Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Royals 2
The Texas Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, behind a strong showing by Scott Feldman and timely hits from Josh Hamilton and Mike Olt. Here are some quick thoughts:
What it means: It's the fourth straight win for the Rangers and it guarantees they'll win this three-game series against the Royals. They will go for a sweep Sunday. ... Oakland lost in extra innings, so Texas increases its AL West lead to 5 1/2 games. The Angels, who were six behind entering the day, face the White Sox tonight.
|Manager Ron Washington visits with Bryan Dolgin following the Rangers' 4-2 win over the Royals in Kansas City.
Another quality start: Feldman keeps grinding out solid starts for the Rangers. After going 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in four games (three starts) in July -- which earned him the Rangers player of the month award -- he starts August with another good outing. Feldman went 7 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts. It was the second straight time he pitched into the eighth inning. He's been getting plenty of ground ball outs and staying efficient, something he did in 2009 when he won 17 games.
Streaks end: Feldman's streak of innings without a walk ended at 24 when he walked Salvador Perez to lead off the fifth. ... His shoutout streak ended at 17 innings after the Royals scored two in the fifth.
Hamilton delivers with two strikes: Hamilton didn't try to do anything fancy with two strikes and runners at second and third in the third inning. And he got just enough of Will Smith's pitch to hit a looping ball to left to score Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus. It was a good approach as Hamilton just tried to get something on a ball to make sure he got a run home. The two RBIs pushed his season total to 90, tops in the American League.
Strange double play: Texas appeared ready to have an even bigger third inning until a rundown turned into an inning-ending double play. After an error on a ball hit by Nelson Cruz, the Royals caught Adrian Beltre in a rundown between second and third. Cruz then tried to get to second base on the play, but was thrown out on a close play. Cruz's ground ball appeared to be a double-play ball and, in a very roundabout way, turned into one.
Communication issue?: After the double play in the third, Hamilton talked with third base coach Dave Anderson. It's unclear if Anderson gave Hamilton the stop sign or if Hamilton was unclear what the sign was, but he did not go home on the error and stayed at third as Beltre tried to get to third and was caught in a rundown. ... It was a rough inning for Hamilton on the bases as he started the inning with a single, but should have gone to second on the throw home, but didn't.
More "firsts" for Olt: Add another "first" to Mike Olt's list as he hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning for his first RBI in the big leagues. The fly ball scored Mike Napoli, who congratulated Olt as both went into the dugout following the play. ... Olt also managed his first multi-RBI game when he delivered a single to drive in Michael Young with two outs. With a 2-0 count, Olt fouled off three straight pitches before getting the two-strike hit. ... He also had his first error, dropping a throw to first from Beltre in the eighth. That's part of the growing pains for Olt as he learns first base. He came up the system as a third baseman and is still learning first.
Dynamic duo: It's very important for this offense that Kinsler and Andrus find a way to get on and put pressure on the opponent. Both are certainly doing that right now. Kinsler singled and Andrus doubled in the third inning and both scored on Hamilton's single. Kinsler has nine hits in his last 17 at-bats and Andrus has eight hits in his last 17 at-bats.
Two straight saves: Alexi Ogando got his second save in as many days. Manager Ron Washington must have wanted to give Joe Nathan another day off following his two-day stretch on Wednesday and Thursday, which included a lot of pitches. ... Reliever Mike Adams came in struck out Billy Butler on a curveball on a 3-2 count to end the eighth inning. Butler represented the tying run.
Up next: LHP Derek Holland (7-6, 4.96) takes on RHP Luke Hochevar (7-9, 5.22) and the Kansas City Royals and at 1:10 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
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.
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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.