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Game thoughts: Feldman's effort ends with no-decision

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Maybe the day's earlier acquisition of Cliff Lee was already paying off for Scott Feldman by instantly taking the pressure off of him to perform up to the standards of a staff ace. Maybe the four-run cushion he received after three innings afforded him a comfort zone. Or maybe he just likes 9:30 start times.

Whatever it was on a drizzly night, the Texas Rangers were happy to see Feldman coast along, and then everybody breathed a sigh of relief as Feldman retired the Baltimore Orioles in order in the sixth and seventh innings, two frames that have continually undressed the right-hander this struggle of a season.

The problem, though, was the Rangers' relievers gagged on a 6-2 lead in the ninth that led to a demoralizing 7-6 defeat in 10 innings. For the second straight night against the Orioles, the Rangers blew a 4-0 lead and lost. If you're scoring at home, that's two blown four-run leads on Friday and three for the series.

Feldman provided one of his best outings after Friday's 2 1/2-hour rain delay, scattering eights hits over seven-plus innings. Of course, Feldman didn't get his sixth win in what looked like a sure-fire victory before Neftali Feliz, pitching in the ninth despite a 6-2 Rangers lead, loaded the bases and then gave up a game-tying, two-out grand slam to Corey Patterson.

Dustin Nippert then gave up a homer to left to Jake Fox to lead off the 10th inning at approximately 1:08 a.m. It was another strange loss on this 10-game homestand that now stands at 3-5 heading into the All-Star break. It was especially disheartening considering the big news of the day in landing Lee and because the Angels took a 6-5 win in 10 innings over Oakland to cut the Rangers' division lead to 4 1/2 games.

With a staff-high eight losses, Feldman needed the strong night to end a personal two-game losing skid -- even if he had to settle for a no-decision. He allowed the lead-off man to reach base in the first, second, fourth, fifth and eighth innings, but was able to mostly pitch around trouble. He helped himself by not walking a batter.

It's an outing Feldman can build on, but a game the Rangers would rather forget.

*Neftali Feliz allowed two singles and a walk in the ninth before Patteron's grand slam into the second deck of the right-field porch. He entered the game with a 6-2 lead so he was not eligible for a save and therefore was not credited with a blown save.

*How potent is a lineup when Nelson Cruz bats in the seven-hole? Cruz hit seventh Friday night with catcher Benjie Molina hitting sixth. Both played a role in the four-run third inning in which the Rangers batted around. Michael Young and Ian Kinsler hit consecutive singles to set up Vladimir Guerrero's 20th home run of the season for a 3-0 lead. After Josh Hamilton struck out, Molina singled and Cruz belted one to the left-field wall to put runners at second and third. Consecutive walks scored Molina for a 4-0 lead.

*Elvis Andrus led off the four-run third inning with a groundout to second base and ended it with a groundout to third base.

*The Rangers chased Baltimore starter Brian Matusz after just three innings. He gave up four runs on six hits and walked in the fourth run of Texas' four-run third.

*Josh Hamilton's infield single in the fifth inning extended his home hitting streak to 29 games, one shy of the club record. He added two more hits -- plus a stolen base -- to raise his average to a team-leading .349.

*Chris Davis traveled from Round Rock on Friday where the Triple-A Oklahoma Redhawks were playing after being recalled by the Rangers to replace the traded Justin Smoak. Davis made it to Rangers Ballpark in time for the game, but manager Ron Washington opted to stick with Joaquin Arias at first base. Davis did make his first big-league plateappearance since April 22 when he pinch-hit for Arias in the sixth inning with no outs and David Murphy on first.

The lefty, who had been swinging a hot bat for Oklahoma City, bounced out to first. Davis stayed in the game at first base. Earlier in the day, manager Ron Washington said Davis will be the club's everyday first baseman. He flied out to left in his second at-bat. In the bottom of the ninth, with the game-winning run at second and two out, Davis popped out to left field.

*Right-hander Darren O'Day made things interesting in relief of Scott Feldman. Coming with no outs and Feldman's lead-off man on second, O'Day hit Miguel Tejada, but then got Nick Markakis to fly out and then Ty Wiggington grounded into a double play.

*The rain delay held up the start of the game by 2 hours, 29 minutes and the actual game took 3:51 to play. The announced attendance was 24,216. The game last so long that by order of the City of Arlington fire marshall, the scheduled fireworks were not allowed to be shot off.