Sunday, September 18, 2011
Koji Uehara gets critical out in seventh
By Richard Durrett
SEATTLE -- For two straight days here at Safeco Field, the Texas Rangers bullpen has been impressive. It was Darren Oliver, Mike Gonzalez, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz on Saturday. Koji Uehara joined the list Sunday.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux decided they'd go with Uehara against switch-hitting Luis Rodriguez. By going with a righty, Rodriguez had to bat lefty, something he hadn't done in the game.
Rodriguez actually has better splits as a left-handed batter (.216 as opposed to .120 as a righty), but after a single and double as a right-handed hitter Sunday, the Rangers wanted to change his look.
"He came in with the bases loaded and did what he normally does," Washington said. "It was a tough situation, but he handled it well."
Uehara said he threw a splitter to Rodriguez low in the zone, which Rodriguez fouled off for strike two. That helped set him up for a high fastball that Rodriguez missed to end the inning.
"It was good to get the out," Uehara said.
When asked if it got his juices flowing, Uehara just smiled and said "it was chilly today, so not really."
But when he got to the dugout, Uehara was ready to give his teammates some high-5s, fired up he could help preserve a 3-0 win. Mike Adams came in and pitched a perfect eighth, getting two strikeouts and Neftali Feliz earned his second save in as many days with a 1-2-3 ninth.