Extra Bases: Feliz earns second save

July, 29, 2014
7/29/14
9:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- What might get lost in the Texas Rangers' 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday night was the performance of closer Neftali Feliz.

The right-hander earned his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, which ended with him retiring Derek Jeter on a ground ball to short.

“It felt good,” Feliz said. “I tried to keep my pitches down and get a ground ball and get three outs.”

Feliz is a different pitcher now than the one who rode a blazing fastball to 72 saves in 2010-11. Tommy John surgery has since sapped miles per hour off his offerings.

Feliz will throw in the mid-to-low 90s, and he sometimes has to show a little finesse rather than trying to power past hitters.

An example of this came Friday night against the Oakland Athletics, when Feliz took over the closer's role for the traded Joakim Soria. Feliz needed 26 pitches and had to get two outs with two runners on base to get his first save.

Maybe it was nerves that made things slightly difficult for Feliz that night, because Monday he was much smoother on the mound in his second appearance as closer.

“When we get a lead at 4-2, I want to come out there and attack the hitters and try to keep ground balls and get people out,” Feliz said.

Monday, that last out came against Jeter, who got to starter Yu Darvish for three hits and a walk.

“Jeter is a really good hitter,” Feliz said. “I tried to throw my fastball away and get a ground ball, and that’s what happened.”

Martin’s slump: Center fielder Leonys Martin is 0-for-16 with five strikeouts and two walks during the past five games. After a two-hit night last week in a rain-shortened game against the Yankees, Martin has struggled at the plate.

Martin has particularly struggled against left-handers this season, posting a slash line of .213/.250/.250. Fortunately for the 26-year-old, neither New York starter in the remaining two games of the series is a southpaw.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182