Texas Rangers: Rapid Reax


NEW YORK -- The Texas Rangers had two great escapes, a dramatic home run and a heartbreaking loss.

Newly acquired Chase Headley singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning to give the New York Yankees a 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night.

It ended a 4 hour, 51 minute contest.

First baseman J.P. Arencibia sent a 2-2 pitch into the Rangers' bullpen for a home run that gave Texas a 1-0 lead in the 13th inning. But it was short-lived.

The Rangers became the first team to reach 60 losses this season and missed out on a chance to win consecutive games for the first time since June 27-28 against Minnesota.

How it happened: With one out in the bottom of the 14th, Brian Roberts doubled down the right-field line and advanced to third on Francisco Cervelli's single to right. With the infield in, Headley singled to left field for the winning run.

The Great Escape I: With a man on and one out in the 12th, the Yankees' Brian McCann hit a routine popup behind short. Elvis Andrus, Jim Adduci and Leonys Martin came charging for the ball. At the last minute, Andrus, the shortstop, turned his head as if Martin, the center fielder, called for the ball. The ball dropped between the trio, sparking puzzled looks. Ichiro Suzuki bunted the runners over, and after Roberts was walked intentionally to load the bases, manager Ron Washington removed reliever Ryan Feierabend for Scott Baker.

With the infield halfway up the middle and at the corners, Cervelli lined out to Adrian Beltre at third for the second out. Headley, who pinch hit in the eighth inning, was retired on a weak bouncer to second.

The Great Escape II: The Yankees tied the game on an RBI single from Jacoby Ellsbury in the 13th. Carlos Beltran kept things going with a single to center and Ellsbury's speed got him to third. The infield was brought in for McCann, and he hit a soft liner to first which was turned into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning. The good news is the Yankees only tied the score; the bad news is closer Joakim Soria blew his second save of the season and was the last pitcher in the bullpen. The Rangers called in Nick Tepesch, Friday's starter, to pitch the 14th.

Nick, Nick, Nick: In his first start since June 1 at Baltimore, right-hander Nick Martinez pitched wonderfully for 5⅓ innings. He didn’t allow any runs on the three hits given up and he struck out three. He got into trouble just once, in the first inning when he gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner. But Derek Jeter bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, his second of the series, to erase any threat. Ellsbury singled to right but Beltran hit into a force play to end the inning.

Martinez, who played college ball at nearby Fordham University, wasn’t overpowering, but he placed his pitches in the correct spots and challenged the hitters when he needed to. His defense also bailed him out; Martin made a leaping, juggling catch against the wall in dead center field off a ball hit by McCann.

Martinez was placed on the DL July 2 with discomfort on his left side, and he struggled before his stint away from the team. Martinez was 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA over his past seven starts, pushing his ERA from 2.14 to 5.10.

One of the biggest moves of the game came when Washington relieved Martinez for Neftali Feliz with one out and a man on in the sixth. Martinez had thrown just 67 pitches. Facing Jeter, Feliz retired him on a 3-2 popout to short for the second out. Ellsbury ended the inning with a groundout to short.

What’s next?: Yu Darvish (9-5, 2.88) takes on David Phelps (4-4, 3.87) in a battle between right-handers on Wednesday night.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Yankees 2

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21

NEW YORK -- All Ron Washington is asking from this young Texas Rangers club is to compete.

Monday night in the Bronx, Washington’s kids did compete and earned a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

This victory pushed the Texas Rangers (40-59) to just 3-14 in July and prevented the club from slipping to 21 games under .500.

Right-handed starter Miles Mikolas (1-2) earned his first big league victory as a starter and did something so few in this rotation have done, going past the sixth inning. A Rangers starter has gone more than six innings just twice in the past 18 games, first Yu Darvish and now Mikolas. In the past 11 games, Rangers starters have gone into the sixth inning five times.

Mikolas went 7⅓ innings, allowing two runs on just four hits.

What happened? The Yankees clung to a 2-1 lead until the Rangers scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning, all with two out. Geovany Soto tied the game with a single over third baseman Zelous Wheeler’s head, which was followed up by Rougned Odor's RBI single past a diving Derek Jeter at short for a 3-2 edge. Shin-Soo Choo, who was in a 0-for-21 slide coming into the game, picked up his first RBI since July 12 with a single to center for the 4-2 lead.

What was so impressive about the rally was that it came with two outs and that the lower part of the order, hitters Nos. 6-7-8-9, got it going.

Choo ends the slump: Choo started in right field for the first time this season and first time since 2012, when he played for Cleveland. Choo said he wasn’t comfortable in right due to a sore left ankle. Choo saw his rough patch extend to 0-for-22 when he flied out to center in the first. He ended the slump with a third-inning double and scored on an Adrian Beltre fielder’s choice. Choo’s biggest hit was the insurance the Rangers needed with a RBI single to center in the sixth.

Mikolas’ night: The 25-year-old righty pitched himself out of trouble in several innings, including limiting the damage in the first. AfterJeter advanced to second on a one-out balk, Mikolas gave up an infield hit to Jacoby Ellsbury. Carlos Beltran’s fly scored Jeter, but Mikolas retired Kelly Johnson on a fly to right. At one point, Mikolas retired eight in a row until Ellsbury’s homer gave the Yanks a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Mikolas didn’t let that bother him and retired the next four batters before giving up consecutive hits in the fifth. Mikolas walked Brett Gardner with one out and two on before facing Jeter. Mikolas got Jeter to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Mikolas let out a scream on the mound after the play and Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor high-fived each other.

Errors, errors, errors: The Yankees committed five errors, three by pitcher Shane Greene -- two on throws and another when he dropped the ball from the first baseman. Brian Roberts and Jeter also committed throwing errors.

Health issues: Designated hitter Jake Smolinski left the game for a pinch hitter in the ninth with a bruised left foot. Smolinski fouled a ball off his foot in a previous at bat.

Soto's status for Tuesday night is uncertain, meanwhile, after he left Monday’s game after suffering tightness in his right groin suffered when crossing the plate in the sixth.

What’s next? Nick Martinez (1-6, 5.10) is scheduled to face fellow right-hander Chase Whitley (4-3, 5.10) in Game 2 of this series Tuesday. The Rangers will take Martinez off the disabled list and make a corresponding roster move.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 10, Rangers 7

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The All-Star break can't arrive fast enough for the Texas Rangers.

The Los Angeles Angels defeated Texas 10-7 on a searing 98-degree Sunday afternoon in front of 34,750 at Globe Life Stadium to complete a four-game series sweep.

The Rangers have lost eight straight and 22 of their last 25, so a four-day break couldn‘t hurt.

Mike Trout had a pair of doubles and drove in four runs to lead the Angels' attack.

A few observations:

So close: Rangers starter Scott Baker was a strike away from getting out of a long second inning, but Trout’s soft fly fell in a perfect spot for a three-run double. Left fielder Jake Smolinski made a diving attempt at the kind of catch he made twice on Saturday evening, but didn’t arrive in time to get his glove under the ball. Chris Iannetta caught the Rangers by surprise when he didn’t stop at third and scored easily.

After the Rangers tied the game in the third, the Angels came right back at Baker with a go-head run in the fourth on consecutive doubles by Kole Calhoun -- again off the glove of a diving Smolensk -- and Trout.

In his fourth start of the season, Baker was charged with five runs on nine hits in four innings.

Top spot: Daniel Robertson, inserted in the leadoff spot against a lefty, responded with two hits and scored a run. He finished 2-for-3, lifted for pinch hitter Leonys Martin in the seventh.

Bullpen blues: The Angels tacked on runs against all four Texas relievers.

Shawn Tolleson was roughed up for two runs in the fifth when the Angels increased their lead to 7-4. In his previous seven innings combined, the product of Allen High School had allowed just one run. Of the past 12 games in which Tolleson appeared, the Rangers have lost 11. But he has not been involved in a decision.

Neftali Feliz gave up a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by the heavily booed Hamilton. Feliz and Tolleson walked their first batter and both scored.
When left-hander Ryan Feierabend made his Rangers debut in the seventh, he became the team’s 30th pitcher of the season, tying a club record. Feierabend needed two pitches to get the final out in that frame. An inning later, he surrendered a run when Martin couldn’t track down Albert Pujols drive to the warning track. It was scored an RBI double.

Neal Cotts, working the ninth, was touched for an RBI single by Chris Iannetta.

Timely hitting: With the Rangers down 4-1 and desperately seeking clutch hits, Alex Rios came through with a two-strike double to right field, driving in two runs in the third inning. Rios finished with two hits and three RBIs.

Not on the head: No secret that Adrian Beltre doesn’t enjoy pats on the head. So that’s exactly why Pujols, after reaching third base in the first inning, gave Beltre a head pat when the two spoke briefly. Beltre countered with a quick chop to Pujols body, all done in fun of course.

Fundamentals: The Rangers displayed solid situational hitting. In the first inning, Elvis Andrus hit behind the runner, advancing Robertson to third ahead of Alex Rios' sacrifice fly to center. Beltre rolled over on a ground ball to second base to score Andrus from third base in the third. As a pinch hitter, Martin put a ball in play to first base to allow Rougned Odor to score from third and cut the Angels' lead to 8-7.

Defensive gems: Chris Gimenez, making only his second start of the season at first base, reacted quickly to his right to snare Kole Calhoun's bases-loaded liner in the second inning…Beltre made a nice over-the-shoulder snag of a Hamilton looper to save a run in the eighth.

Up next: After the All-Star break and an off-day on Thursday, the Rangers will begin a seven-game, seven-day road trip Friday evening at Toronto. After three games with the Blue Jays, the Rangers head to New York for four with the Yankees before returning home again on July 25 for a homestand against Oakland and the Yankees.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 5, Rangers 2

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers are playing better, but their losing streak continues to grow.

The Los Angeles Angels used the pitching of Jered Weaver and a four-run outburst in the sixth inning to deal Texas a 5-2 defeat Saturday night at Globe Life Park.

The loss was the seventh in succession for the Rangers and their 21st in 24 games.

A few observations:

Great for 5: Rangers starter Miles Mikolas did not look like a pitcher with a 12.46 ERA. That was his ERA when he took the mound for his third career start. Even though he seemed to tire somewhat in a rough sixth inning that skewed his pitching line, the Rangers have to be thrilled that the 25-year-old limited the Angels to one run (unearned) and four hits through five.

The night turned sour for Mikolas in the sixth. Howie Kendrick tied the score by rolling a single to right and David Freese put the Angels ahead on a base hit. Hank Conger made it 5-2, grounding a two-run double between Carlos Pena and the first-base bag.

Just five days earlier, Houston clubbed Mikolas for 12 hits and nine earned runs.

Ground under repair: Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor is a busy guy when he comes to the plate. He scrapes the dirt in the batter's box to get it just right, then draws a couple of lines in the sand with the handle of his bat before settling into his ready position. The routine worked nicely in the second inning when the 20-year-old spanked an RBI double, the key hit for a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Odor picked up another hit, a leadoff single in the seventh.

Defensive gems: Leonys Martin banged into the center-field wall chasing down Kole Calhoun's deep drive to start the game. ... Left fielder Jake Smolinski battled the sun in the second to make a diving catch on Josh Hamilton's liner in the alley. ... Smolinski made an even better play in the third, laying out at full stretch to snag Albert Pujols' bid for extra bases with three men on base. Pujols had to settle for a sacrifice fly. ... Elvis Andrus gloved a tricky hop and Odor made a nice turn on an eighth-inning double play.

Streak ends: Adrian Beltre, the American League's leading batter, saw his 15-game hitting streak come to an end after going 0-for-3. Beltre contributed a productive out in the third when his infield out moved Alex Rios to third base with one out. He drew a walk in the fifth.

Missed chances: The Rangers went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in Friday's 3-0 loss to the Angels. In the first inning against Weaver, the Rangers went 0-for-3 with the heart of the order, Rios, Beltre and Martin going down. Texas did the same in the third, going 0-for-3 after Rios' leadoff double.

Notes: Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill left the game after his fouled bunt attempt struck him in the face. He received stiches to his nose and was taken to a local hospital for further testing. ... Rangers pitching limited Mike Trout to one hit, a soft second-inning single. Trout homered in the first two games of the series.

Up next: The Rangers and Angels complete their four-game series in the final game before the All-Star break with the Angels' left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs being opposed by an as yet to be determined Rangers starter. Scott Baker and recently promoted Ryan Feierabend are the likely candidates. Starting time is 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Globe Life Park.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 3, Rangers 0

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers got a well-pitched game from Nick Tepesch but came up empty against Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards in a 3-0 loss Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Richards limited Texas to five hits in seven shutout innings before turning it over to the bullpen.

The loss was the Rangers' sixth in a row and No. 20 in their last 23 games.

A few observations:

Strong outing: Tepesch pitched better than his statistical line might indicate. He retired the first 10 Angels before Mike Trout broke the string with a 418-foot home run into the Angels' bullpen. It was Trout's second home run of the series and 22nd of the season.

Two defensive plays Rangers infielders couldn't quite make cost Tepesch in the seventh. Shortstop Elvis Andrus just missed flagging down Albert Pujols' leadoff single. Josh Hamilton followed with a base hit off the outstretched glove of Rougned Odor. Erick Aybar followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead and that was the end of the night for Tepesch.

Reliever Neftali Feliz couldn't prevent an inherited runner from scoring.

That smarts!: Rookie Jake Smolinski, batting .571 so far after four starts, stayed in the game after being hit above the left elbow by a Richards pitch in the second inning and promptly made a hard slide into second, breaking up a potential double play. But Smolinski did not return to the field for the third inning because of a left elbow contusion. X-rays were negative.

Collision course: Ron Washington's motivational clubhouse meeting Thursday might have had something to do with a near collision of Rangers in the first inning. Right fielder Alex Rios came running in on Trout's fly to shallow right and second baseman Odor was sprinting out. Rios dived out of the way at the last moment and Odor may have inadvertently contacted Rios as he made the catch. Rios stayed in the game and had two hits.

Wasted chances: The Rangers stranded a runner in scoring position off Richards in five of the first six innings. Leonys Martin failed on two chances, grounding to second in the first and to first base in the third.

15 and counting: Adrian Beltre keeps validating the players' All-Star voting, which saw him on top among third basemen. Beltre extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a third-inning single to right. It is the longest active hitting streak in the American League. Beltre last had a 15-game streak in 2008 when he played for the Seattle Mariners. In the eighth with a man aboard, Beltre drove Trout to the wall with a deep fly out.

Contact problem: Designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo struck out three times for the second straight game.

Defensive gems: There were quite a few for Texas. Beltre made a nice stop of a tricky hop off the bat of Pujols to end the first. Daniel Robertson covered a lot of ground to chase down Hamilton's fly ball in the fourth. Robinson Chirinos made a perfect throw to Andrus, thwarting Aybar's attempted steal of second in the fourth. First baseman Carlos Pena robbed Kole Calhoun of extra bases by spearing his line drive in the sixth. The Rangers turned a snappy double play started by Beltre in the eighth. It had to be snappy to double up Trout.

Up next: The Rangers and Angels tangle in the third game of the four-game series at 6:15 p.m. CT Saturday with Rangers right-hander Miles Mikolas (0-1, 12.46 ERA) facing off against right-hander Jered Weaver (9-6, 3.50 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 15, Rangers 6

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Angels delivered an early knockout blow with 13 runs in the opening three innings and cruised to a 15-6 victory over the slumping Texas Rangers before 30,686 Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

Texas, now 16 games under .500, lost its fifth in a row and has won only three of its past 22.

Mike Trout led the Angels with four hits, including his 21st home run, and drove in four.

Some observations:

Dubious record: A Rangers pitcher had never allowed more than 12 runs in a game -- until the Angels rocked Colby Lewis for 13 in 2⅓ innings. John Burkett and Charlie Hough, the two Rangers who allowed 12 in 1999 and 1986, respectively, can now rest easy as they slip from atop the list.

By the scoreboard clock, it took nine minutes for the Angels to open a 4-0 lead in the top of the first.

Lewis allowed 13 hits (one shy of the club record), but the defensive play behind him didn’t inspire much confidence. Second baseman Adam Rosales hopped a throw into the stands, turning Kole Calhoun’s leadoff triple into a run. First baseman Carlos Pena fumbled a ground ball when he appeared to have a play at the plate. In the Angels’ six-run second inning, Rangers right fielder Alex Rios gloved and then dropped Albert Pujols' fly to right that carried to the wall. Rios was charged with an error, making two of the runs in the inning unearned.

Speed and power: Trout had hits in his first two at-bats without getting the ball out of the infield. A big swing in the first generated a 40-foot dribbler. An inning later, Trout’s speed allowed him to leg out a ground ball to short. But on his third look at Lewis, Trout launched a 407-foot three-run home run over the center-field wall, the knockout blow for the Rangers' pitcher.

Hard feelings: Former Ranger Josh Hamilton was greeted with boos when introduced in the first inning and promptly doubled high off the right-field wall, the first of three doubles for the Angels' cleanup hitter. Hamilton turned boos to cheers in the third when he went down swinging. Feelings are still pretty raw about his "not really a baseball town" remark in reference to Arlington.

Rolling along: Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a first-inning single. It is the longest Rangers streak since Elvis Andrus hit in 16 straight last season. Beltre added to his club lead with his 13th home run in the sixth, squeezing one over the wall in the right-field corner. He finished his evening with his third hit, a single in the ninth.

Riding the wave: The incredible start for Rangers rookie outfielder Jake Smolinski continues. His two-run double in the first inning, followed by a single in the fourth and another RBI double in the ninth, made him the first Ranger to have eight hits in his first four games. He finished with three RBIs and scored twice. Smolinski came into the game as the first Ranger since Brandon Boggs in 2008 to have as many as five hits in his first three games.

Mopping up: Long reliever Roman Mendez put the brakes on the Angels' assault, checking them on one hit in 2⅔ innings. That’s two scoreless outings for Mendez in two major league appearances.

Matt West, promoted from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day, retired six straight in his major league debut.

Finishing it off was catcher Chris Gimenez, the second Rangers position player to pitch this season and the seventh in club history. He retired all three he faced and got a strikeout.

Up next: The Rangers and Angels meet in the second matchup of a four-game series at 7:05 Friday with Nick Tepesch (3-4, 4.29 ERA) facing off against right-hander Garrett Richards (10-2, 2.71 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Astros 8, Rangers 4

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Presented with two early leads, Yu Darvish could hold neither.

The Texas Rangers' All-Star pitcher yielded 10 hits and six earned runs, a season-worst in both areas, in an 8-4 loss to the Houston Astros on Wednesday night before 31,161 at Globe Life Park.

Texas trailed 6-4 when Darvish departed after six innings. Houston completed a sweep of the three-game series and caught the Rangers in the American League West standings.

The free fall continues for Texas, losers of four in a row and 18 of 21.

A few observations:

Not Yu's night: It was not the kind of boost from their ace the Rangers needed with things crumbling around them.

Darvish didn't help himself with a wild pitch that cost him a run in the second inning. He was slow covering first, allowing George Springer to leg out an infield hit in the third, but pitched out of that mistake with a strikeout and a double play.

Darvish struck out the side in the fourth by featuring a sub-80 mph breaking ball. But in the fifth, Robbie Grossman timed one and tied the score with a solo home run just inside the right field foul pole.

The real damage was inflicted by Astros catcher Carlos Corporan when he found the left-field foul line with a two-run double in the sixth to break a 4-4 deadlock. Shin-Soo Choo made a diving attempt at a catch but came up empty.

Oh Danny boy: On the bright side, Daniel Robertson came up with his biggest hit in his two months with the Rangers, grounding a bases-loaded double past Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez to key a three-run second inning for a 4-2 Texas lead.

Bullpen woes: Troubles of late continued for Rangers reliever Jason Frasor. Springer tagged him for a two-run home run in the seventh. That made it four straight appearances for Frasor to permit runs.

Lucky 13: Adrian Beltre wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning RBI single. In his last 14 chances with runners in scoring position, Beltre has nine hits.

Better start: Alex Rios doubled in the first inning and scored the game's first run. The 1-0 lead was the Rangers' first in 28 innings going back to Saturday's 5-3 win over the Mets. Rios was robbed of extra bases in the third inning when Springer crashed into the center-field wall while hauling in Rios' 400-foot drive.

Blinded by the light: The setting sun factored in two Houston runs in the second inning. Choo was slow to locate Enrique Hernandez's catchable drive that hit near the warning track. It went for an RBI triple. Hernandez raced home on a wild pitch for a 2-1 Houston lead.

Fast learner: Jake Smolinski was rewarded for his two hits in his first Rangers start on Tuesday with an elevation to the fifth spot. He didn't disappoint, lining singles to left, right and center in his first three plate appearance, giving him a streak of five consecutive hits. Maybe promotions from Frisco to Round Rock to Arlington over a two-week period are inspirational.

Up next: The Rangers open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at 7:05 p.m. CT on Thursday with Colby Lewis (6-5, 5.51 ERA) facing off against Hector Santiago (0-7, 4.50 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Astros 8, Rangers 3

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Another failed night of playing catchup left the Texas Rangers on the short end of a 8-3 defeat at the hands of the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.

Texas trailed throughout after Houston jumped to a 2-0 advantage in the top of the first.

It was deja vu for Texas. The Rangers trailed 5-0 after one inning of Sunday's loss to the New York Mets and 6-0 in the second inning of Houston's 12-7 victory on Monday.

That's 17 losses in the past 20 games for the Rangers. Texas (38-52), fourth in the AL West, leads fifth-place Houston (38-54) by one game.

It was a night when both managers emptied their bullpens. Houston's pen was a clear winner there as well -- five relievers to four.

A few observations:

Settling down: After an understandably nervous 33-pitch first inning, Rangers starting pitcher Phil Irwin salvaged an OK night from what promised to be a disastrous debut with the club. Irwin actually minimized the damage in a two-run first by inducing a double-play ball with the bases loaded. George Springer's massive 430-foot home run to center accounted for the only run charged to Irwin in his final three innings. He needed 50 pitches in his last three frames.

Even dozen: Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a fourth-inning triple. Beltre's drive to right-center hit at the top of the wall, missing a home run by only a couple of inches.

Going deep: Leonys Martin homered for the second time in three days and in each case he did his damage on a 3-1 pitch. Martin's majestic shot in the lower deck of the home-run porch traveled an estimated 384 feet and trimmed the Houston lead to 2-1. Before his home run Sunday against the Mets, Martin had gone more than a month since his last homer. The Rangers' center fielder drove in a second run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth and tripled in the eighth.

Slow play: The official scorer ruled "slow play" on Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez, allowing Houston's Robbie Grossman to reach after striking out on a pitch in the dirt in the first inning. Gimenez seemed concerned that Jose Altuve, the Astros' runner at second, might break for third. A throw to first that would complete the strikeout was delayed so long that Grossman beat it. With the slow play ruling, no error was charged and Grossman eventually scored an earned run.

A hit to savor: There was nothing cheap about Jake Smolinski's first major league hit. Smolinski smoked a double off the left-field wall to drive in a run in the seventh inning to cut the Houston lead to 5-3. The 25-year-old left fielder struck out in his first two trips. Smolinski followed it up with a single in the ninth.

Roman era begins: Rangers right-handed reliever Roman Mendez made his major league debut in the eighth inning in a tough spot, with two on, no outs and the Astros leading 7-3. Mendez retired all three batters he faced and followed it up with a scoreless ninth.

Welcome back: Save for one pitch to Chris Carter he'd like to have back, Neftali Feliz contributed two strong innings of relief in his return to Globe Life Park. There were a lot of good memories seeing Feliz trot in from the bullpen, even if this time it was the fifth inning instead of the ninth. Carter drove a Feliz offering 409 feet into the left-field stands to make it 4-2 and added a 403-foot shot over the center-field fence in the eighth for a 6-3 Astros lead.

Frustrating times: Elvis Andrus bent over and pounded his helmet into the dirt along the first-base line after flying out to center with two on and two out in a 5-3 game in the seventh.

Gift run: Two Rangers errors contributed to a tack-on Houston run that made it 5-2 in the seventh. After drawing a walk, Jose Altuve stole second and alertly continued to third on Gimenez's throwing error. Altuve trotted home on Springer's ground ball up the middle that Rougned Odor played into an error.

Up next: The Rangers and Astros close out the series at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday with Rangers ace Yu Darvish (8-4, 2.63 ERA) opposed by Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 3.06 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Astros 12, Rangers 7

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers crept a little closer to the AL West basement after a 12-7 loss to the Houston Astros on Monday night before 31,010 at Globe Life Park.

Fourth-place Texas (38-51) leads cellar-dwelling Houston (37-54) by only two games.

The Rangers lost for the 16th time in 19 games while the Astros snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Texas was forced to play from a sizable early deficit for the second time in as many days when Houston scored six runs in the second inning. The Mets jumped to a 5-0 first-inning lead in Sunday’s 8-4 win over Texas.

A few observations. ...

Rough start: Miles Mikolas’ fate in his second Rangers start was settled in the second inning when six consecutive Astros tagged hits and all six scored. The most damaging blow was a bases-clearing triple by No. 9 hitter Marwin Gonzalez.

There was no sign that such an offensive outburst was coming. Mikolas breezed through the first inning, recording three easy outs.

The Astros finished off Mikolas in the fourth on a three-run home run by Jon Singleton, a blast into the right-field stands that landed beyond the Rangers' bullpen and was estimated at 425 feet.

Mikolas’ pitching line included a troubling 12 hits and nine earned runs in 3⅓ innings. Oh, and four visits to the mound, three by pitching coach Mike Maddux and one for removal by manager Ron Washington.

In his first Rangers start at Baltimore, the 25-year-old pitched well. He left with a 4-1 lead after 5⅓ innings and ultimately was charged with three runs on only three hits.

Throwing strike one and two wasn’t a problem for Mikolas. Finishing off Astros hitters proved more difficult. Of his 88 pitches, 63 were for strikes.

On a tear: Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 11 games, his longest of the season, with an RBI double to right-center in the third inning. Two innings later, Beltre connected on a 408-foot home run over the center-field wall, his 12th of the year. Beltre came into the game batting .516 in his past 17 home games. The homer brought the Rangers within three at 9-6, but they could get no closer.

Double trouble: Elvis Andrus grounded into his 16th double play of the season in the third inning. In five previous Rangers seasons, Andrus has never hit into more than 19. The shortstop made amends in his next chance, doubling home three runs in the fourth inning with a drive into the left-field corner.

Getting started: Jake Smolinski, in his first major league at-bat, struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. Smolinski was promoted from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday when Michael Choice was sent down. Smolinski remained in the game in left field. Astros relievers racked up seven consecutive strikeouts in innings 6-8.

Defensive gems: Rougned Odor’s over-the-shoulder stab of Jose Altuve’s soft fly to center in the second inning robbed the American League’s leading hitter of a hit and an RBI. … Andrus leaped high to spear Chris Carter’s line drive for the final out of the fourth. … Alex Rios covered a lot of ground to chase down a shallow fly ball off the bat of Matt Dominguez for the final out of the sixth. … Left fielder Daniel Robertson robbed the unlucky Carter again with a diving catch near the line in the seventh.

Up next: The Rangers and Astros meet in the middle game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday with right-hander Phil Irwin (4-1, 2.47 ERA at Triple A Round Rock) making his Rangers debut. He will be opposed by Houston right-hander Brad Peacock (2-5, 4.38 ERA) on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest

Rapid Reaction: Twins 3, Rangers 2

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers relief ace Joakim Soria was touched for the decisive run on Kendrys Morales' RBI double in the ninth inning as the Twins squeezed out a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon before 36,779 at Globe Life Park.

Josh Willingham singled with one out in the ninth and was replaced by pinch runner Sam Fuld. Morales’ double landed just inside the left field foul line and took an odd bounce off the wall in foul territory, allowing Fuld to score from first.

Texas dropped to 37-44 at the halfway point of the season and wrapped up a disappointing 2-4 homestand.

A few observations:

Quality from Colby: Rangers starter Colby Lewis delivered his first quality start of the season, limiting the Twins to two runs and five hits in six innings. Lewis fell short of the quality start standard in his first 13 outings. The Mariners’ Steve Trout also went 13 games without a quality start in 1988 to share the dubious major league record.

Lewis struck out eight and for the second straight start issued no walks.

Minnesota worked over both foul lines to touch Lewis for two runs in the third inning. Eduardo Escobar grounded a double just inside first base. Jorge Polanco drove him in with a check-swing double over third. Joe Mauer's two out single, nowhere near any chalk in center field, scored Polanco.

Catching attention: Robinson Chirinos is grabbing attention as the major league leader in thwarting stolen bases. He chalked up his 19th caught stealing in the sixth inning. The Rangers’ catcher is also making some noise with his bat. He is now tied for third on the club in home runs with seven after a 389-foot drive into the left field stands in the fifth inning that made it 2-2. Chirinos bracketed the home run with singles in the second and seventh inning for a three-hit day.

Mine, mine, yours: Rangers first baseman Carlos Pena tested his range on a foul-ball pop up in the sixth inning and learned that it doesn’t quite go behind home plate. Pena came charging down the line on Chris Parmelee's foul ball behind the plate. Chirinos seemed to be settling under when he gave way to Pena. A final stretch from Pena came up empty. No error was charged.

Wasted chances: The Rangers failed to score in the second inning with runners at first and third with no outs. Already trailing 1-0, Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson faced the bottom two in the Rangers order. Michael Choice stuck out and Rougned Odor grounded into a double play.

In the seventh, the Rangers had runners at the corners again, this time with one out, when Choice grounded into a double play started by shortstop Polanco.

Challenging move: With a base open and Shin-Soo Choo at second base, the Twins chose to go after Adrian Beltre, the Rangers hottest hitter in the first inning. Down in the count, Beltre looped an RBI single to right field for the game’s first run. For the Rangers cleanup hitter, it was his fourth straight hit following a 3-for-3 performance on Saturday.

Glove work: Beltre made a nice play behind the bag on Brian Dozier for the final out in the fifth... Choice covered a lot of ground in left to chase down Morales ... Odor made a diving stop to his right on Mauer with a man on to end the eighth.

Up next: The Rangers embark on a seven-game road trip, beginning at 6:05 Monday with four in Baltimore. Texas will send left-hander Joe Saunders (0-4, 5.19 ERA) to the mound. Opposing him witll be Ubaldo Jimenez (2-8, 4.70 ERA) on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Twins 0

June, 28, 2014
Jun 28

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish pitched eight shutout innings, and the Rangers showed some solid offensive execution in a 5-0 victory over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers (37-43) scratched for runs in the second and third innings and broke it open with three in the eighth.

A few observations.

Darvish dominates: Through two innings, Darvish had only one strikeout. But he picked up the pace and finished with 10 in eight innings of shutout work. It is the fifth time this season and the 25th time in his career he has reached 10 strikeouts in a game.

Darvish particularly seemed to have the Twins baffled with an off-speed pitch floating over the outside corner to left-handed hitters.

The Twins managed to get only two runners in scoring position. Two singles and a wild pitch put Twins at second and third with two out in the second inning of a scoreless game. Darvish escaped on Pedro Florimon’s fly ball to center.

Home cooking: Adrian Beltre added three more hits, giving him 11 for the homestand (11-for-16). He came into the game as the league’s best hitter at home with a .361 average. Beltre has multiple hits in 13 of his past 16 home games.

Striking first: The Rangers came in with a 26-17 record when scoring first. Chris Gimenez presented Darvish with a 1-0 lead in the second inning, doubling over the head of center fielder Sam Fuld.

Beltre, running with two out, scored from first. Beltre might not have made it but for an errant relay throw from shortstop Florimon that came close to splitting the distance between home and first. Gimenez, who snapped an 0-for-11 streak, was credited with the RBI.

Fundamentals are fun: Aggressive baserunning by Rougned Odor and two well-positioned ground balls gave Texas a 2-0 lead in the third. After a leadoff single, Odor stole second, advanced to third on Shin-Soo Choo’s groundout and raced home on Elvis Andrus' tapper 40 feet from the plate.

Andrus started the game with a streak of 30 consecutive errorless games, spanning 119 chances. His most recent error occurred May 23 in Detroit. The shortstop actually had one chance Saturday that went unrecorded when he flawlessly gloved a green balloon that floated onto the infield grass.

Little things: The Rangers’ execution in a three-run eighth inning had to make manager Ron Washington smile. First, a successful hit-and-run play with Andrus grounding a single through a hole created by Choo breaking for second on the pitch. A couple of pitches later, Choo stayed in a rundown long enough on a fielder’s choice grounder to allow Andrus and Carlos Pena to reach scoring position. Pinch hitter Luis Sardinas dropped a suicide squeeze bunt to make 3-0, and Leonys Martin doubled in the final two runs.

Up next: The Rangers and Twins meet for the final time this season at 2:05 p.m. Sunday in a matchup of right-handers. Colby Lewis (5-5, 5.94 ERA) will be opposed by the Twins’ Kyle Gibson (6-6, 3.92) on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Twins 4

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers snapped an eight-game losing streak -- their longest in nine seasons -- with a very welcomed 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins before 38,111 Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Nick Tepesch limited the Twins to three hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings and Adrian Beltre staked the Rangers to a lead they would not relinquish with a two-run home run in the first inning. The win was the first for the Rangers (36-43) since outscoring the Oakland Athletics 14-8 on June 16.

Texas took a 5-0 lead into the ninth, but nothing comes easy for the Rangers. The Twins scored four and had the tying run at third with one out when Joakim Soria wiggled out of it with a strikeout and a ground ball.

A few observations:

Streak-breaker: Responsibility for breaking a long losing streak first has to go to the starting pitcher, and Tepesch (3-3) delivered. In addition to limiting the Twins to only three singles, he walked two and hit a batter. Of his 106 pitches, 67 were strikes.

In preparing the Globe Life Park infield minutes before the first pitch, grounds crew head man Dennis Klein made sure to give the dirt area in front of home plate a heavy soaking. Tepesch showed it to be a wise move, inducing 12 ground ball outs.

A key moment for Tepesch occurred in the fourth inning, and it didn’t involve a ground ball. Nursing a 2-0 lead, he slipped a third strike past Eduardo Escobar with two outs and the bases loaded, one of five punchouts for the 25-year-old.

On a roll: Beltre continued his torrid June, staking the Rangers to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a 381-foot, line-drive home run into the Texas bullpen. Beltre came into the game on a 9-for-14 streak over four games that saw his batting average climb 19 points to .325. An eighth-inning sacrifice fly gave him three RBIs for the night.

The home run was Beltre’s ninth, good for sole possession of the team lead -- one more than Michael Choice. All but one of Beltre’s home runs have come off right-handers.

A little D: The defensive play of the night came courtesy of second baseman Rougned Odor. The rookie speared a wicked one-hopper off the bat of Kendrys Morales in the second inning and almost made it look routine.

Relief is on the way: Needing to get only five outs thanks to Tepesch working into the eighth, Jason Frasor and Neal Cotts proved they haven’t forgotten how to pitch with a late-inning lead, but a rusty Soria struggled in a nonsave situation in the ninth.

Let’s get it started: Shin-Soo Choo, returning to the leadoff spot for the first time in 18 games, responded with a superb night at the plate. Choo lined singles in his first two trips and drove in the Rangers’ fourth run by crashing a double off the left-field wall. Choo scored ahead of Beltre’s homer in the first to give Texas a quick 2-0 lead.

Coming along: Look for switch-hitting Luis Sardinas to get more playing time as he continues to impress at the plate. The rookie infielder came into Friday’s game batting .370 over his past 10 games. He lined an opposite-field RBI double in the fourth inning.

Up next: The Rangers and Twins tangle in the middle game of the three-game series at 3:05 p.m. on Saturday at Globe Life Park. Rangers ace Yu Darvish (7-4, 2.62 ERA) will go against Phil Hughes (8-3, 3.40 ERA) on ESPN 103.3 FM.

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 6, Rangers 0

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Things just got worse for the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler can wave bye-bye to his former team as the Rangers were swept in the three-game series after a 6-0 defeat at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers have now lost a season-high eight straight games, their longest slide since 2005.

How it happened: The Tigers took advantage of some wildness from Texas starter Nick Martinez, who didn’t get out of the third inning. The Tigers' biggest hit was a two-run double by Austin Jackson that pushed the Tigers to a 4-0 lead in the third inning. J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly out in the fourth upped the lead to 5-0.

It seemed as if the Tigers got tired of scoring, because they took the rest of the night off. Either that or Rangers reliever Scott Baker took control of things, which appeared more likely.

What it means: The Rangers held staff meetings before the game to make sure everybody is on the same page. The Rangers want to keep going with young players and hope they develop over the course of the season. Well, the patience is being tested after this latest loss. The Rangers hit into three double plays, Martinez walked a career-high five and, for the 34,989 in attendance, it was a rather boring evening. The last time the Rangers lost eight in a row was Aug. 8-16, 2005.

More starting pitching woes: Martinez was wonderful in his last start, against the Los Angeles Angels, when he picked up a no-decision while allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings. He left that game trailing 2-1. This time, Martinez failed to get out of the third inning, and his line was pretty bad. He pitched 2⅓ innings, allowed four runs on six hits and walked five. In this three-game set, Rangers starters allowed 14 earned runs.

Somebody did pitch well: Baker, a right-hander, had the best night of anybody for the home team. In 6⅔ innings of work, he gave up two runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts while throwing 84 pitches. Baker’s night was needed for a bullpen that has been worked hard.

What's next: The Rangers on Friday begin a three-game weekend series at home against the Minnesota Twins. Right-hander Nick Tepesch (2-3, 4.38 ERA) goes for the Rangers., who face Kevin Correia (4-8, 5.02) in a 7:05 p.m. CT start.

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 8, Rangers 6

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers’ losing streak stretched to a season-high seven games on Wednesday night with an 8-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

How it happened: Pretty quickly. The Tigers scored three in the first inning: Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly drove in the first run, followed by RBI doubles from Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez to get things rolling against Rangers starter Joe Saunders. The Tigers pushed the lead to 5-1 in the third, but the Rangers cut the deficit to 5-3 with a three-run fourth. Saunders couldn’t keep the game close, however; he allowed a homer to Victor Martinez off a 0-1 pitch. Ron Washington saw enough and relieved him in favor of Shawn Tolleson, who wasn’t much better; on the first pitch he threw, J.D. Martinez smashed a homer to right-center for a 7-3 lead. The Rangers kept coming back, cutting the lead to 7-5 with two outs and a man on in the seventh. Carlos Pena lined out to first to end the inning. In the ninth, trailing 8-5, the Rangers cut into the lead when Adrian Beltre singled in a run against former Ranger and current Tigers closer Joe Nathan. Pena came up again as the tying run against Nathan with two out, but he struck out swinging on a fastball to end the game.

What it means: The Rangers currently have the longest losing streak in the majors at seven. This is the longest slide for this club since a seven-game losing streak in September. While there are concerns about the lineup, there’s only so much the Rangers can do with that outside of a trade. The pitching staff has been inconsistent. Saunders fell to 0-4, and you have to wonder about his status in the rotation going forward.

Saunders held up: It appeared Saunders finished his warm-up tosses early; he wrapped up while ESPN was doing an interview with Washington at game’s start and at one point threw one more warm-up pitch. Maybe he was out of sync when the game started. His first pitch of the game sailed to the backstop, and he gave up a leadoff triple to Rajai Davis. Ian Kinsler walked and Cabrera’s fly out brought home the first run. Saunders might have lost a rhythm during the delay. He lasted just four innings, taken out after the fifth-inning homer to Martinez, allowing six runs on seven hits. He walked five and struck out two on 84 pitches.

Boos for Kinsler: Kinsler, the former Ranger, received mostly cheers on Tuesday night in his first game at his former home. On Wednesday, there were more boos during his trips to the plate. He went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored on the evening. Unlike his wave to the Rangers' dugout on Tuesday after hitting a home run, there were no such hijinks Wednesday.

Pena gets going: Pena failed to hit a ball out the infield on Tuesday, but Wednesday night he went 2-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored. It was Pena’s first home run since June 20, 2013, when he played for Houston. The Rangers hope Pena can provide a boost to a lineup that's produced just 11 runs in the past five games coming into Wednesday’s game.

Up next: The Rangers have RHP Nick Martinez (1-4, 4.22) facing the Tigers' Rick Porcello (9-4, 3.76) at 7:05 CT Thursday night.

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 8, Rangers 2

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers' losing streak reached six games with an 8-2 defeat to the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park.

How it happened: Things were moving along quietly until the seventh inning, when the Tigers sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs, breaking a 1-1 tie. J.D. Martinez, who batted twice in the inning, hit a two-run homer off Colby Lewis for a 3-1 lead. Martinez, by the way, ended the inning with a strikeout.

Before he could strike out, the Tigers loaded the bases and beat up not only Lewis but reliever Ben Rowen, who allowed two runs on three hits before getting lifted for Shawn Tolleson. When the inning ended, Lewis was credited with four earned runs on nine hits in 6⅓ innings of work. The only positive from Lewis’ outing was he pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season.

What it means: Well, the Rangers are falling further and further behind the leaders in the AL West and for the two AL wild-card spots. At some point the Rangers have to end this slide, but against the streaking Tigers (who have a five-game win streak) it doesn’t appear as if that will happen soon.

Pena’s debut: The Rangers called up first baseman Carlos Pena before the game, and in four trips he struck out twice, bounced out to short and to the pitcher. Pena’s first at-bat came with two runners on and none out in the second. He struck out looking on a Drew Smyly curveball on the corner of the plate.

Kinsler faces old team: Ian Kinsler spent eight years with the Rangers before an offseason trade sent him to the Tigers. He played in his former home on Tuesday night and received a mixture of boos and cheers. He went 2-for-5 with a first-inning homer that traveled 384 feet, and a two-run single to left in the eighth. He also struck out on an off-speed pitch in the seventh. Kinsler committed a throwing error in the eighth when he threw a double-play ball wide of first base.

Some good news: Adrian Beltre’s second-inning single gave him 2,500 hits in his career. Beltre finished 4-for-4 with all singles, including an RBI single that tied the game in the third. He becomes the 97th player in big league history to reach 2,500 hits. He’s also the sixth player to reach 2,500 hits while playing the majority of the time at third base. George Brett (3,514), Wade Boggs (3,010), Brooks Robinson (2,848), Chipper Jones (2,726) and Buddy Bell (2,514) are the others.

Up next: The Rangers have LHP Joe Saunders (0-3, 4.11) facing RHP Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 2.33) Wednesday night.



Adrian Beltre
.326 14 53 52
HRA. Beltre 14
RBIA. Beltre 53
RA. Beltre 52
OPSA. Beltre .890
WY. Darvish 9
ERAY. Darvish 2.92
SOY. Darvish 159