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Friday, June 18, 2010
Game recap: Rangers pound Astros, 9-3

By Calvin Watkins



HOUSTON -- The Rangers extended their winning streak to six games with a 9-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night in Game 1 of the Lone Star Series. Scott Feldman and Justin Smoak were the stars in this game.

Since April 22, the Rangers have posted a 34-19 mark. Only Boston at 35-19 has a better record in that same span. Some highlights of this blowout:

*Scott Feldman danced out of trouble in a few innings and provided the Rangers' bullpen with the rest it was looking for. Feldman improved to 5-6 on the season while allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings of work. He threw 113 pitches. He's gone into the sixth innings in his last seven starts, in which he's 4-3.

*Justin Smoak broke the game wide open in a six-run third inning. Smoak drove in two runs with a double to the wall in right-center to push the Rangers' lead to 5-0. Feldman doubled down the right-field line with one out early in the inning. The Rangers drew three walks in the frame, including Vladimir Guerrero's four-pitch at-bat that brought in a run. Smoak also hit a two-run homer (348 feet) to left in the fifth to increase the lead to 8-0, finishing with a season-high four RBIs. Smoak, who has struggled in the first two months of the season, is on a tear of late. He's driven in 16 runs in June.

"Feldman was good tonight," manager Ron Washington said. "He got us seven innings and knowing the pitcher that he is, he wanted to pitch a shutout. But those guys have the ability to score some runs and they put three on him in the sixth and he came back in the seventh and went 1-2-3 and [he] did one heck of a job. Had his sinker working real good tonight, moving the ball around had good velocity."

*Rangers president Nolan Ryan told MLB.com Friday that the team is interested in trading for Astros starter Roy Oswalt.
"You know, we definitely are looking to improve our ballclub, and when you have an opportunity, or might have an opportunity, to acquire someone like that, you have to look at it and evaluate it and see if that's a possibility and see if it's doable," Ryan said.

*The road trip looks better and better with each game. It started with the Rangers losing 6-2 in Milwaukee. Since then, the Rangers pushed their half-game lead in the AL West to 2 1/2 games.

*Josh Hamilton continued to swing a hot bat Friday with two hits -- a triple and a single -- and two RBIs. Hamilton is hitting 14-for-29 on this road trip. He has three home runs, eight RBIs, seven runs scored and a 14-game hit streak going, which is the longest active streak in the majors this year. 

*Notes: Saturday is Nolan Ryan Bobblehead night. ... Colt McCoy, the former Texas quarterback who is now with the Cleveland Browns, was in attendance. ... Scott Feldman's second inning double, was the first extra-base hit by a pitcher since Kevin Millwood did it on June 26, 2008. Millwood hit a double. ... This is the Rangers' longest road winning streak -- six games -- since 2006. It's the first time the Rangers have won six straight on a single-road trip since 1991. ... Rangers have won six of the last seven games against the Astros. ... Ian Kinsler tied a career-high with three walks and its seventh three-walk game of his career. ... Vladimir Guerrero made his ninth start in right field on Friday. He's played 51 games as the DH.