Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Astros 1
HOUSTON --The Texas Rangers got a gutty and sloppy pitching effort from Neftali Feliz and some timely hitting to beat the Houston Astros, 4-1, in Game 1 of the Silver Boot series at Minute Maid Park on Friday night.
How it happened: It wasn't the best night for Feliz, but the Rangers bats helped him out early. Adrian Beltre drove in the first of his two runs with a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Ian Kinsler for the first run of the game in the third inning. Nelson Cruz added to the lead with an RBI single to center. In the fifth, the Rangers added one more run on an RBI double by Michael Young, who seems to have broken out of his slump with two hits and a walk. Beltre closed the deal with a solo shot to left field, that if not for that wall in left center, might have landed in Huntsville.
Long night for Feliz: Feliz was chastized by the manager, walked the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters and threw 84 pitches through four innings. When the Rangers starter's night was done, he had thrown 101 pitches in 4 2/3 innings and for a no-decision. Feliz battled trouble all night and couldn't control his fastball. he walked five, hit one batter and allowed just one run on three hits. He also struck out six. Feliz drew the ire of manager Ron Washington in the fourth inning when he walked pitcher Wandy Rodriguez with two outs. Washington jogged to the mound and after a one-sided conversation, headed back to the dugout. Feliz then struck out Jordan Schafer on three pitches. But Washington had seen enough to pull Feliz in the fifth after two more walks sandwiched around two outs. Rookie Robbie Ross retired Brian Bogusevic on a fielder's choice to end the inning. With Feliz out, Ross became the pitcher of record.
Young gets a hit: It's been a tough stretch for Young. He finished the Rangers' seven-game homestand with just four hits in 27 at-bats. He was hitless in his last 11 at-bats until a second-inning single to center ended the string. For the night, Young went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and an RBI. Before the game, Washington said Young will stay in the lineup and he felt his veteran utility man would break out of his slump. He was right and don't expect Young to sit tomorrow against a right-hander, Lucas Harrell, for Mitch Moreland.
Beltre on a tear: Third baseman Beltre has reached base in his last nine games. Friday night he went 2-for-3 with his eighth home run of the season, a blast to left center. Beltre is 12-for-46 during the last nine games with two doubles and two home runs. In the last 21 games, Beltre has six home runs, five doubles and 18 RBIs.
Joe Nathan gets the save: For the first time since 2009, closer Nathan pitched for a fourth consecutive game. Nathan, who picked up his ninth save, had uneventful ninth inning, including a strikeout to end the game. He has two saves in his last four outings and hasn't allowed a run since May 13. Sept. 13-16, Nathan went four consecutive games for the Minnesota Twins, registering three saves during that time.
Notes: Rangers fans were in full force at Minute Maid Park on Friday night. There was a "Let's Go Rangers" chant in the eighth inning. ... Rangers are now 136-131 all-time in interleague play. ... Rangers are 62-72 in NL parks. ... When Feliz pitches, the Rangers normally do well, they're 5-2 in his starts in 2012. ... Friday night was the Rangers' 14th series of the 2012 season which marked the 14th different opponent. When the Rangers begin a three-game set at Seattle on Monday, it will be the first time they've seen an opponent a second time. ... Yu Darvish will speak with reporters Saturday afternoon. ... With Mike Adams unavailable, Koji Uehara took his spot as the setup man in the eighth. He struck out one in a scoreless inning. ... Kinsler was knocked down by a pitch that sailed over his head in the ninth inning by reliever Rhiner Cruz. Kinsler flew out to deep left field and when he got back to the dugout, slammed his helmet into a cubbie hole. Cruz then hit the next batter, Elvis Andrus, who promptly stole second. ... Josh Hamilton, who had a 16-game hitting streak snapped Thursday afternoon, began a new one with a single in the third.
Next: Rangers-Astros play Game 2 of the Silver Boot series at Minute Maid Park. Derek Holland takes on Lucas Harrell at 6:15 p.m.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss a hypothetical Jurickson Profar for Cliff Lee trade, how he would handle Profar's playing time with the Rangers and more.
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
- There are no games scheduled for today.