Sunday, April 11, 2010
Offense awakens as homestand ends
By Jeff Caplan
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers struck for five runs in the first two innings and cranked out a season-high 16 hits to take Sunday's rubber game from the Seattle Mariners, 9-2, the most runs Texas has scored this season.
Michael Young homered before Texas ended a promising first inning with the bases loaded and just a 1-0 lead. The Rangers didn't allow for the same fate in the second inning as Elvis Andrus blistered a run-scoring triple and Valdimir Guerrero and Chris Davis each lined RBI singles. Nelson Cruz added a sacrfice fly to cap the four-run inning for a 5-1 lead.
That would be all the Rangers would need as starting pitcher Scott Feldman battled through some high pitch counts, but he consistently got out of minor jams and never really got tagged. He needed 117 pitches to plow through seven innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on seven hits and one walk. He struck out four.
Doug Mathis tossed a scoreless eighth inning in relief with the help of a perfect throw to the plate by David Murphy to the end the inning. Chris Ray, who retired 3-of-4 batters in the eighth inning Friday, got the final three outs in order to close out the game.
The Rangers capped their season-opening six-game homestand with a 3-3 record, a mark they felt could have been better considering they twice took leads into the ninth inning, but came away with losses.
The buzz prior to the game was manager Ron Washington's decision to remove Frankie Francisco as the closer after he blew his second save opportunity of the season on Saturday, and to promote hard-throwing youngster Neftali Feliz into the high-pressure role.
Feliz, who had a 1-2-3 eighth inning in Saturday's disappointing loss, will have to wait until at least Monday in Cleveland for his first save opportunity as the Rangers' closer. Texas hits the road for a nine-game, 11-day road trip. They'll face the Indians on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, spend the weekend in New York facing the Yankees and then take the following Monday off before playing three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The best news of the day for the Rangers was the awakening of their offense as eight players recorded hits, six had more than one and seven drove in runs. Batting .216 as a team coming in, Young, Hamilton, Davis and Andrus, all batting below .180 entering Sunday's game, smacked solid base knocks as they helped to chase Seattle starter Ian Snell after three innings.
Vladimir Guerrero recorded three more hits and this season's early surprise, fill-in second baseman Joaquin Arias, scorched three more singles to give him six hits in the past two games and eight in the past three games, raising his average to an even .500.
Catcher Matt Treanor made his Rangers debut by throwing out Chone Figgins attempting to steal second base in the third inning and going 2-for-4 at the plate with a couple of RBIs.