Rapid Reaction: Rangers 15, Marlins 5
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alexi Ogando looked much better, closer to the pitcher that was so impressive to start the season and not the one we've seen the last few outings. The offense was productive and the club seemed to have everything going its way from balls hitting the chalk to fly balls getting past outstretched gloves. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse):
* Ogando threw more sliders and changeups, especially early in the game, and settled in quickly. He didn't allow a baserunner until a leadoff walk in the fifth and lost his no-hit bid that same inning. He had good fastball command but was able to complement that with the off-speed and breaking pitches. The entire package was one that had the Marlins' offense guessing.
* Ogando needed a good start after pitching a total of 9 2/3 innings in his last three starts. He just struggled in those and didn't have command early, getting into trouble and allowing big innings.
* Ogando couldn't get through the seventh. He allowed two runs on three straight hits in the seventh inning and then walked Dewayne Wise, ending his night after 6 2/3 innings pitched. He got a nice hand from the fans and tipped his cap on the way out. He had a career-high eight strikeouts. I was actually a little surprised Ogando didn't come out of the game earlier, but he ended up with 102 pitches (and most were stress-free). That should provide a nice confidence boost for him.
* Nelson Cruz had a nice birthday game, pounding out a homer and a triple for six RBIs. The homer was his 19th of the season. Cruz did it on an 0-2 pitch to drive in three runs in the third, turning a 2-0 game into a 5-0 game. That was his second homer on an 0-2 pitch this season. It went to left-center, a sign that Cruz was willing to go with the pitch to the opposite field. Cruz now has four homers in his last six home games. He was 1-for-8 in Houston. Cruz is the 15th different player in Rangers history to homer on his birthday.
* Eight of the Rangers' 15 runs were scored with two outs. That's something new hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh has been stressing and the club came through tonight.
* Taylor Teagarden had a good night. He called a nice game for Ogando, mixing up pitches and helping keep the Marlins' hitters off-balance. And he had two doubles and a single with a run scored and an RBI. The three hits matches his career high set one other time.
* Adrian Beltre was just 2-for-13 in Houston but had a strong showing Friday. He had three hits, including a two-RBI double down the first-base line to make it 7-0 in the fourth. Beltre's double came with two outs and his RBI single in the third was with two strikes. In fact, all four of Beltre's RBIs on the night came with two outs. It was Beltre's eighth game with at least three RBIs this season.
* Ian Kinsler walked in the third inning. He has a team-high 51 walks. Kinsler was seventh in the AL in walks coming into the game. Kinsler came out of the game in the sixth, probably just to get a break. Andres Blanco came in for him.
* Josh Hamilton had a productive night. He was on base his first four times, scoring two runs. He had an RBI double that hit the chalk down the left-field line. He also walked twice, once intentionally, and had a single and scored a run in the third. Hamilton showed his speed, going from first to third on Beltre's single in the third. He made a head-first slide to get in just ahead of the tag.
* Yoshinori Tateyama came in and got a strikeout to end the seventh inning. With two outs in the eighth, he passed the ball to Michael Kirkman, who got a strikeout to end the eighth. Kirkman stayed in to get through the ninth, in which he gave up three runs. One came on an error by Beltre (tough hop, but one he usually gets). That was Beltre's 11th error this season, second-most on the club.
* Ron Washington will pick the All-Star team, probably by noon Saturday. More on that on the blog tomorrow morning.
* Brandon Webb was scratched from his Triple-A rehab start Friday with shoulder discomfort.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.