Sunday, July 29, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, White Sox 0
By David Collier
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Scott Feldman was about as good as he could've been and the Texas Rangers' offense scratched across a couple of runs to salvage a 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox in the series finale Sunday night. Some quick thoughts on the game:
What it means: Texas squeaked a win away from this three-game set, but the White Sox leave town after taking two of three games. The Rangers are 4 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland Athletics and five games up on the Los Angeles Angels. Both the A's and Angels lost Sunday.
Feldman deals: Scott Feldman was tremendous on the mound Sunday night. The right-hander put together a solid performance in his last start against the Boston Red Sox, but he performed even better Sunday. Feldman threw eight scoreless innings, giving up seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw 88 pitches, including 63 for strikes. Feldman threw first pitch strikes to 19 of the 31 batters he faced. It was the third time Feldman has thrown eight innings in his career. Last time he did so was June 2, 2010, in Chicago against the White Sox.
Leaving them loaded: The Rangers' offense did exactly what it's done all series long, especially early in the game. Texas set the table in both the first and second innings by getting the bases loaded, but on both occasions, there were two outs. Michael Young failed to deliver in the first with a groundout to short. In the second inning, it was Adrian Beltre who ended the threat with a popup to second.
Thank you very much: The Texas offense owes White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez a thank you after Ramirez gift wrapped the Rangers the first run of the game. Texas had two on with two outs for Mike Napoli, who hit a slow roller to short. Ramirez bobbled the ball to let the run cross the plate and give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Oops: Elvis Andrus was caught napping a bit at first base in the fourth inning. White Sox starter Gavin Floyd picked Andrus off first to end the frame. It was a close play, but Adam Dunn got the tag down just in time.
Aggressiveness pays off: With the Rangers struggling to drive in runs, Nelson Cruz took it upon himself to get it done. Cruz was on third when Young hit a tapper in front of the plate. Floyd picked up the ball and fired to first to get the out, but as soon as he turned toward first, Cruz took off for home. Dunn tried to get Cruz out at home, but he mad a bad throw as Cruz slid in safely. A good throw would have made it an easy double play.
Streak continues: The Rangers entered Sunday's game with an 0-for-19 streak with runners in scoring position. Texas continued that streak going 0-for-10 in those situations in the series finale. They are now hitless in their last 29 at-bats with runners in scoring position and 1-for-31 for the entire three-game series. On Sunday, the Rangers left 13 runners on base.
Quality rest: Following his day of rest, Josh Hamilton didn't do anything flashy, but he put together three quality at-bats. Hamilton walked in his first two plate appearances before grounding out to second and moving Cruz to third. Cruz scored on the next at-bat. Hamilton finished the game 0-for-2 with two walks, but it was an overall good day for him at the plate.
Multi-hit night: Both Cruz and David Murphy recorded multiple hits Sunday. Cruz was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while Murphy finished the night 3-for-4 with a pair of singles and a double.
Mr. Consistent: Joe Nathan recorded his 21st save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to hand the Rangers the win. He had two good defensive plays to help him out and ended it with a strikeout.
Nice grab: Andrus began the ninth with a spectacular diving catch to rob Paul Konerko of a leadoff single. Murphy followed that up with a leaping grab at the wall for the second out of the ninth inning.
30th sellout: Sunday's game had 46,744 fans in attendance. It was the 30th sellout of the season, which extends the club record for most sellouts in a season. It is also the sixth time this season that the Rangers have sold out each game of a Friday, Saturday, Sunday series.
Tickets left: Texas still has plenty of tickets available for the Angels series. There are 10,000 tickets left for the series opener Monday. 12,000 tickets left for Tuesday's game, 7,000 remaining for Wednesday and 9,500 are left for the series finale Thursday.
Up Next: The Rangers welcome divisional foe Los Angeles to town for a pivotal four-game series beginning Monday. The series opener will feature RHP Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (4-10, 6.00 ERA). The game starts at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540/FSSW/ESPN.