Texas Rangers: Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Athletics 4, Rangers 0

September, 28, 2014
9/28/14
5:16
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The regular-season finale ended with the Oakland Athletics clinching an AL Wild Card berth after almost blowing a playoff opportunity with a near second-half collapse.

The Rangers' season finished quietly, a 4-0 loss, to the Athletics at Globe Life Park, which ended a terrible season filled with injuries, inconsistency, a manager who resigned and major league records set for players (64) and pitchers (40) used in a single season.

The Rangers also set a franchise record by employing 23 rookies, which also led the majors in 2014, and the club needed the DL 26 times, most in the big leagues and fourth-most in franchise history.

A wonderful ride it was for the Rangers, who did finish the season strong by going 13-3 since Sept. 12 and 14-8 for interim manager Tim Bogar.

How it happened: For the second consecutive game, the Athletics jumped out to an early lead and this time they held it. Brandon Moss started the second inning with a double and scored on Josh Reddick's triple to dead center. An out later with the infield in, Stephen Vogt singled to center to push the lead to 2-0.

The Rangers did have runners at the corners with nobody out in the fifth, but Luis Sardinas struck out and Adam Rosales bounced into a 5-4-3 to end the inning.

How the Rangers do in the standings: Well, the Rangers finished September with a 14-12 mark and won 13 of the last 16 games. At Globe Life Park, the Rangers won eight of their last 10 games at home and finished 33-48, the lowest winning percentage in the AL. Against the AL West, the Rangers went 33-43, their most losses since 1988 (44). Texas won the season series against Oakland (10-9) and Seattle (10-9) this season. Texas finished 31 games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. At one point, the Rangers were a season-high 37 games out of first place.

The attendance: The Rangers headed into Sunday’s game ninth in average attendance at 33,529 and drew 2.7 million to the ballpark. In what turned out to be a lost season for Texas, the club drew at least 30,000 on average for the final four games of the season against the Athletics, who were fighting for a playoff berth.

What’s next?: The offseason. Rangers have three free agents -- Neal Cotts, Scott Baker and Colby Lewis -- to make decisions on in addition to the option on Alex Rios, which it doesn’t appear will be picked up. Oh yes, that manager thing. The club has to decide if Bogar is the man for the gig or pick somebody else. The team has some coaches' contracts that need to get picked up including pitching coach Mike Maddux, who expressed a desire to remain with the club, but would also be open to becoming a manager elsewhere.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Athletics 4

September, 27, 2014
9/27/14
10:25
PM CT



ARLINGTON, Texas -- If the Oakland Athletics are to celebrate the clinching of a wild-card berth this weekend, the Texas Rangers made sure they would not be doing so Saturday night on the Globe Life Park diamond.

Oakland's magic number to gain a wild-card playoff berth remained at one following the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Athletics before 35,326.

The Athletics would still clinch if the Seattle Mariners lost to the Los Angeles Angels.

A few observations:

Busy bullpen: It figured interim manager Tim Bogar would be utilizing a September-sized bullpen once an emergency starter was pressed into service. And he didn't disappoint, with a call going out to seven relievers: Alex Claudio, Shawn Tolleson, Michael Kirkman, Spencer Patton, Neal Cotts, Roman Mendez and, finally, Neftali Feliz for his 13th save. Only Cotts was charged with runs.

Quick on the trigger?: It appeared Bogar might have been too quick putting in the call for Mendez. The Athletics had Derek Norris in the on-deck circle to possibly hit for the left-handed Brandon Moss, but Norris was not announced. So when Mendez came on, Norris went back to the dugout and Moss stayed in the game. It worked out for the Rangers because Mendez struck out Moss on a 3-2 pitch.

Striking early: The Rangers turned consecutive singles by Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre into two runs in the first inning for a 2-1 lead. A stolen base by Andrus and Odor's advance to second on a throw to the plate factored in the runs. Andrus aggressively scored from second on Odor's bullet to right field thanks to a Josh Reddick throw that arrived in time but a few feet offline.

Filling in: Emergency starter Scott Baker in four innings limited Oakland to two runs and four hits and left with a lead but no possible way to get a victory without the minimum five innings pitched. The versatile Baker was pressed into service when Derek Holland (migraine headache) was scratched an hour before game time. A Josh Donaldson home run that traveled an estimated 396 feet into the left-field stands off Baker gave Oakland a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

Gunned down: Catcher Robinson Chirinos notched his 24th and 25th runners caught stealing, initially in the third inning, when his throw to Andrus beat Eric Sogard at second base. More dramatically, he erased pinch runner Billy Burns in the ninth. Chirinos ranked fourth in the American League coming into the game despite having made only 88 starts.

Offensively, Chirinos' two-run home run in the seventh increased the Rangers' lead to 5-2. It came on an 0-1 pitch, his 13th of the season, and it traveled an estimated 414 feet.

No ordinary Smo: Jake Smolinski increased the Rangers' lead to 3-1 with a fourth-inning home run that traveled an estimated 375 feet before touching down in the left-field stands. The home run was his third, all of which have come since he returned from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 16.

Up for review: Andrus was originally ruled safe on a stolen-base attempt in the third inning, but after a challenge by Oakland manager Bob Melvin and a 32-second review, the call by crew chief Bill Welke was overturned.

The Rangers unsuccessfully challenged the safe call on Athletics baserunner Donaldson at the plate in the eighth inning.

Defensive gems: Ryan Rua turned the wrong way on a scalded liner by Donaldson in the third inning but recovered in time to make a leaping catch in deep left field.

Beltre grabbed a sizzling liner off the bat of former teammate Geovany Soto leading off the third frame.

Leonys Martin got a good jump on a line drive to his left and made a sliding catch on one knee to retire pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo in the seventh.

The Rangers turned snappy double plays in the fifth (started by Andrus) and sixth (started by Odor) innings.

Up next: The Rangers put a cap on the 2014 season in a 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday start against Oakland at Globe Life Park. In a matchup of 24-year-old right-handers, Nick Martinez (5-11, 4.61 ERA) will be opposed by Sonny Gray (13-10, 3.21 ERA) on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Athletics 6, Rangers 2

September, 26, 2014
9/26/14
10:22
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- At some point it had to end.

Right?

The Texas Rangers' five-game win streak ended in a 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

As this season inches to a conclusion, the Athletics, a team that’s struggled in the second half, reduced their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to one, pending the outcome of Friday night’s game between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels.

Rangers starter Nick Tepesch displayed something most observers have known for most of the season: He struggles with consistency.

Tepesch (5-11) gave up six runs, of which five were earned, in 4 1/3 innings. He walked four while tossing 88 pitches. Tepesch earned a no-decision in his previous outing, Sept. 21 against the Angels in Anaheim, California, where he gave up just one run in seven innings. He left with the game tied at 1-1. Prior to that, he earned a victory at Oakland on Sept. 16. But that broke a four-start winless streak, in which three of the games resulted in losses.

In those four starts, Tepesch gave up 15 runs on 28 hits in 22 innings of work.

Prior to Tepesch’s start on Friday, Rangers starters allowed just three earned runs or fewer in 17 of the club’s past 18 games, starting Sept. 6.

Good starting pitching ended Friday night.

How it happened?: Leonys Martin started things for the Rangers with a leadoff single against Scott Kazmir in the first. He later scored on Ryan Rua’s double to center. The Athletics had the infield in on Rua’s at-bat, telling you the desperate nature of this team, given how poorly Oakland has played in the second half.

In the third inning, the Athletics got a two-run double from power hitter Adam Dunn, who was batting second for the first time all season and for the first time since 2011. Josh Reddick added to the lead with a solo shot in the fourth to make the score 3-1 in favor of Oakland.

In the fifth, the A’s broke the game open on Tepesch. With one out, Tepesch allowed a single and a walk before Jed Lowrie’s double to right pushed the lead to 4-1. Then Reddick struck again -- this time against reliever Robbie Ross Jr. -- with a two-run single to center for a 6-1 lead.

A solid stretch of games: Before losing on Friday night, the Rangers produced a major league-best 12-1 record since Sept. 12. Only two teams, the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays, had won 12 of 13 games this season. During the month of September, the Rangers are 13-11, tying for their second-most victories in any month this season. The Rangers went 15-12 in April and 13-15 in May.

A few hitting streaks and slumps: Martin is hitting 3-for-15 during this seven-game homestand, but over the past 21 games the Rangers' leadoff hitter is hitting .313 with multiple hits in 16 of the past 40 contests.

Elvis Andrus is hitting .211 in the past 31 games and has just three hits during the homestand.

Adrian Beltre is hitting .362 in the past 38 games and .333 during this homestand. Friday he went 1-for-4 with a ninth-inning single.

Rua has hit safely in 15 of the past 18 games, and this includes seven doubles and 11 RBIs.

What’s next?: On Saturday night, LHP Derek Holland (2-0, 1.31) starts against Jeff Samardzija (5-5, 2.92 with Oakland). First pitch of the third game in this four-game series is at 7:05 p.m. CT.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Athletics 1

September, 25, 2014
9/25/14
10:23
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oakland Athletics are slumping at the wrong time against the wrong team.

Adrian Beltre hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Rangers a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.

It was Beltre's eighth career walk-off. In a season in which the Rangers have to play spoilers in the final month, they've hurt the playoff chances of the Atlanta Braves and now could be doing the same to the Athletics.

Oakland is now a half-game behind Kansas City for the top spot in the AL wild-card chase, and Seattle is only two games behind the Athletics for the second wild-card spot.

The Athletics have lost seven of their past 10 games and are 14-29 since Aug. 10. At that time, they held a four-game lead in the AL West.

As for the Rangers, well, they've won five consecutive games and produced 12 wins in their past 13 games.

How it happened: Beltre beat Oakland reliever Luke Gregerson with a shot just over the right-field wall to win it in the ninth.

The Rangers tied the score 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Elvis Andrus singled home Leonys Martin. Martin started the inning with a bunt single and stole second.

Former Ranger Geovany Soto brought home the first run with a bunt toward Colby Lewis in the sixth inning. Brandon Moss, who walked to start the inning and eventually reached third on a single, scored with ease for the 1-0 lead.

Lewis gets a no-decision: In his last start of the season, Lewis pitched wonderfully in getting a no-decision. He held the playoff-contending Athletics to one run and six hits in seven innings, throwing a season-high 113 pitches. Lewis, who tied a season high with five walks, allowed a baserunner in every inning he pitched. In the seventh, he walked Coco Crisp to start the inning but retired the next three hitters with no problems. He struck out Adam Dunn on an 81 mph off-speed pitch to end the inning. Lewis' season ends with him leading the Rangers in innings pitched (170 1/3), starts (29) and tied with Yu Darvish in wins (10) and complete games (two).

One-run games: The Rangers are 24-22 in one-run games and Oakland falls to 21-27 in such games.

Odor as the No. 3: For the 11th time this season, Rougned Odor batted third in the lineup and he went 0-for-4 Thursday night. In the past three games he has batted third, Odor was 3-for-11 with four RBIs, a triple, double and home run. Before the game, interim manager Tim Bogar discussed using Odor lower in the batting order if he gets the second-base job full-time next season. On the season, Odor has 11 hits in 45 at-bats in the 3-hole.

What's next?: RHP Nick Tepesch (5-10, 4.14) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (14-9, 3.63) on Friday night.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Astros 1

September, 24, 2014
9/24/14
10:36
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers rookie right hander Lisalverto Bonilla made some franchise history Wednesday night.

Bonilla became the first Rangers pitcher to win his first three career starts in the 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park.

That's right, famed Rangers pitchers such as Paul Mirabella, Charlie Hudson, Kevin Brown and even Alexi Ogando haven't done it.

Bonilla shut out the Astros over six solid innings, giving up only four hits and picking up a career-high seven strikeouts as he threw 94 pitches. He has been such a solid pitcher for the Rangers since he was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Sept. 2. After two relief appearances, Bonilla moved to the rotation and has given up only four earned runs over 17 innings with 14 strikeouts.

He won't get another chance to start this season, but he brings his name into a conversation regarding young pitchers who might get a chance to stay with the big club next year.

How it happened: Elvis Andrus broke a scoreless game with a double -- his 35th of the season -- down the left-field line in the fifth inning that scored Leonys Martin from first. As the ball skipped down the line, it went between the legs of third-base umpire Ted Barrett who jumped out of the way. Martin got the inning going when he reached on a bunt single, his 16th of the season.

Andrus now has six RBIs in the last nine games after only having two the previous 28.

The game remained 1-0 until Rougned Odor's solo home run to right in the seventh gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead.

Ryan Rua put the game out of reach with a three-run homer to left center for a 5-0 lead.

The Silver Boot: The Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Astros. It was the fourth time this season the Rangers swept an opponent. When this week started, losing 100 games was a possibility for these streaking Rangers, winners of 11 of 12 games. The Astros have now lost 90.

At this rate, the Astros might tie the Rangers (93) in losses when they visit the New York Mets this weekend. The Silver Boot remains in Houston, but the Rangers finish the season series 8-11, winners of five of the last eight.

Odor's night: Odor reached base three times, on a double, walk and home run. He also stole a base. He has reached safely in 20 of the last 22 games and has four home runs and 20 RBIs in the last 26 games. Odor, who failed to turn a double play in the seventh inning, made up for it with his homer.

How many rookies is it?: The Rangers started seven rookies Wednesday night, tied for the second most in club history. The rookies who played for the Rangers were: Jake Smolinski, Tomas Telis, Luis Sardinas, Daniel Robertson, Rua, Odor and Bonilla. The two other times the Rangers played seven rookies came in the 1982 season, at Oakland and at the California Angels late in the season. The last time seven rookies played, then-rookie Gary Pettis hit a winning home run in the ninth to give the Angels a 7-6 victory over the Rangers. Pettis is the Rangers third base/outfield coach. Danny Darwin took the loss in that game on Oct. 3, 1982.

What's next?: Thursday night: RHP Colby Lewis (10-14, 5.34) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (2-6, 4.52 with Oakland and 10-11, 3.54 overall).

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Astros 1

September, 23, 2014
9/23/14
10:39
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The last three weeks of this Texas Rangers season have turned into something good.

A 2-1 victory for the Rangers over the Astros on Tuesday night extended their win streak to three games. The Rangers (64-93) have also won 10 of their past 11 games.

So much for losing 100 games.

Nick Martinez pitched well, leaving after 6 2/3 shutout innings to earn only his fifth win of the season. Yet Martinez, a rookie right-hander, has pitched well of late.

The 24-year-old has given up only seven runs in his past 29 2/3 innings, spanning five starts. Martinez's hope is that a strong finish to the 2014 season will allow him to get a chance to compete for a starting job next season.

He gets one more chance to do this when he pitches in the regular-season finale on Sunday against Oakland.

How it happened: Robinson Chirinos broke a scoreless game with a solo shot, traveling 405 feet, to dead center field to make the score 1-0 in the fourth. J.P. Arencibia followed it up with a double to right center, and after getting moved over by Guilder Rodriguez, he scored on Daniel Robertson's single to center.

It was all the Rangers would need. Although Texas left the bases loaded in the seventh, when Arencibia grounded into an inning-ending double play, Martinez and relievers Spencer Patton and Neal Cotts made the lead stand.

How did Martinez do? Martinez earned his first victory at home. Martinez kept the Astros off base with a variety of pitches and had some trouble in the second inning when he gave up a pair of two-out hits. But Martinez struck out Jon Singleton to end the inning. He got into trouble again in the seventh when Marwin Gonzalez reached on a two-out double. Patton came in and struck out Singleton to end the threat and keep the game at 2-0. It was the second time this season Martinez has left a game without giving up a run. On July 22, he pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the New York Yankees. He departed with the game scoreless and the Yankees eventually won it in 14 innings, 2-1.

The Lone Star Series: The Silver Boot remains in Houston, but the Rangers had lost the past four series to the Astros. Tuesday night's victory has given the Rangers a series win over the Astros and they're now 8-11 against them this season. In the past few weeks, the Rangers have won their past four series, beating Houston, the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland and Atlanta. During this stretch, the Rangers swept Atlanta and Oakland.

What's next?: RHP Lisalverto Bonilla (2-0, 4.30) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (8-11, 3.82) on Wednesday night.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Astros 3

September, 22, 2014
9/22/14
10:27
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- About two weeks ago, the Texas Rangers were on pace to lose 100 games for the first time since 1973.

A resurgence against some playoff contenders has pushed the Rangers away from the century mark and quite possibly the No. 1 overall pick in next summer’s first-year player draft.

The Rangers edged the Houston Astros 4-3 on Monday night for their ninth win in their past 10 games. Regardless of what happens to the Rangers in their final six games, losing 100 games won’t occur.

A successful 5-1 road trip brought some momentum back home and some hope that the Rangers can finish the season strong.

Guilder Rodriguez's first big-league RBI was the difference on a special night for him, as he got his first MLB hit and run scored while doing so in front of his father, who attended the game.

What happened: With the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh inning, the Astros intentionally walked Robinson Chirinos to pitch to Rodriguez. On a 1-0 fastball, Rodriguez singled over the glove of shortstop Jonathan Villar to drive in Jake Smolinski with the go-ahead run. The Rangers got the scoring started in the third, as Rougned Odor tripled home three runs with a shot to center. Left-handed starter Derek Holland couldn’t hold it up, however, as the Astros slowly chipped away. Chris Carter picked up his 88th RBI with a sac fly to right that tied the game in the sixth.

Rodriguez’s night: A career minor leaguer, Rodriguez, 31, made the second start of his big-league career and had two hits. Rodriguez reached out and lofted a single to left with one out in the third inning for his first hit in the major leagues. Rodriguez later scored on Odor’s three-run triple. Rodriguez also made a nifty catch of a popup in the top half of the inning. He failed to pick up a bouncer to third for an error in the sixth. But it was his single to left in the eight breaking a 3-3 game that was the clincher.

Bullpen works: Reliever Roman Mendez worked out of a jam in the eighth inning to preserve a 4-3 lead. Holland was relieved after 100 pitches when he gave up a leadoff single to Robbie Grossman. After Mendez retired Jose Altuve on a fly out to center he walked Carter. Dexter Fowler lined out to second, and Mendez struck out Jake Marisnick swinging on a fastball to end the inning. Mendez hasn’t allowed a run in his last four innings of work and has given up just two runs in his last 17 appearances.

Holland goes seven innings: The lefty has pitched well since returning from knee surgery, with an ERA of 0.99 after allowing just three earned runs in four starts. Holland pitched strong again on Monday night, and he danced out of trouble for the most of it. Holland blew a 3-0 lead, but he gave up three runs -- just two earned -- on seven hits in seven innings of work.

What’s next? On Tuesday night at 7:05 CT, it's RHP Nick Martinez (4-11) vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer (5-12, 4.39) in Game 2 of the series.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Braves 3

September, 14, 2014
9/14/14
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.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Braves 1

September, 12, 2014
9/12/14
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.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 7, Rangers 3

September, 11, 2014
9/11/14
10:52
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep of the Rangers with a 7-3 victory on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers, who are inching closer to 100 losses, have 92 with 16 games left in the 2014 season.

On the season, the Rangers have been swept 10 times, including twice by the Angels, who have a 13-3 mark against them. The teams play three more times before the season concludes.

In this three-game series, the Angels outscored the Rangers 24-7. L.A. leads the majors with 729 runs.

The Angels (91-55) have won a season-high eight consecutive games and 14 of their past 16.

How it happened: Leonys Martin is making a case to become the full-time leadoff hitter in 2015.

He started the game with a home run, his first in the leadoff spot in his career and fourth by the Rangers this season. It was the first time in the three-game series the Rangers held a lead.

The lead was gone pretty quickly in the second inning.

Rangers starter Nick Martinez got a fastball up to Erick Aybar, who hit a two-run shot to right field that gave the Angels a 2-1 lead.

Martinez worked out of jams in his six innings of work and had the game get away from him in the third. Martin dropped a fly ball as he was attempting to make a sliding catch on a Kole Calhoun fly ball to start the third. Mike Trout was hit by a pitch, and after Martinez retired the next two hitters, it seemed he would get out of it.

David Freese, the Rangers' World Series nemesis, drove in two runs with a single to center for a 4-1 lead.

That was pretty much it for the Rangers, whose bats just can't keep pace with one of the better-hitting teams in the big leagues.

Hitting Trout: In the three-game series, Trout was hit three times, twice on Thursday. He was hit by a pitch in the third and in the fifth by Martinez, who came in with only one hit batsman all season.

After Trout was hit by a pitch in the fifth, he flipped his bat and Angels manager Mike Scioscia glared out onto the field.

Trout appeared to make a questionable slide into second to send a message when Howie Kendrick hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Trout's slide, while hard and legal, forced Rougned Odor to jump high out of the way as he turned the double play.

Andrus fails in the clutch: The Rangers had their biggest chance to get back into this game in the fifth. Down 4-1, the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs for Elvis Andrus. Scioscia made a pitching change, sending in Mike Morin to face Andrus.

On the first pitch, Andrus hit a bouncer to Morin to end the threat.

Andrus did get an eighth-inning double, his 32nd of the season, setting a career high.

What's next?: A three-game interleague series with the Atlanta Braves starts Friday night at The Globe. LHP Derek Holland (1-0, 0.64) faces LHP Alex Wood (10-10, 2.90). This is the Rangers' last interleague series of the season.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 8, Rangers 1

September, 10, 2014
9/10/14
10:57
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When you get a steady pitching effort -- and that doesn't happen often for the Texas Rangers -- you need to drive in runs.

That has been a problem of late sometimes.

The Los Angeles Angels defeated the Rangers 8-1 on Wednesday night. Since beating the Houston Astros 13-6 on Aug. 29, the Rangers have scored only 21 runs in the past 11 games. In that span, they've been shut out once, held to one run four times and scored fewer than three runs 10 times.

Part of the equation of scoring runs is doing damage with runners in scoring position. The Rangers went 1-for-7 in that area Wednesday night and have gone 5-for-41 the past five games.

Rangers starter Nick Tepesch, who has battled with consistency this season, pitched well enough to win, but in 4⅔ innings of work, he gave up three runs and 10 hits. He battled out of some jams during his 93-pitch outing.

His teammates at the plate just didn't provide him with the run support needed.

How it happened: Everything unraveled quickly for Tepesch. He hit No. 2 hitter Mike Trout, but Albert Pujols tripled down the right-field line, his first in four seasons, for a 1-0 lead. Trout, who scored twice Wednesday, has scored 101 times this season. Trout became one of only six major leaguers to score at least 100 times in three different seasons before turning 23.

The Angels added to the lead when Trout scored on Howie Kendrick's double-play grounder in the fifth, and Brennan Boesch drove in another run when he hit into a fielder's choice for a 4-0 lead.

The bases-loaded play to Pujols: It was a gutsy move by interim manager Tim Bogar, and the percentages dictated he did it. Trailing 3-0, Bogar elected to intentionally walk Trout to get to Pujols with one out.

Phil Klein drew a 6-4-3 grounder from Pujols on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. It was a smart move by Bogar because if he knew Pujols could hit a ball on the ground, doubling him up was nearly assured. Pujols leads the AL in grounding into double plays with 26 and is second in the majors to Miami's Casey McGehee (28).

Andrus returns: Shortstop Elvis Andrus had missed the past two games so the Rangers could see Luis Sardinas. Andrus returned to the lineup and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Andrus' first-inning single snapped an 0-for-10 spell, and he has only four hits in 17 at-bats during this 10-game homestand.

What's next?: The three-game series concludes when RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.03 ERA) takes on RHP Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.81) on Thursday night.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 1, Mariners 0

September, 7, 2014
9/07/14
5:19
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Imagine if that dog hadn't been trying to play around with Derek Holland at the top of the stairs this winter.

The Rangers' starting rotation has been a mess with inconsistency and injuries.

Holland was recovering from left knee surgery and wanted to return. He didn't care that the Rangers were on pace to lose 100 games. He just wanted to help out.

He wanted to let everyone know not to forget about him and the rehab starts in Round Rock and Frisco meant something to him.

Sunday afternoon, the left-hander pitched wonderfully against a playoff-caliber team with seven shutout innings in the Rangers' 1-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

After proving to the front office he can field his position and could command his pitches, Holland is finally back.

Yes, it's too late, but as general manager Jon Daniels tries to figure out what to do from finding a manager to fixing the rotation and lineup, Holland wants to be crossed off the list of things about which to worry.

Holland is letting the Rangers know he's a dependable pitcher for 2015.

Sunday he struck out five and gave up six hits in 93 pitches as the Rangers picked up their fifth 1-0 victory of the season, matching a franchise record.

How it happened?: A scoreless game turned in the sixth inning when Adrian Beltre drove in Leonys Martin on a sacrifice fly for the only run.

Martin started the inning with a single, stole second and advanced to third on Daniel Robertson's ground out. Beltre brought him in for the only score Holland would need.

The end of the losing: The Rangers ended a season-high-tying eight-game losing streak with the victory. It came with a few tense moments in the ninth inning as closer Neftali Feliz got out of a jam with runners at the corners and one out. He got James Jones to pop out to short and retired Justin Smoak on a flyout to left. It was Tim Bogar's first victory as a manager.

Lineup, lineup, lineup: Bogar moved Martin back to the top of the order against a left-handed pitcher, this time starter James Paxton. Martin had three hits and a run scored in the effort. Bogar said before the game he wants to see if Martin can be the everyday center fielder against left-handed pitching.

Bogar also had his third different No. 3 man in the order, this time it was Adam Rosales, who had a hit and walk in three trips.

What's next: The Rangers have an off day before starting a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

Bogar: Situational hitting must improve

September, 7, 2014
9/07/14
2:10
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Seeing his players fail in situational hitting situations in the first three innings of Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Seattle did not please Texas Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar.

And a lineup littered with young players is not an excuse.

“The guys know what they’re supposed to do, and they’re capable of doing it," Bogar said at his postgame media conference. “We need to have better at-bats. We need to execute better."

Leonys Martin reached second base with none out in both the first and third innings. Needing a ground ball to the right side to move Martin to third, Elvis Andrus instead struck out in each instance.

The Rangers had runners at first and third with none out in the second inning after a single by Tomas Telis. Following a strikeout by Ryan Rua, Luis Sardinas and Michael Choice flied out.

The Rangers were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the first three innings. They finished 0-for-10.

Texas did not capitalize on a solid pitching performance from starter Nick Martinez.

“Early in the game, Nick was making the pitches he needed to make to get the double play in the second inning," Bogar said. “He was mixing his pitches and keeping [the Mariners] off balance. You could see his confidence growing. He kept us in the game."

One pitch spoiled Martinez's night. Kyle Seager drove a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall with Robinson Cano on base.

Reliever Neal Cotts was touched for two runs in the eighth inning and fell to 2-9 for the season. His ERA, which was 3.20 16 games ago, has climbed to 4.18.

“The other teams don’t seem to be waiting around," Bogar said. “They are going right after him."

Rapid Reaction: Mariners 4, Rangers 2

September, 7, 2014
9/07/14
1:21
AM CT

 
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two days on the job and Texas Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar is still looking for his first victory.

Actually, given that Saturday’s rain-delayed start did not end until after 1:18 a.m. CT Sunday, Bogar was into his third day by the finish.

The Seattle Mariners clipped Rangers reliever Neal Cotts for three consecutive singles and two runs in the eighth inning for a 4-2 victory before an announced crowd of 29,552 at Globe Life Park.

Cotts entered with a 2-2 score and began the eighth by walking substitute left fielder Chris Denorfia. After getting Robinson Cano on a fly to left, Kyle Seager, Kendrys Morales and Logan Morrison lined base hits. The latter two drove in runs.

The defeat extended the Rangers’ losing streak to eight, matching their longest of the season.

A few observations:

Quality start: Nick Martinez received no decision after working six innings, allowing six hits and two runs, the damage coming on a sixth-inning home run by Rangers-killer Kyle Seager that tied the score.

Seager’s home run traveled an estimated 377 feet into the lower porch of the right-field stands. The homer was his 23rd of the season and his fifth home run off Texas pitching.

Perhaps belying his 3-10 record, Martinez put together his fourth solid outing in his past six starts.


Rangers runs: Texas broke through with two unearned runs off Seattle starter and Highland Park, Texas, product Chris Young in the fourth inning.

Ryan Rua's RBI double scored Tomas Telis, who reached on an error by Seattle shortstop Brad Miller. Rua, who finished with three hits, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Luis Sardinas and scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Choice.

Wet but playable: The grounds crew did excellent work to get Globe Life Park playable after almost four hours of steady rain. The official delay was three hours, 13 minutes when the first pitch was finally delivered at 10:18 p.m.

Trending up: Coming off a three-hit game Friday, Leonys Martin led off the bottom of the first for the Rangers with a bunt hit and promptly stole second. He followed it up with a lined single to right to start the third and another steal. Martin, making his 16th start in the leadoff spot, came in batting .375 over his 22 previous games. The Rangers, however, fell to 2-14 with Martin hitting leadoff.

Not so clutch: Hitting with mates in scoring position continues to plague Texas. In the first three innings, the Rangers were 0-for-9, with four strikeouts and four weak popups. Just a productive out, perhaps choking up to hit a ground ball to the right side to move a runner instead of a two-strike home-run swing, might help get the job done.

Up next: The Rangers and Mariners conclude their four-game series at 2:05 p.m. Sunday with left-hander Derek Holland (0-0, 1.29 ERA) making his second start of an injury-plagued season. He will be opposed by lefty James Paxton (5-1, 1.91) on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Mariners 7, Rangers 5

September, 5, 2014
9/05/14
10:48
PM CT

 
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' Friday started with a 3 p.m. meeting, described as emotional, during which Ron Washington announced his resignation as team manager.

Then the business of baseball continued on the field in the evening, and the Rangers were beaten 7-5 by the playoff-contending Seattle Mariners.

Scott Baker lasted just 4⅓ innings, during which he gave up three home runs: a two-run shot to Kendrys Morales in the second inning before a solo shot to Mike Zunino and a two-run blast from Brad Miller in the fifth.

It was a difficult debut for interim manager Tim Bogar, but the Rangers (53-88) had been struggling with Washington running the show.

The club has lost seven consecutive games and has yet to win in September.

What happened? Do you really want to know? Really? OK, Kyle Seager drew a leadoff walk in the second and Morales homered into the right-field seats for a 2-0 lead.

The Rangers cut the deficit to one in the fourth on Rougned Odor's RBI single. Pitching coach Mike Maddux wanted to see a shutdown inning from Baker and he didn’t get it. With one out, Zunino homered to right-center and, after a single and stolen base from Endy Chavez, Miller homered to push the lead to 5-1.

Bogar replaced Baker with Shawn Tolleson.

The Rangers were down 7-2 when Adam Rosales' fourth home run of the season cut the deficit to three in the sixth. Leonys Martin scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to make things interesting for Seattle closer Fernando Rodney.

Interim status: Bogar becomes the fifth interim manager in club history. Del Wilber (1973), Connie Ryan (1977), Toby Harrah (1992) and Jerry Narron (2001) were the others. With Bogar the interim manager, Bobby Jones takes over as the bench coach.

First challenge: Bogar challenged a 6-4-3 double play in the eighth when it appeared Michael Choice was safe at first, but a review confirmed the umpires' call. The Rangers are 18-for-36 on challenges this season.

Rios out: Right fielder Alex Rios, who has been dealing with a swollen right thumb the past few weeks, has developed an infection. Team officials said he’ll miss at least a week. Rios, who has underachieved this season, is hitting just .184 in the past 28 games.

Minor league success: Myrtle Beach defeated Salem 5-0 on Friday night to advance to the championship series of the Carolina League, winning the best-of-three Southern Division series 2-1. Royce Bolinger drove in two runs and Chad James struck out seven over 5⅔ innings for the victory. Myrtle Beach will host Potomac in Game 1 of the best-of-five championship series beginning Saturday.

What’s next? Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.14 ERA) takes on fellow right-hander Chris Young (12-7, 3.46), a Highland Park, Texas, native, in a scheduled 7:05 p.m. start Saturday.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182