Texas Rangers: Brandon Snyder
Leonys Martin will get a chance in center field with the regulars with Craig Gentry in center for Bobby Jones' team.
JACKIE MOORE TEAM
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
C A.J. Pierzynski
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
1B Mitch Moreland
CF Leonys Martin
3B Brandon Snyder
DH Yangervis Solarte
BOBBY JONES TEAM
SS Jurickson Profar
CF Craig Gentry
C Geovany Soto
3B Mike Olt
1B Jeff Baker
DH Brandon Allen
LF Joey Butler
RF Engel Beltre
2B Leury Garcia
"I came in thinking I’d be in the big league side for two or three weeks and it’d be over with and I’d go over and start being a starter again," said Ross, now 23 years old. "I always expected to go back to Triple-A."
But weeks turned into months and Ross ended up winning the left-handed bullpen job. He was 6-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 58 appearances (65 innings) with 47 strikeouts and 23 walks in his first year in the big leagues. That included a blistering first half in which he was 6-0 with a 0.95 ERA.
Now, he comes into spring training with major league experience behind him and a new goal: Earn the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Ross hopes to do that by using his blueprint from the 2012 camp. As he put it, he wants to "keep his edge."
"I want to keep that feeling that I have to work for my position. I have to work for the job that's at hand," Ross said. "That's what I want to do. And I think the best way to do that is not to let it get too much to my head. I want to come in and be ready to go."
Ross knows he has to increase his repertoire to start, so he's focused this offseason on his changeup and curve to make sure those can be key additions to his arsenal.
* LHP Neal Cotts is back in camp, hoping to win a job in the bullpen. Cotts was close to doing that last year before an injury set him back. Ross ended up getting that spot. Cotts joked that he feels good now that he's "attached." Various injuries have kept Cotts from getting a big league chance the past few years, but the 32-year-old was 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA in 31 2/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock last year.
* Infielder Brandon Snyder showed up today carrying catching equipment into the clubhouse. Snyder said he's bringing everything with him, just in case he's needed in a variety of roles. That versatility is key to Snyder's value. He's a non-roster invitee to spring.
* Manager Ron Washington and the coaching staff are expected to arrive at some point later today and to begin to get workouts ready tomorrow.
The Texas Rangers announced today that the club has acquired catcher Eli Whiteside in a waiver claim from Toronto. Additionally, the team has re-signed infielder/outfielder Brandon Snyder to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.
Whiteside, 33, has now been claimed on waivers by three different clubs this offseason. He had been acquired by Toronto in a waiver claim from New York-AL on December 3 after the Yankees had designated him for assignment on November 28. The Yankees acquired him in a waiver claim from San Francisco on November 5. Whiteside had been arbitration-eligible for 2013, but signed a contract with the Yankees on November 24, which makes him a signed player for next season.
He spent the bulk of last year with Triple-A Fresno in the San Francisco organization, batting .224 (45-201) with one homer and 20 RBI. He had two stints with the Giants, July 18-31 and Aug. 26-end of season, going 1-for-11 in 12 games. He has a career .215 average over 208 major league games with Baltimore (2005) and San Francisco (2009-12). Whiteside was a member of the Giants’ postseason rosters in 2010, but did not appear in any of the club’s three series that year. As a rookie, the Mississippi native was behind the plate for Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter on July 10, 2009 vs. San Diego.
Snyder, 26, was not tendered a 2013 contract offer by the Rangers on the November 30 deadline. A member of the club’s Opening Day roster, he spent five of the season’s six months in 2012 with the Rangers, batting .277 with 3 homers and 9 RBI in 40 games. He was acquired from Baltimore in a January 3 trade.
With today’s transactions, the Rangers now have a full 40-man roster along with 13 non-roster invitations to major league spring training camp.
Jurickson Profar (November)
Aguilas (Dominican Republic)
Julio Borbon (on roster - has not played)
Toros (La Romana) (DR)
Arlett (Jose) Mavare
Ponce (Puerto Rico)
Zach Zaneski (2nd half)
Alex De La Cruz
Tyler Tufts (possible)
Profar spent the entire season at Double-A Frisco , hitting .281 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs. He scored 76 runs in 126 games and played mainly shortstop, though he did appear in 25 games at second base, five as the designated hitter and one at third base.
The Rangers will also add to the roster Saturday: OF Leonys Martin, LHP Martin Perez, RHP Tanner Scheppers, INF/OF Brandon Snyder and RHP Yoshinori Tateyama.
Martin and Snyder give manager Ron Washington some help off the bench and the ability to rest some of his regulars when he gets an opportunity. Perez can help the bullpen, but could also spot start if necessary. Scheppers and Tateyama add depth to the relief corps.
Read the story here.
Olt, one of the club’s top minor league hitters and a player the club did not want to deal at the trade deadline, comes up to try to help give the offense a jolt. He takes the place of Brandon Snyder on the 25-man roster and goes on the 40-man for Colby Lewis, who is out for the season following surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow and is now on the 60-day disabled list.
“We've been looking to strengthen the bench and put our best club out there,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Listening to our people, we feel like Mike can help with this team. We wanted to give Mike a chance. We feel like he's earned it, and both our scouts and developmental staff all have recommended that this guy in a role can help [manager Ron] Washington and the club."
The infielder will arrive after the Rangers had one of their most dramatic wins of the season, showing plenty of life with the bats in making a big comeback in an 11-10 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
Olt, who turns 24 later this month, is hitting .287 with 27 homers and 81 RBIs for Double-A Frisco. He has a .973 OPS and is considered one of the top defensive third basemen in the game. Olt has played a few games in right field and at first base, although he’s primarily been at third.
He gives Washington a right-handed bat, deepening the bench.
“He’s a great kid,” Michael Young said. “We saw him a lot in spring training. We’re excited to have him. He’ll be in a position where he can help us out, hopefully have some good at-bats and get his feet wet in the big leagues. We’re looking forward to getting him here.”
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers made a furious rally, coming back from a six-run deficit after 2 1/2 innings and a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the 10th inning. Elvis Andrus was the final hero, getting a one-out, two-run double just inside the third-base bag to give the Rangers an improbable 11-10 win. It was the club's larget comeback since Aug. 13, 2010 vs. Boston.
What it means: The Rangers push the lead in the AL West back to four games over the Angels and 4.5 games over the Oakland A's. ... They will attempt to split the series with a win Thursday.
Walkoff win: Andrus' double was the winning hit, touching off a crazy celebration near the mound as the players mobbed him before he could get to second. ... Nelson Cruz began the inning with a solo homer to left-center that went over the visiting bullpen. An error by shortstop Andrew Romine put Michael Young at first and he moved to second when David Murphy had a tremendous 11-pitch walk (after he was behind 0-2). Hits by Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland got the Rangers closer and Andrus finished it off.
10th-inning homers: Chris Iannetta, the No. 8 hitter in the Angels' lineup, hit a 387-foot home run to left field off Joe Nathan to break a tie game and give the Angels the lead. ... Albert Pujols then hit a two-out, two-run homer to give Los Angeles more of a cushion, but they couldn't hold it.
Five homers in series: Pujols hit two homers in the same game for the second straight night for the Angels and has five in the series. ... He now has 1,400 career RBIs. It was his 44th multi-homer game (third-most among active players). ... His 10th-inning blast came after there was a delay while a fan in the outfield waving a Texas flag (and appeared to have some sort of light on his cell phone) was removed.
Tied in the ninth: After falling behind 6-0, the Rangers came all the way back. Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run off closer Ernesto Frieri over the left-field wall, getting the crowd on its feet and tying the score. It was Kinsler's third hit of the game and second extra-base hit. He had two RBIs.
Terrific throw: Cruz kept the game at 7-6 in the top of the ninth with a strong throw from right field on a single by Maicer Izturis. Kendrys Morales was waved home and Cruz's throw was a little wide, but on a rope. Napoli gloved and then dove back toward the plate and made the tag.
Murphy marvelous: Murphy had a terrific game at the plate. He was 3-for-3, including a double, and had two walks. His second walk came in the 10th with a runner on and no outs and took 11 pitches. He was behind 0-2 and managed to draw the walk to keep the rally going.
Day and night: Darvish went from a pitcher who appeared to have solid command to one who couldn't find the strike zone consistently and fell behind batters. He retired the first seven batters he faced, including striking out the side, but two walks with one out in the third allowed things to slip and by the time he was finished, he'd given up six runs on two hits.
Troubling third: Darvish walked the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters (Iannetta and Romine) to put two on with one out in the third inning. Then some poor fielding helped extend the inning. Mike Trout's grounder back to the mound turned into a fielder's choice instead of at least one out when Darvish threw the ball to second base before Andrus could get there to cover the bag. That loaded the bases. Torii Hunter's ground ball to short gave the Rangers a second chance to turn a double play and end the inning, but Kinsler's errant throw to first helped the Angels score an additional run on the play to go 2-0. Darvish then gave up a two-run homer to Pujols, walked two more batters and watched as Alberto Callaspo's double plated two more. Darvish threw 40 pitches in the inning as the Angels built the lead.
Trout's speed: The feet of the rookie was on display all night. It started as he sprinted down to first base on a bouncer back to the mound in the third. Darvish was likely very aware of Trout's speed and rushed a throw to second base to try to start a double play. ... With the bases loaded after that, Hunter hit a ground ball and Trout raced to second, sliding in hard and helping make Kinsler's throw to first more difficult. ... He then scored from first on a two-out double by Hunter in the fourth to score the Angels' seventh run.
Walk in the park: Darvish tied his season-high with six walks. He's now done that three times in 2012. And the walks were particularly costly Wednesday. Five of the six walks resulted in runs, including four in the third. Three of the walks came with two outs and all three of those scored.
First-pitch strikes matter: Darvish began the game throwing first-pitch strikes to six of the first eight hitters he faced and retired five of them. But when things turned ugly in the third, Darvish wasn't getting his first pitch over for a strike. Seven consecutive batters started off with a ball. That span included three walks, a homer, a double and two fielder's choices. ... When Darvish threw a first-pitch strike Wednesday: 11 outs, 2 walks, 1 single. When not throwing first-pitch strike: 5 outs, 4 walks, 2 doubles, 1 HR.
Four in fifth: The Rangers' offense finally woke up in the fifth. Three straight hits -- Young and Murphy singled and Napoli doubled -- got things started for the bottom part of the lineup and then the top-2 contributed as Kinsler's double scored a run as did Andrus' single. The four runs was the club's most in one inning since the first inning last Friday against the White Sox.
Caught stealing: Kinsler tried to steal second base with the Rangers down two runs in the seventh and was thrown out thanks to a perfect throw from catcher Iannetta. Kinsler got a good jump, it was just a rope to second in the right spot that got him. But it took a baserunner away for Texas late in the game.
Bottom's up: The bottom of the Rangers' lineup helped produce most of the club's runs. The Nos. 6-9 hitters (Young, Murphy, Napoli, Moreland) were 9-for-16 with three walks, six runs scored, a stolen base and five RBIs.
Nos. 3-5 struggle: But Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Cruz couldn't get a hit in Hamilton's return to the 3-hole. As a group, they were 1-for-14 with a walk. The only hit was a monster shot by Cruz in the 10th that went over the visitor's bullpen, just a few bounces from the Captain Morgan Club.
Tidbits: Alexi Ogando pitched the sixth inning and had three strikeouts and gave up a double. ... Robbie Ross, wearing his new number (28), pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up two walks and had three strikeouts. ... Tanner Scheppers gave up three hits, but no runs with two strikeouts, including getting Mark Trumbo on a 99-mph fastball. ... Rangers pitchers struck out 16 batters Wednesday.
Up next: RHP Ryan Dempster makes his Rangers debut. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA with the Cubs this season. Former Ranger C.J. Wilson pitches for the Angels (9-7, 2.88 ERA).
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A disappointing homestand continued Tuesday as the Rangers fell, 6-2, to the Angels. Texas is now 3-5 in this 10-game stretch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and has lost eight of its last 12 games. Derek Holland struggled, giving up three home runs, and the offense couldn't muster much off Jered Weaver and the Angels' bullpen. Some brief thoughts on the game:
What it means: The Angels are three games back of the Rangers, the closest they've been since June 14 when they were also three back. If the Oakland A's win, they'll be 2 1/2 games back, which would be the closest the division has been since June 11 (also 2 1/2 games). ... Texas must win the final two games of the series to earn a split.
Holland can't finish: Holland started the night strong, retiring the first eight batters he faced and not allowing a hit until the fourth inning. But some pitches got up and some balls got out. Holland ended up allowing six runs for the second time in his last three starts -- both to the Angels. Holland has now given up 12 runs on 14 hits with five homers, five walks and 12 strikeouts in two losses to the Angels this season.
Game 3 rewind?: Albert Pujols hit two homers Tuesday, his first homers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since belting three long balls in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series. Both of Pujols' home runs came off Holland and were hit over the left field wall.
Lots of long balls: Holland allowed three home runs Tuesday and has given up seven home runs in his last three starts. Besides Pujols, Mike Trout continued his ridiculous season (he's got to be the MVP if he keeps this up, doesn't he?) with a 412-foot home run in the sixth.
Costly walk: Holland was ahead 1-2 on Chris Iannetta to lead off the sixth and ended up walking him. By issuing a free pass to the No. 9 hitter, Trout got to bat with a runner on base and took advantage with the homer.
Key double: With the Angels up 4-0 with two outs in the seventh, Tanner Scheppers came in to pitch to Torii Hunter. On a 1-1 pitch, Hunter hit a double to center that scored Maicer Izturis and Trout to give the Angels a 6-0 lead. That turned out to be important as the Rangers tried to start a comeback in the seventh.
No shutout: David Murphy's double to center -- just past the reach of a speedy Trout -- scored Josh Hamilton and Michael Young and allowed the Rangers to avoid a shutout. It was also the final batter that Jered Weaver faced. Kevin Jepsen came on in relief and retired Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland to end the inning.
Still searching for runs: After scoring eight runs Monday -- though many of those came after the Angels had blown the game open -- the Rangers offense was once again fairly quiet. They scored two runs on five hits and weren't able to do much off Weaver and the Angels bullpen. Texas has scored five runs or fewer in 12 of the 16 games since the All-Star break. The Rangers are averaging four runs per game in the second half.
Top 4 quiet: The top four hitters in the Rangers order -- Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz -- were 0-for-16.
Up next: RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.05 ERA) goes up against RHP Garrett Richards (3-2, 3.91 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A huge sixth inning helped the Los Angeles Angels beat up the Texas Rangers 15-8 on Monday night. Starter Roy Oswalt just didn't have it and allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings, and the Rangers weren't able to mount a comeback. Some quick thoughts on the game:
What it means: The Angels gain a game on the Rangers and are four games back in the American League West. Oakland gains a half-game (now four back) and plays against Tampa Bay on the West Coast. ... The 15 runs are the third-most allowed by the Rangers this season (they gave up 19 to the White Sox on July 3 and 21 to Seattle on May 30).
Rough start: It was one of Oswalt's worst starts in a Rangers uniform. The veteran gave up eight runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and three homers in 5 1/3 innings. In half his starts for the Rangers (six of them), he's allowed at least 10 hits. ... The only start in which he allowed more than that many runs was July 3 at Chicago against the White Sox, when he gave up 11 runs (nine earned) on 13 hits in just 4 2/3 innings.
Homer happy: Oswalt gave up three home runs in the same start for the second time in his six starts. Maicer Izturis hit a solo shot in the second, Mike Trout hit a two-run homer (his 17th of the season) in the third and Kendrys Morales hit one in the sixth. (Morales' second homer came off Robbie Ross.
Ross rusty? Ross, who's been solid all season, struggled Monday. It had been a week since he pitched (last Monday versus Boston), and his command was wobbly. He allowed four runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. It was the first time all season he's given up more than two runs.
Huge night for Morales: Kendrys Morales hit two home runs in the sixth inning and scored six RBIs. ... The home runs came on both sides of the plate. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Morales is just the third player to hit homers from both sides of the plate in an inning in MLB history. Mark Bellhorn and Carlos Baerga are the others. ... The last player with six RBIs in one inning was San Francisco's Juan Uribe on Sept. 23, 2010, at the Chicago Cubs. ... Morales is just the second Angel to homer from both sides of the plate. The other one: Rick Reichardt on April 30, 1966. Yep, more than 46 years ago.
Cruz crusher: Nelson Cruz is known for launching long home runs, but as far as homers to straightaway center, the one he hit in the seventh inning had to be one of the longest to that part of the park. It was estimated at 453 feet and went over Greene's Hill, just to the left side of the Batter's Eye Club. Cruz has home runs in four of his past six games.
Sun balls: Two balls hit early in the game caused issues for left fielders with the sun shining in that direction. The 6 p.m. start makes it very tough out there. Albert Pujols' two-out double in the first went just past David Murphy's glove because he couldn't see it even with sunglasses on. Murphy then took advantage and hit a fly ball toward Mike Trout out there, and Trout couldn't see it and was turned around. The double scored Josh Hamilton with the second run of the game.
RISP streak ends at 29: Murphy's double to left in the second ended a streak of 29 straight hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position, dating back to the first inning of Friday's loss to the Chicago White Sox. The Rangers scored two runs in the inning, the first on a sac fly in foul ground down the right-field line by Michael Young. ... Before Murphy's double, the last time the Rangers scored a run on a non-homer hit was Ian Kinsler's bloop in the fourth inning of Wednesday's game against Boston.
Hamilton's extra-base hits: Josh Hamilton ended an 0-for-14 streak with an opposite-field double in the second to put runners at second and third, and get the inning going for the Rangers after Nelson Cruz's walk. He hit a solo homer in the fourth, just over the scoreboard in left field. Both hits went the other way. It was the first time Hamilton had at least two extra-base hits in a game since May 30, when he had two doubles versus Seattle. ... He had a single in the sixth, meaning he had hits in his first three at-bats. It was his first three-hit night since May 11.
Tidbits: Mike Napoli was charged with a passed ball in the third, his eighth of the season. ... The Rangers made a well-timed pitch out with two outs in the fourth. Napoli made a nice throw to Kinsler and got Howie Kendrick easily. ... Napoli thought a strikeout of Morales in the third was the final out of the inning and started to trot off. Oswalt stopped him, as it was just the second out of the inning. ... Michael Kirkman gave up three runs in the seventh inning and had trouble finding the strike zone, issuing three walks. ... Jerome Williams gets a save because he pitched the final four innings (and allowed five runs).
Up next: LHP Derek Holland (7-5, 4.74 ERA) goes up against Angels ace RHP Jered Weaver (13-1, 2.26 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers couldn't come through in the clutch, struggling with runners in scoring position, and Matt Harrison gave up a couple of homers in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Some quick notes on the game:
What it means: The Rangers' offense is a mess right now and the club is 8-12 in July. The A's won earlier in the day and are now 3 1/2 games back in the AL West.
RISP issues: The Texas Rangers are not hitting the ball well with runners in scoring position these days. They are 30-for-154 in July (.195). Only the Houston Astros are worse in July (.175). It's been particularly bad the last two games. They were 1-for-8 on Friday and 0-for-13 on Saturday. That's 1-for-21 in the series. The best illustrations of the issues were the fifth and seventh innings Saturday. A look:
* Leonys Martin hit a double after Mike Napoli led off the fifth with a home run, giving the Rangers a little hope for an inning that could let them climb back in a 5-1 game. Craig Gentry's ground ball to short moved Martin to third base. But Ian Kinsler struck out on an inside pitch that wasn't a strike and Elvis Andrus grounded out to second to end the threat.
* Michael Young legged out a leadoff triple in the seventh but couldn't go anywhere. After Napoli walked to put runners on the corners with no outs, Jesse Crain came in to relieve Philip Humber and struck out Martin on a changeup, got Craig Gentry swinging and then benefited from a diving catch in left by Dayan Viciedo on a ball hit by Kinsler. (It seems that slumping offenses don't get many bloop hits.)
* In the ninth, David Murphy hit a leadoff double and Young and Mike Napoli both hit hard grounders up the middle, but nice plays by the White Sox middle infielders kept them from being hits.
Scoring drought: Since scoring four runs in the first inning of Friday's game, Texas has just two runs in its last 17 innings in the losses.
Homers hurt Harrison: For the first time since May 7 against Baltimore, Harrison allowed two home runs in the same outing. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko hit home runs that totaled 823 feet and Harrison gave up five runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. It was the first time since May 2 at Toronto that Harrison had given up at least that many runs (he allowed eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings in that outing). ... Harrison has lost two straight games for the first time since April 27 and May 2.
Dazzling defense: The Rangers made two nice defensive plays in the third inning. Young showed nice reaction time, diving and catching a hard skimmer off the bat of Gordon Beckham to lead off the inning. Later, Adrian Beltre charged a ball down the third-base line and made a nice throw to first to retire Eduardo Escobar. It wasn't an easy play, but Beltre made it look routine (as he usually does). ... Beltre made another ridiculous defensive play in the fifth, catching a one-hop relay throw from Elvis Andrus and tagging Escobar in the same motion to get the out.
Konerko crusher: Harrison left a pitch up in the zone and Konerko crushed it, sending it deep to left field nearly over the first section of seats in the bottom bowl. The estimated distance was 416 feet and with Dunn at first base on a base hit (a ball that went under Ian Kinsler's glove as he tried to backhand it in the hole) it gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead. ... Dunn got into the act to center field with a runner on. So four of the five runs allowed by Harrison came on homers.
Napoli homers: Mike Napoli got back into his favorite count -- 3-2 -- in the fifth inning and hit his 16th homer of the season to give the Rangers their first run of the game. It was his fourth homer in his last six games. Napoli is batting .304 in his last seven games (7-for-23) with four homers, six RBIs and six walks. He's walking more, too. He's walked at least once in 10 of his last 14 games (15 total walks).
Tidbits: Neither team had a hit through three innings. ... The attendance was 47,580. That's the 29th sellout of the season for Texas, extending the club record.
Up next: The final game of this three-game set with the Chicago White Sox features Scott Feldman (4-6, 5.37 ERA) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd (8-8, 4.46 ERA). The game starts at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers took the lead on a wild pitch in the eighth and held on for a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.
What it means: Texas stays five games up on the A's and Angels, who both won Wednesday. It's the seventh straight series win at home for the Rangers, who are 10-2-1 in the last 13 series overall.
Solid outing: Derek Holland pitched well Wednesday, allowing three runs in 7 2/3 innings on 100 pitches. He threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 29 batters he faced, and outside of a couple of pitches that turned into homers, kept the hitters off balance. Holland worked quickly and was efficient.
Winning wild pitch: With two outs in the seventh inning and Elvis Andrus at third base, Josh Beckett threw a wild pitch (on a 1-0 count) that ran to the backstop, allowing Andrus to score what became the winning run. It came with Michael Young at the plate.
Insurance long ball: Nelson Cruz, who ended a 21-game home run drought Sunday, hit another one in the eighth to extend the Rangers' lead to two runs. He had just five hits in his last 33 at-bats before the homer, which landed in the Rangers bullpen.
Big shutdown inning: After the Rangers scored three runs to give Holland the lead, he came out and got a 1-2-3 inning without a ball going past the mound. He struck out Kelly Shoppach and got Mike Aviles and Jacoby Ellsbury to bounce back to the mound. He needed just 12 pitches.
Early walk turns into early run: Holland walked the first batter he faced in Ellsbury, and the leadoff hitter ended up scoring in the top of the first. Holland did avoid a big inning, getting Dustin Pedroia to ground into a double play (which scored the run). But the walk hurt Holland early.
Homer happy: One thing that has plagued Holland recently is the home-run ball. He surrendered a solo shot to Will Middlebrooks with two outs in the fourth to make it 2-0 Boston. It was Holland's 12th homer allowed in his last eight starts. ... In the sixth, with the Rangers leading 3-2, Holland gave up a 394-foot solo homer into the visiting bullpen off the bat of Pedroia.
Payback?: With no one on and two outs in the first, Holland plunked Red Sox cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez in the butt. Judging by the situation and the pitch, it was likely payback for Vicente Padilla hitting two Rangers on Tuesday, including Adrian Beltre in the head. Beltre, Young and others said they did not believe Padilla hit Beltre intentionally. But with Padilla's history and the fact that it did hit Beltre in the head, Holland probably wanted to send a message on behalf of his hitters.
Double double: The Rangers got two opposite-field doubles in the fourth inning to score their first run of the game. Young doubled to right field over the head of Cody Ross, and David Murphy followed it up with a double to left-center to score Young. It was Young's first extra-base hit since the All-Star break. Murphy's double ended an 0-for-10 stretch with runners in scoring position for the Rangers. In fact, Texas had three hits with runners in scoring position in the fourth inning alone.
Suicide squeeze: With Murphy at third and Yorvit Torrealba at first in the fourth, Craig Gentry got the bunt down with Murphy coming hard down the line. The suicide sqeeze worked well as Murphy scored while Gentry was thrown out at first. The run tied the game. Texas ended up taking the lead on Ian Kinsler's bloop single as the club scored three runs on five hits in the inning.
Hamilton watch: After a lenghty session with the media prior to the game about his struggles -- read all about that here -- Josh Hamilton was 0-for-3 on Wednesday against Beckett, with a strikeout.
Nathan gets save: Joe Nathan got his 20th save (and his 18th consecutive) in a two-run game in the ninth, which included a nice play to his left from Kinsler to get Gonzalez to start the inning. That came after Mike Adams got the final out of the eighth as Pedroia flew out to Murphy.
Up next: The Rangers are off Thursday before seven more games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. RHP Yu Darvish (11-6, 3.88 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Sale (11-3, 2.37 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21. ... There aren't many seats left for the weekend series against the White Sox, with obstructed view and scattered singles for Friday and Sunday and about 500 reserved seats remaining for Saturday. There are plenty of tickets left for all four Angels games next week.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers couldn't take advantage of opportunities with runners in scoring position and Joe Nathan gave up the winning run in the top of the ninth as the Red Sox beat the Rangers, 2-1.
What it means: The first two games of the series are split with the rubber match set for Wednesday. The Rangers' lead in the AL West drops to 4.5 games pending the outcome of the Los Angeles Angels-Kansas City Royals game.
Walks hurt Nathan: Closer Joe Nathan came in with five walks in 38 1/3 innings, but issued consecutive free passes to Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia with two outs and then gave up a single on a 3-2 pitch to Mike Aviles, who hit a looping ball just over the glove of Elvis Andrus to score Nava with the go-ahead run in a tie game. ... Nathan has given up at least one run in each of his last four outings. ... It's the first time all season he's allowed two walks in one outing.
First-pitch outs: All three outs for the Rangers in the ninth inning came on first pitches as Nelson Cruz grounded to short and David Murphy and Craig Gentry popped up. Mike Napoli walked prior to Gentry's at-bat.
Successful spot start: As the rotation is currently set up, Tuesday's start was a one-shot deal for Martin Perez with Scott Feldman slated to pitch on Monday in place of Colby Lewis. If this is it for Perez in terms of a start in the big leagues for now, he should gain some confidence. Perez gave up one run on five hits in six innings on Tuesday with two walks and one strikeout. He also had a balk. He pitched out of some trouble and threw 98 pitches (63 strikes) in those six innings. ... Perez is a name that could surface in trade deadline talks and he certainly didn't hurt his value on Tuesday.
Struggles with RISP: The Rangers managed to get runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings and went 0-for-5. They did score a run on a ground ball, but couldn't do more than that when given the chance.
Beltre hit, taken out: Third baseman Adrian Beltre was hit by a Vicente Padilla 92-mph fastball on the helmet in the eighth inning. The ball went pretty high into the air after hitting Beltre's helmet and after athletic trainer Jamie Reed looked him, Beltre came out of the game. Initial exams were "normal." The Rangers shifted the infield to put Brandon Snyder at third, Michael Young at second, Mike Napoli at first and Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate.
Big wild pitch: After Elvis Andrus doubled with one out in the sixth, Clay Buchholz threw a wild pitch to get him to third with one out and Josh Hamilton at the plate. Hamilton was jammed, but got enough on the ground ball to get it past Buchholz to score Andrus, who got a nice break from third. Hamilton came into the dugout and threw his battling helmet against the wall in the tunnel in frustration, but his grounder was enough score the tying run for his 81st RBI of the season.
Murphy likes matchup: Rangers outfielder David Murphy came into the game batting .667 (6-for-9) off Clay Buchholz in his career. He kept that going on Monday with a single in the third and a double in the fifth. He also walked in the seventh.
Defensive miscue: It was scored as a double, but Murphy initially broke in and then hustled back toward the wall as the ball from Kelly Shoppach took off. It went off Murphy's glove at the wall and dropped, allowing Cody Ross to score with two outs for the first run of the game.
Kinsler ejected: Second baseman Ian Kinsler had a short night. He was picked off (it was very close on the replay) by Boston's Clay Buchholz in the bottom of the first, turned toward first base umpire Tim Tschida and said something and was then sent to the clubhouse. Manager Ron Washington came out and argued at that point, but that was the end of Kinsler's game. Alberto Gonzalez came in to replace him. It was his first game since July 3 (just his fourth game since June 1) and his first opportunity for more than one at-bat since he started on June 20.
Beltre dances to double: It was one of the more entertaining doubles you'll ever see. Beltre hit a popup to shallow center field in the fourth inning that fell in. Once it dropped, he hustled toward second base, but the throw beat him there. Instead of sliding, Beltre went wide, danced around and dropped to the ground to get to the bag and was called safe. He couldn't stop smiling about it. He was stranded, though.
Gold Glove defense: Beltre also seems to provide a ridiculous highlight defensively several times a homestand. On Tuesday, it was charging the speedy Pedro Ciriaco's bunt down the third-base line in the fifth. Beltre bare-handed it and made an off-balance throw to first while falling away. He got Ciriaco by half a step on a throw that was perfect. It's why he's a Gold Glove player as few in the league could make that play.
Up next: LHP Derek Holland (6-5, 4.84 ERA) faces RHP Josh Beckett (5-8, 4.53 ERA) in the finale of the series at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
Here are the the lineups:
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
C Mike Napoli
1B Brandon Snyder
CF Craig Gentry
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Carl Crawford
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Adrian Gonzalez
DH Cody Ross
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
3B Will Middlebrooks
RF Ryan Sweeney
SS Mike Aviles
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Brandon Hicks hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Oakland A’s to a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum.
What it means: The Rangers, who blew a 3-1 lead in the seventh, missed a chance to sweep the two-game series. They’ll have an off day before they begin a big three-game series against the second-place Angels in Los Angeles. The Rangers are five games up, pending the Angels game Thursday night in Detroit.
Kirkman loses: Michael Kirkman entered in the eighth and pitched a scoreless inning, but he didn’t get an out in the ninth. He gave up a homer to Hicks, who had just entered the game as a pinch-runner in the seventh. It was the first career homer for Hicks.
Lewis’ day: Colby Lewis had a very good outing in his first game back after spending three weeks on the disabled list because of tendinitis in his right forearm. Lewis gave up just one run in five innings, on Brandon Inge’s fifth-inning solo homer. Lewis was pulled after just 75 pitches. Lewis left the bases loaded in the fourth and had to face No. 3 hitter Josh Reddick with the potential go-ahead run at third in the fifth. Lewis struck him out.
Bullpen blows it: The Rangers had not blown a save since May 17, but that streak ended in familiar fashion. Reddick’s two-out, two-run double against Alexi Ogando in the seventh inning tied the game, 3-3. Reddick homered against Ogando for the Rangers’ last blown save.
Another streak also ended on Reddick’s hit. Inge, who had doubled off Robbie Ross to start the inning, scored, ending Ross’ scoreless streak at 24 innings.
Young clutch: Michael Young ran his hitting streak to six games with a big hit in the sixth inning. Young’s one-out single drove in Elvis Andrus with the tie-breaking run, chasing Travis Blackley out of the game.
Gentry stays hot: Craig Gentry continues to be one of the Rangers' best hitters, despite being tucked at the bottom of the order. With two outs and Brandon Snyder at first, Gentry yanked a double into the left-field corner, driving in Snyder with the first run of the game. Gentry is hitting .383 over his last 31 games.
Golden at third: Adrian Beltre, a three-time Gold Glove winner, made a few very nice plays. In the sixth inning, with Yoenis Cespedes at first and nobody out, Seth Smith hit a blooper into shallow center. The ball dropped between Ian Kinsler and Andrus, but Beltre hustled to second to cover the base, and he took a throw from Andrus to force Cespedes. An out later, he made a diving stop of a Derek Norris grounder to record the final out of the inning. In the seventh, the A’s had runners at first and second with no outs, Beltre charged in and made a sliding catch of Coco Crisp’s bunt. In the eighth, though, Beltre made a bad throw that allowed Norris to reach. It was Beltre’s first error since June 2.
Up Next: The Rangers have an off day before beginning a three-game series against the Angels in Los Angeles on Friday. The series opens with LHP Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57) facing RHP Jered Weaver (11-1, 2.26) at 9:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
The Rangers optioned the 21-year-old left-hander to Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday to make room for Colby Lewis, who was activated to start the game against the Oakland A’s.
“I think he gave us more than we expected,” manager Ron Washington said. “I didn’t know what to expect because he wasn’t really lighting it up at Triple-A. He came up and made adjustments and pitched well for us. He’s one of those kids we won’t hesitate to go to if there’s a need.”
Perez had a 5.54 ERA in four games, but that was inflated by one poor relief outing in his debut. He only gave up four earned runs in 12 1/3 innings in his
other three outings, two starts.
Although Perez held his own, it was an obvious move to send him back to Triple-A when Lewis was ready to return to the rotation.
“He’s a young kid that doesn’t need to be sitting up here,” Washington said. “He needs to be pitching.”
One of the top prospects in the Rangers system, Perez returns to Triple-A, where he had a 4.59 ERA in 15 starts before he was promoted. Washington seemed to believe Perez would be better for his experience in the majors.
“If he does what we think he can do, he can dominate,” Washington said. “It’s up to him, and whatever focus he decided to put forth. The fact that he got some time up here, we’re certainly looking for good things. We’ll be totally disappointed if he doesn’t do well.”
* RHP Mark Lowe, who has been out for three weeks with a strained muscle in his
rib cage, has continued throwing and expects to throw a bullpen this weekend in Anaheim. “My arm feels great,” Lowe said. “It feels like I never took any time off.” Lowe could be ready in another week.
* Brandon Snyder gets a rare start at first base Wednesday. It's only his
second start in a month. “He’s done a good job under the circumstances where we have regulars who play every day and the extras don’t get much of a chance,” Washington said. “I had a talk with him to not try to do too much to impress us. He’s impressive already if he’s on this team.”
* Backup shortstop Alberto Gonzalez has just six at-bats since June 1. Upon
hearing that, Washington said, “He may have just six at-bats on Aug. 1.” Washington said he will find a place to start Gonzalez in place of Elvis Andrus sometime on the Rangers’ upcoming string of 20 games without an off day.
* A's outfielder Josh Reddick, who was not very complimentary of Roy Oswalt with his postgame comments Tuesday night, backtracked via his Twitter account Wednesday. "To (those) who read my postgame comments yesterday. I wasn't bad mouthing Roy Oswalt. So please don't take it the wrong way. All I meant was we missed a lot of good pitches in good situations is all. Obviously Roy is a great pitcher and has been for years. My apologies."
* Yorvit Torrealba's wife gave birth to a girl Tuesday. The Rangers catcher is expected to be activated from the paternity list Friday in Anaheim.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
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Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
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Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.