lead on Thursday, and, after two shutout innings, was tagged for six runs in the third inning. He managed to retire only one Mariner in the third before departing.

The pattern, a few good innings mixed in with a clunker, haunted him four starts into the young season.

"It is unacceptable at this level," said Scheppers, who was the Rangers' Opening Day starter.

Washington said he felt Scheppers transitioned to the starter’s role pretty well. "It has been a learning experience for him," the manager said.

But on how Scheppers handled the injury situation, Washington said he’d rather not comment.

"I haven’t had a chance to dig into it," Washington said.

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Tanner Scheppers put on DL

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
5:36
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers right-hander Tanner Scheppers was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday due to right elbow muscle inflammation.

"I'm disappointed, but at least the doctor says it is nothing severe," said Scheppers, who is transitioning from a late-inning bullpen role to that of a starter.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Nick Martinez is the most likely candidate to move into Scheppers' place in the rotation Tuesday at Oakland. Scheppers, the Rangers' Opening Day starter, has been plagued by the big inning. In four starts, he is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA.

To fill Scheppers' roster spot, the Rangers purchased the contract of 27-year-old left-hander Aaron Poreda from Round Rock. Poreda was a first-round draft choice of the White Sox in 2007.

"The wake-up call today was one of the best I've ever gotten," the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Poreda said. "The biggest thing I needed to do when I didn't make the team coming out of spring was work on my durability. Coming off Tommy John surgery, I had to get ready to pitch on back-to-back days. I think I'm ready."


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W2W4: Surprising White Sox come to town

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
12:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The final series of this 10-game homestand for the Rangers pits them against the Chicago White Sox. Here are a few quick things to keep an eye on:

* The White Sox weren't anybody's pick to contend in the AL Central. And while it's early, the team is playing well, hanging in with the Detroit Tigers near the top of the division. The biggest reason: offense. Chicago has led the AL in runs scored for most of the season and has been in the top three in batting average and OPS. The result is a competitive team playing well right now. The Rangers have lost four consecutive series to the White Sox, dropping nine of 12 games in that span.

* Credit Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez for helping that White Sox offense. Ramirez leads the AL with a .390 batting average and Abreu and Ramirez both have four home runs.

* Martin Perez has quietly put up solid numbers to start the 2014 season, going 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings (three starts). But there is one area he wants to improve: walks. Perez has walked three batters in each of his last two starts, something he needs to cut down on as the season progresses. His lone start against the White Sox came in August of last year. He gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings.

* Walkoffs. The Rangers have already had four of them at home. This team has shown resiliency and a flair for the dramatic. Don't be shocked if they've got one more in them before they head on the road to Oakland and Seattle.

* Colby Lewis should be over any jitters from making his first start in two years and is now just a normal member of the rotation. His next turn comes Saturday against left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana. Lewis gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings and admitted that while he was glad to get out there and see his velocity tick up a bit more than where he was in 2012, he expects to go deeper into games.

* Batting with runners in scoring position has been an issue for the Rangers during the last week. They came into Thursday's game 7-for-57 (.123) in their last seven games. They were hitting .352 (tops in the AL) with RISP before this seven-game stretch and are now just .250, still good for fifth in the AL.

* Prince Fielder has a .293 batting average in 40 games against the White Sox. He has hit a home run on this homestand but still hasn't really put together solid back-to-back games. We'll see if the weekend gets him going.

Stock Report: Bullpen up, offense down

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
8:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's Friday and that means we take stock of how various parts of the Texas Rangers have done over the past week.

STOCK UP

Streaking
Bullpen. After a shaky start to the season, the bullpen seems to have jelled into a cohesive group that has fairly defined roles. Alexi Ogando, who struggled in the spring so much that he lost his starting job and began the season poorly, has come around and is looking a little more like the guy who pitched so well in relief a few years ago. Jason Frasor brings a veteran presence. Joakim Soria has closing experience and even pitchers who the club is still figuring out -- such as Pedro Figueroa and Shawn Tolleson -- have improved in the past week. The group has some more confidence.

Kevin Kouzmanoff. So far, he's filled in very well for the injured Adrian Beltre, who can not return until April 25 thanks to a disabled list stint because of his strained left quad. Kouzmanoff has hit safely in every game he has played in a Rangers uniform and has shown a penchant for extra-base hits. Few can defend at third base like Beltre, but Kouzmanoff has done a solid job in the field.

Walk-offs. The Rangers have had four this season and two in this current homestand. Robinson Chirinos was the hero April 11 against Houston, a 1-0 win in 12 innings and Leonys Martin delivered an RBI single in the ninth Wednesday. Both walk-off wins in this homestand occurred in Yu Darvish starts.

Leonys Martin. He did it all during the Mariners series. He played solid defense, delivered a game-winning hit and has become a terrific bunter. The only thing he didn't do was yell loud enough (or low enough) for Shin-Soo Choo to hear him Wednesday on a pop fly to center. Martin is making a difference in the bottom of the order.

STOCK DOWN

Slumping

Hitting with runners in scoring position. It has not been a strong suit for this team, though they were a bit better in those situations Thursday. Still, the team is 11-for-71 (.155) with runners in scoring position in the past eight games.

Offensive catchers. The Rangers aren't getting much offensive production from their catchers. J.P. Arencibia had two RBIs Thursday but neither came on hits. He's hitting .071 on the season and Chirinos is batting .160. That doesn't mean the catchers haven't played well in other facets, but as far as hitting goes, it has not been solid.

Defense. The Rangers lead the AL with 15 errors in 16 games. And in the Seattle series alone they had a few other mistakes that weren't scored errors (but perhaps could have been). This team still isn't as crisp as manager Ron Washington would like it with the gloves or their arms, though middle infielders Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy have done a good job filling in when out there.

Tanner Scheppers. Big innings have cost Scheppers in three of his four starts and it was a six-run third that ended his afternoon Thursday (the bullpen and offense bailed him out). We'll see if he gets another shot to start when it's his turn in the rotation Tuesday, but he's got to find a way to minimize damage.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington asked outfielder Leonys Martin, the club's No. 8 hitter on Thursday, to sacrifice bunt in the third and fifth with runners and first and second and nobody out. By doing that, it brought up No. 9 hitter J.P. Arencibia, batting all of .083 coming in, in a run-scoring situation in a close game.

You can look at the decision two ways: On the one hand, Arencibia has hit into three ground-ball double plays, and by moving the runners you avoid that possibility. On the other, you send a strong message to Arencibia that everybody, no matter where they are in the lineup or what they're hitting, is trusted to come through in critical junctures.

Arencibia didn't get a hit in either opportunity. But he did hit two ground balls that scored Mitch Moreland each time. The second time was the eventual winning run in an 8-6 Rangers victory.

"Arencibia is a part of this team, and he has to deliver too," manager Ron Washington said. "So I put him in a situation to deliver and he got us two runs, productive outs. Base hits aren't always the key. He had two productive outs today.

"When you're in situations that we were in, we needed Martin to get the bunts down to scratch at least a run. He got two bunts down and we got four runs. Treat the game right and the game treats you right. As far as Arencibia goes, I feel like he can be productive. We just have to keep putting him in those situations and he'll come through. We're a team."

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The big inning bit Tanner Scheppers again Thursday. The question now is whether Scheppers will start another inning in the rotation.

Scheppers said he isn't worried about whether he'll hang onto his job, and manager Ron Washington indicated the plan -- at least right now -- is for Scheppers to make his next start in Oakland next week.

[+] EnlargeScheppers
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsTanner Scheppers fell victim to the big inning once again Thursday.
"It's nothing that's crossed my mind," Washington said when asked if he was considering moving Scheppers out of the rotation. "We know it's a work in progress. "

The Rangers staked Scheppers to a 4-0 lead and he couldn't hold it. Back-to-back home runs by Robinson Cano (his first with the Mariners) and Corey Hart tied the score in what ended up as a six-run third inning in the Rangers' 8-6 victory. Scheppers retired just one of the seven batters he faced in the third inning. Hector Noesi gave up a double to score the final two runs on Scheppers' ledger. Scheppers was finished after 66 pitches, but the Rangers' bats and the bullpen bailed him out.

"Those were not good pitches," Scheppers said. "They capitalized on it. They are good hitters and they are going to hit mistakes. Sometimes you get beat and you've got to tip your cap and focus on the next one and continuing working."

In three of Scheppers' four starts, one inning has cost him. He allowed a six-run inning on Opening Day, the five-run fourth against Houston in his last start and a six-run third Thursday. So 17 of the 20 runs that Scheppers has allowed this season have come in three innings.

Scheppers' next turn in the rotation comes Tuesday in Oakland, the middle game of that three-game series. It's likely the Rangers will look at their options, and if they decide to make a change, Nick Martinez is the logical choice. He pitches tonight for Double-A Frisco, and assuming he has no issues, he'd be on schedule to pitch in Scheppers' spot Tuesday. Martinez made his big league debut in Tampa Bay and allowed three runs on four hits in six innings with three strikeouts, three walks and two homers. It was a solid debut with family watching, though the Rangers lost the game, 5-4. Nick Tepesch and Scott Baker are in Triple-A as possible options.

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kevin Kouzmanoff delivered again, doubling twice and scoring two runs as the Texas Rangers beat Seattle Mariners 8-6 Thursday.

Texas lost the opener of the four-game series on Monday night, but won the last three.

The 32-year-old Kouzmanoff is hitting .414 since joining the Rangers on April 9 after starting third baseman Adrian Beltre strained his left quadriceps.

Kouzmanoff has hit in all eight games in which he has played, beginning with a pinch-hitting appearance followed by seven straight starts. Beltre was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday.

Robinson Cano homered for the Mariners. He's in a 3-for-18 slump.


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Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Mariners 6

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
4:35
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was a strange day at Globe Life Park as neither starting pitcher could do much of anything. The Rangers had a 4-0 lead, lost it and then managed to snag the advantage back in the fifth and hang on for an 8-6 victory. Texas takes three out of four from the Mariners in the process and has won three straight games for the first time since the last week of the regular season in 2013, when they won seven straight to force Game 163. It's also the first time this season the Rangers have been two games above .500. Some thoughts:

Big inning hurts Scheppers (again): Tanner Scheppers couldn't get through the third inning Thursday. After talking about the need to minimize damage when a five-run inning hurt him in his last start, Scheppers wasn't able to do it. Staked to a 4-0 lead, he gave it all back in two swings -- consecutive home runs from Robinson Cano (his first with the Mariners this season) and Corey Hart. Scheppers ended up allowing six runs (two scored with Hector Noesi on the mound) on six hits in his outing with three walks and two strikeouts. He's allowed 20 runs this season and 17 of those have come in three big innings -- two six-run innings and a five-run inning.

First-inning runs: The Rangers came into Thursday's game with three first-inning runs all season. They scored three with two outs to give Scheppers the lead. After an Elvis Andrus double, Alex Rios struck out for the second out. The Mariners walked Prince Fielder intentionally to pitch to the red-hot Kevin Kouzmanoff. It didn't work. Kouzmanoff doubled to drive home the first run. Mitch Moreland then delivered a two-out, two-run single to center to make it 3-0.

Two-strike hits: All four runs scored in the first two innings by the Rangers came on two-strike counts. Texas came into the game batting .208 in those situations, good enough for third in the AL (two teams have .209 averages). The Rangers increased that average Thursday and did it early. The most impressive at-bat came from Kouzmanoff, who fell behind 0-2, worked it back to 2-2 and hit the eighth pitch for a double. The Rangers also had a two-strike bunt by Leonys Martin in the third that helped score a run when J.P. Arencibia grounded out to the left side of the infield, scoring Moreland.

Kouzmanoff hot: The Rangers' fill-in third baseman just continues to hit, increasing his streak of hitting safely to eight games (that's all that he's played in a Rangers uniform). Kouzmanoff hit doubles in his first two at-bats and has three multi-hit games since getting called up. The Mariners walked Fielder twice to pitch to Kouzmanoff. It didn't work in the first, but it did in the seventh.

Fielder can't cash in: The slugger got two chances with runners in scoring position Thursday and wasn't able to convert. The struggling slugger is now 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position this season. One of those chances came with the count already at two strikes. Rios, who has vowed to stay aggressive on the bases even with Fielder hitting behind him, stole second base and went to third on an errant throw by catcher John Buck.

Relief respect: The Rangers bullpen pitched 6 2/3 innings Thursday and didn't allow a run. Hector Noesi gave up some hard hits, but both of the runs he gave up were inherited runners charged to Scheppers. Pedro Figueroa, Jason Frasor, Alexi Ogando and Joakim Soria got the job done.

Small ball: Martin was asked to put down sacrifice bunts twice Thursday with runners at first and second. He converted both times, and Arencibia, behind him, hit ground balls to score a run in each frame. The bunt eliminated the chance at a double play and Arencibia did what he had to by hitting the ball on the ground. The average won't be helped, but the catcher did his job in those situations.

Up next: The Chicago White Sox come to town with LHP Martin Perez (2-0, 2.70 ERA) opposing RHP Felipe Paulino (0-1, 7.98 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21.

Leonys Martin's voice needs more bass?

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
11:41
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It turns out that Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin was calling for the ball that was dropped in the outfield during Wednesday's game, but Shin-Soo Choo couldn't hear his high-pitched teammate.

"We're trying to work with Leonys on getting some bass in his voice," manager Ron Washington joked Thursday morning. "Then Choo would have heard him. It's just communication, that's all."

Martin and Choo came in to field a fly ball off the bat of Mike Zunino in the fourth inning and bumped into each other. The ball glanced off Martin's glove, but neither player was given an error. It was scored as a hit.

"He said he was calling it the whole way, but he was at a tenor voice and it was mixing in with the crowd," Washington said. "We've got a speech coach we're bringing in to help him get some bass in his voice."

Martin ended up as the hero in Wednesday's walkoff victory, delivering a single in the bottom of the ninth to complete the Rangers' 3-2 comeback. Martin is 6-for-18 in this homestand, but the triple in the eighth inning snapped an 0-for-11 stretch for him.

Join us for a live in-game chat today

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
12:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners get going at 1:05 p.m. today and we'll be chatting about it during the game.

The room will be open here on the blog and on ESPNDallas.com at 12:30 p.m., so join us during your work day.

It's the final game of the series between these two teams before the Rangers welcome the Chicago White Sox to town.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers starter Matt Harrison is scheduled to throw six innings or 95 pitches Saturday in a rehab start, and that likely won't be his last. General manager Jon Daniels said Harrison will probably need another one or two starts before returning to the Rangers. The club has a 30-day window for Harrison to rehab before they have to make a decision on activating him in early May.

Harrison and the Rangers had originally targeted April 23 or 24 for a return, but weather issues hampered Harrison's progress. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings in his last rehab start and is looking for better results this time.

"I've got to get more than 3 1/3 innings," Harrison said. "It's been rainouts and delays and more rain. I know you're supposed to ignore that stuff, but it's difficult when you're sat around a hotel for two days and haven't been able to go outside and then you pitch. I've got to stay healthy and be more aggressive."

Soto still recovering: Catcher Geovany Soto was in the clubhouse Wednesday wearing a brace on his right knee as he continues to heal from surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Soto said he expects to have the brace on until mid-May and isn't sure what the rehab process is after that, but he believes that he likely won't return to the big leagues until July. Daniels said there isn't a firm timetable for Soto's return but that he's still hopeful for some point in July.

"Basically, I'm just being patient," Soto said. "Mentally, it's tough. You come to the park and cheer on your teammates, but it's tough because I can't be out there helping them win."

Briefly: Derek Holland continues to progress and Daniels said he's probably even ahead of schedule. But he's yet to take any PFP or work on his lateral movement. He continues to build up arm strength with bullpen sessions.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- One bad inning did in Tanner Scheppers on Saturday. He gave up all five of his runs in the fourth inning during a 6-5 loss to the Houston Astros.

Scheppers ended up going seven innings and collected a career-high six strikeouts with one walk. But that one inning cost him dearly.

"I want to go out there, attack with my fastball and go from there," Scheppers said. "I think at the end of the day, I've got to keep my faith in my ability, go out there and use my strengths, keep the ball on the ground and have the offense score some runs."

Scheppers wants to take the positives from his last outing and apply them, but the reliever-turned-starter knows he also has to get results. He's learning about making the adjustments from the bullpen to the rotation.

"Your mistakes are under a microscope," Scheppers said. "You make a mistake and they take advantage of it and it can hurt you. It's about minimizing those mistakes, keeping the game slow and focusing on each pitch."

Rangers manager Ron Washington sees a pitcher who is getting closer to putting it all together.

"He has to minimize the damage," Washington said of Scheppers' rough inning. "He's getting better. It's a learning experience for him. He's used to coming in, going one inning, rushing through it and leaving everything out there. Now he's going through a lineup three or four times.

"You expect an inning to get away. But if it gets away you hope it's two runs, not five."

Rios will stay aggressive: Outfielder Alex Rios said he's going to continue to be assertive on the bases, even with Prince Fielder hitting behind him. Rios was at first base Tuesday with Fielder up and tried to steal second and was thrown out, eliminating Fielder's chance to try to move him around the bases.

"I'm not going to quit being aggressive on the bases," Rios said. "I'm going to do what I can do to advance and make it easier for him with me in scoring position. I thought I had a good jump, but he had a good pitch to throw me out. I had a great chance, but it was a good throw."

The pitch was up and away, almost like a pitchout, and catcher Mike Zunino made a great throw. Zunino also got Elvis Andrus trying to steal.

"That Zunino kid can throw. I've read stuff about him and now I'm seeing it," Washington said. "Maybe we need to stop trying to run on him."

Bullpen improving: It was a rocky first nine games for the Rangers bullpen. Neal Cotts and Alexi Ogando struggled and the relievers as a group put up a 6.21 ERA in those first nine games. Opponents were hitting .288 against them. But things have improved dramatically since then.

In the six games of this homestand, the bullpen has a 0.60 ERA (one earned run in 15 innings) and opponents are hitting .208. Cotts has pitched better recently, and Ogando earned his first save since 2012 Sunday against Houston. And Pedro Figueroa came in and got a 1-2-3 eighth inning Wednesday, keeping it a two-run game before the Rangers were able to come back.

"What's expected of them is starting to fall in place a little better," Washington said. "The main guys are starting to put it together."

Washington has been pleased with Shawn Tolleson, who is one of the secondary pieces in the bullpen. Tolleson has allowed one run in his 5 2/3 innings of work and it came in his debut on Opening Day.

"I'm still feeling him out," Washington said. "When the bullpen is down, we'll need one of those guys in a big situation. As long as Cotts, [Jason] Frasor, Ogando and [Joakim] Soria are available, they'll get it. When they're not, he'll get a chance to fill in. My first impression has been favorable since spring training. He's got pitches. He's got a split, changeup, doesn't throw the ball down the middle of the plate and has an idea of what he's doing."


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish did not have his impressive stuff on Wednesday, but it was still his most impressive start of 2014.

Yeah, that might seem odd considering he was coming off eight shutout innings of one-hit ball against the Houston Astros last week. But Darvish did what aces must do when things aren't going exactly right: He grinded and kept his team in the game.

Darvish's fastball command wasn't good. His slider wasn't as dominant as usual. He seemed out of sync early, as the Mariners came in with a good game plan. They knew Darvish was getting ahead in counts with first-pitch fastballs and decided to attack it. The result was a triple by Nick Franklin with one out in the second inning, igniting just enough Seattle offense. Darvish walked Dustin Ackley with two outs -- probably his worst at-bat of the game -- then gave up consecutive singles to fall behind 2-0.

At that point, Darvish knew he needed to alter his approach if he was to pitch deep into the game.

"I had to have really good communication with [catcher Robinson] Chirinos during the game," Darvish said through an interpreter. "We both knew they were trying to hack early. He was calling a lot of fastballs and sliders, so we talked and I told him that I have other pitches, as well.

"After that, we were able to get on the same page and throw a lot of effective breaking balls on the first pitch."

Darvish utilized his curve, change and splitter more for the rest of the game. And despite some long at-bats and a couple of walks, he got through seven innings in 107 pitches.

With Felix Hernandez hypnotizing the Rangers' offense, Darvish had to find a way to minimize damage and not let the game get away from him. He did exactly that.

It's easy to stay in a rhythm and come out with great numbers when most of what you're throwing is working -- and that's most of the time for Darvish. But that wasn't the case on Wednesday, and he still gave his team seven innings and a quality start.

What he didn't get were runs. Darvish has now pitched 22 innings this season and has zero runs of support.

"It's not like I'm able to go to the batter's box and hit, but I have a lot of respect for my teammates," Darvish said. "It is what it is. Sometimes there are days like this."

That's especially true when Felix Hernandez is on the mound. And he had his top-shelf stuff working on Wednesday. While Darvish's fastball command was wonky, Hernandez was spotting everything where he wanted and using that devastating changeup to get plenty of swings and misses. Hernandez had nine strikeouts and just one walk and made a surprisingly early exit after a leadoff triple in the eighth. It was the hardest hit ball the Rangers had all day off him (by Leonys Martin, later the hero in the ninth) and manager Lloyd McClendon decided to bring in lefty Charlie Furbush. Pinch hitter Michael Choice hit a sac fly to get the Rangers within one.

Darvish seemed destined to pick up the loss until the Rangers resiliency kicked in. A two-out single by Kevin Kouzmanoff, a walk by Mitch Moreland (who never attempted to swing during the at-bat) and an error by Mariners shortstop Brad Miller loaded the bases. Then a wild pitch and a single by Martin gave the Rangers the unlikely walk-off win.

They aren't in position to produce the heroics without Darvish hanging in despite not having his Grade A repertoire. That's what made Wednesday his best start of the season.

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Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.

Galloway & Company: Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ron Washington

Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Fire Wash?

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Martin Perez
WINS ERA SO IP
3 1.86 20 29
OTHER LEADERS
BAL. Martin .315
HRR. Chirinos 2
RBIL. Martin 9
RE. Andrus 11
OPSS. Choo .827
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23