Fresher Tateyama works perfect frame
But the Rangers reliever who filled a big mid-summer bullpen role re-established his presence with a spotless seventh inning in Saturday’s 7-3 victory over Seattle.
Granted it was the bottom of the order that Tateyama faced in his first appearance in two weeks, but the 35-year-old veteran from Osaka, Japan was able to strike out two left-handed hitters, Adam Kennedy swinging and Trayvon Robinson looking. Alex Liddi was the final out on a pop-up to first baseman Mitch Moreland.
“This is a chance they’ve given me,’’ Tateyama said in the Rangers clubhouse afterward. “All I can do is my best.’’
The side-arming right-hander had the dubious distinction of being only the second major league pitcher to allow grand slams to consecutive batters faced. Carl Crawford ended Tateyama’s appearance Sept. 3 in Boston with a grand slam and one week later, Oakland’s Scott Sizemore greeted him with a grand slam at Rangers Ballpark.
Tateyama’s ERA rose from 2.37 on Aug. 23 to 4.71 when he entered Saturday’s game.
“Because of the fatigue issue I was getting the ball up in the zone,’’ Tateyama said. “I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent now, but I’m in a better place.’’
Right-handed reliever Darren O’Day and lefty Michael Kirkman also pitched three-up, three-down innings Saturday.
“Everybody we wanted to get in the game today, we were able to do it,’’ manager Ron Washington said. “That’s just the way we drew it up.’’
Being a part of the playoff roster is important to Tateyama.
“It is a very inspirational achievement,’’ he said. “I’m really conscious of that goal.’’
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