Michael Kirkman, Mark Lowe save pen

June, 26, 2012
6/26/12
8:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mark Lowe was trying to cool off after the eighth inning of an 8-2 Detroit Tigers lead when first baseman Michael Young came up to him.

"He asked me if I was going out for another inning," Lowe said. "Mike Napoli was there and I said to him, 'Yeah, we got one more. Let's go.'"

Once Lowe got through that ninth inning -- his third inning of work -- he was showered with thanks from his fellow relievers and most of his other teammates.

"They all came up to me, every bullpen guy said something to me," Lowe said. "This is what we needed today. So that's what I wanted to do."

Lowe ended up pitching three scoreless innings, tying a career-high. He hadn't thrown three innings since Sept. 28, 2008 vs. Oakland when he was with Seattle. Lowe threw 38 pitches in those three innings.

"I'll be sore, that's for sure," Lowe said. "But after a day, I could get a batter or two out. If I get a few days, I'll be fine."

Michael Kirkman, who warmed up after the first inning and arrived on the mound for the second with runners at the corners and Prince Fielder at the plate, allowed just two runs in five innings. Kirkman rebounded from his last outing, when he gave up a double and two home runs against the Rockies in his first inning of work before settling down.

"Those pitches were all up," Kirkman said. "Once I got things down and made the adjustment, I was fine. I wanted to keep things down (Monday), and I did that. I knew I needed to give them as many innings as I could out there."

Kirkman's five-inning effort was the most innings by a Rangers reliever since Brett Tomko went five innings on April 26, 2011 against Toronto. It's just the fourth time a reliever has gone at least five innings in the last five seasons. Kirkman also recorded a career-high five strikeouts in the effort.

Manager Ron Washington was so intent on saving Scott Feldman and the rest of the bullpen that he had infielder Alberto Gonzalez warming up in the ninth in case Lowe couldn't finish the inning. But Gonzalez wasn't needed.

"Kirkman and Lowe both did a great job," Young said. "They saved our pen, saved a lot of arms out there. It’ll pay dividends the next couple of games that our bullpen is relatively fresh."
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Martin Perez
WINS ERA SO IP
3 1.86 20 29
OTHER LEADERS
BAL. Martin .315
HRR. Chirinos 2
RBIL. Martin 9
RE. Andrus 11
OPSS. Choo .827
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23