Texas Rangers: Derek Jeter

NEW YORK -- The Texas Rangers had two great escapes, a dramatic home run and a heartbreaking loss.

Newly acquired Chase Headley singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning to give the New York Yankees a 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night.

It ended a 4 hour, 51 minute contest.

First baseman J.P. Arencibia sent a 2-2 pitch into the Rangers' bullpen for a home run that gave Texas a 1-0 lead in the 13th inning. But it was short-lived.

The Rangers became the first team to reach 60 losses this season and missed out on a chance to win consecutive games for the first time since June 27-28 against Minnesota.

How it happened: With one out in the bottom of the 14th, Brian Roberts doubled down the right-field line and advanced to third on Francisco Cervelli's single to right. With the infield in, Headley singled to left field for the winning run.

The Great Escape I: With a man on and one out in the 12th, the Yankees' Brian McCann hit a routine popup behind short. Elvis Andrus, Jim Adduci and Leonys Martin came charging for the ball. At the last minute, Andrus, the shortstop, turned his head as if Martin, the center fielder, called for the ball. The ball dropped between the trio, sparking puzzled looks. Ichiro Suzuki bunted the runners over, and after Roberts was walked intentionally to load the bases, manager Ron Washington removed reliever Ryan Feierabend for Scott Baker.

With the infield halfway up the middle and at the corners, Cervelli lined out to Adrian Beltre at third for the second out. Headley, who pinch hit in the eighth inning, was retired on a weak bouncer to second.

The Great Escape II: The Yankees tied the game on an RBI single from Jacoby Ellsbury in the 13th. Carlos Beltran kept things going with a single to center and Ellsbury's speed got him to third. The infield was brought in for McCann, and he hit a soft liner to first which was turned into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning. The good news is the Yankees only tied the score; the bad news is closer Joakim Soria blew his second save of the season and was the last pitcher in the bullpen. The Rangers called in Nick Tepesch, Friday's starter, to pitch the 14th.

Nick, Nick, Nick: In his first start since June 1 at Baltimore, right-hander Nick Martinez pitched wonderfully for 5⅓ innings. He didn’t allow any runs on the three hits given up and he struck out three. He got into trouble just once, in the first inning when he gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner. But Derek Jeter bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, his second of the series, to erase any threat. Ellsbury singled to right but Beltran hit into a force play to end the inning.

Martinez, who played college ball at nearby Fordham University, wasn’t overpowering, but he placed his pitches in the correct spots and challenged the hitters when he needed to. His defense also bailed him out; Martin made a leaping, juggling catch against the wall in dead center field off a ball hit by McCann.

Martinez was placed on the DL July 2 with discomfort on his left side, and he struggled before his stint away from the team. Martinez was 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA over his past seven starts, pushing his ERA from 2.14 to 5.10.

One of the biggest moves of the game came when Washington relieved Martinez for Neftali Feliz with one out and a man on in the sixth. Martinez had thrown just 67 pitches. Facing Jeter, Feliz retired him on a 3-2 popout to short for the second out. Ellsbury ended the inning with a groundout to short.

What’s next?: Yu Darvish (9-5, 2.88) takes on David Phelps (4-4, 3.87) in a battle between right-handers on Wednesday night.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Yankees 2

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21

NEW YORK -- All Ron Washington is asking from this young Texas Rangers club is to compete.

Monday night in the Bronx, Washington’s kids did compete and earned a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

This victory pushed the Texas Rangers (40-59) to just 3-14 in July and prevented the club from slipping to 21 games under .500.

Right-handed starter Miles Mikolas (1-2) earned his first big league victory as a starter and did something so few in this rotation have done, going past the sixth inning. A Rangers starter has gone more than six innings just twice in the past 18 games, first Yu Darvish and now Mikolas. In the past 11 games, Rangers starters have gone into the sixth inning five times.

Mikolas went 7⅓ innings, allowing two runs on just four hits.

What happened? The Yankees clung to a 2-1 lead until the Rangers scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning, all with two out. Geovany Soto tied the game with a single over third baseman Zelous Wheeler’s head, which was followed up by Rougned Odor's RBI single past a diving Derek Jeter at short for a 3-2 edge. Shin-Soo Choo, who was in a 0-for-21 slide coming into the game, picked up his first RBI since July 12 with a single to center for the 4-2 lead.

What was so impressive about the rally was that it came with two outs and that the lower part of the order, hitters Nos. 6-7-8-9, got it going.

Choo ends the slump: Choo started in right field for the first time this season and first time since 2012, when he played for Cleveland. Choo said he wasn’t comfortable in right due to a sore left ankle. Choo saw his rough patch extend to 0-for-22 when he flied out to center in the first. He ended the slump with a third-inning double and scored on an Adrian Beltre fielder’s choice. Choo’s biggest hit was the insurance the Rangers needed with a RBI single to center in the sixth.

Mikolas’ night: The 25-year-old righty pitched himself out of trouble in several innings, including limiting the damage in the first. AfterJeter advanced to second on a one-out balk, Mikolas gave up an infield hit to Jacoby Ellsbury. Carlos Beltran’s fly scored Jeter, but Mikolas retired Kelly Johnson on a fly to right. At one point, Mikolas retired eight in a row until Ellsbury’s homer gave the Yanks a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Mikolas didn’t let that bother him and retired the next four batters before giving up consecutive hits in the fifth. Mikolas walked Brett Gardner with one out and two on before facing Jeter. Mikolas got Jeter to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Mikolas let out a scream on the mound after the play and Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor high-fived each other.

Errors, errors, errors: The Yankees committed five errors, three by pitcher Shane Greene -- two on throws and another when he dropped the ball from the first baseman. Brian Roberts and Jeter also committed throwing errors.

Health issues: Designated hitter Jake Smolinski left the game for a pinch hitter in the ninth with a bruised left foot. Smolinski fouled a ball off his foot in a previous at bat.

Soto's status for Tuesday night is uncertain, meanwhile, after he left Monday’s game after suffering tightness in his right groin suffered when crossing the plate in the sixth.

What’s next? Nick Martinez (1-6, 5.10) is scheduled to face fellow right-hander Chase Whitley (4-3, 5.10) in Game 2 of this series Tuesday. The Rangers will take Martinez off the disabled list and make a corresponding roster move.
Michael YoungAP Photo/LM Otero"I learned real quick what a true pro Michael was," Jason Witten said of Saturday honoree Young.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's become a tradition of sorts lately: A Dallas-Fort Worth sports star is honored and other top athletes from the city attend to show their support.

That was the case again Saturday night as Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and Cowboys tight end Jason Witten were on hand for a ceremony honoring Michael Young's career prior to the Texas Rangers-Toronto Blue Jays game.

"Michael made baseball into something in this town," Nowitzki said. "They weren’t very good when I got here and he stuck with the team and kept playing hard and showing up every night, played his heart out no matter what the standings were. What I appreciated most about him was how he handled himself on and off the field. I can relate to that.

"It was never really about him, even in successful years. It was always about the team. It wasn't about, ‘How do I get in the headlines off the field?’ It was leaving it all out on the field. That’s what I appreciate the most about him. We’ve been friends for years and keep in touch."

Nowitzki, who just returned from vacation, received a loud ovation when he was introduced prior to the event. He congratulated Young after it was over and took pictures with two of Young's sons -- Mateo and Emilio.

Witten, another longtime Dallas athlete, said he loved watching Young play the game.

"I came in '03 and I learned real quick what a true pro Michael was," Witten said. "I think anybody that’s been around him, you know how great he was. It was somebody I looked up to and admired, not just how he played on the field, but how he acted off. I wanted to show my gratitude and respect by being here tonight."

The last time there was similar sports royalty on hand for a big ceremony was the retirement of Mike Modano's No. 9 in March. Nowitzki and Young were both at that event, congratulating Modano just before the No. 9 was raised to the American Airlines Center rafters. Modano couldn't attend Saturday, but left Young a video message that was played on the big screen at Globe Life Park.

"I think it’s very special," Young, 37, said of how area athletes support each other. "I don’t think you see that in many other towns. We all know each other, we keep in touch, we all pull for each other and hit each other up after good games. It’s a special bond and I’m very happy to be a part of it. A lot of these guys, we spend a massive chunk of our careers in the same town playing in front of the same fans. That’s pretty special."

Young was honored with a proclamation from the city of Arlington (making May 17 Michael Young Day), the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation donated $10,000 to the Michael Young Family Foundation, and Young received a four-day trip to Walt Disney World courtesy of his former teammates.

A handful of those former teammates, managers and even those who played against Young for years presented video tributes, including Mark DeRosa, Derek Jeter, Cliff Lee, Don Mattingly, Mike Napoli, Mark Teixeira and David Murphy.

W2W4: Rangers-Yankees

July, 22, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Where did 2010 go?

The Rangers and Yankees are back together again, though in a few ways they are mirror images of the super powers that clashed in a memorable American League Championship Series in 2010.

Don't blame the pitching. The Rangers and Yankees are second and third in the American League in ERA in what is a dead heat. The Rangers have a 3.76 team ERA. The Yankees have a 3.77 team ERA.

No, the problem is a pair of offenses that have plummeted from their powerhouse levels of 2010. The Yankees are averaging 3.9 runs per game. The not-so-Bronx Bombers have a .244 team batting average and a .375 slugging percentage.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have scored two or fewer runs in six of their last eight games. The Rangers are eighth in the AL with 418 runs, an average of 4.3 runs per game.

The Rangers have actually managed to play at a high level for much of the season and at 54-44 are three games behind Oakland in the American League West.

The Yankees (52-46) have also managed to hang around in the AL East, where they are seven games behind Boston after losing 8-7 in 11 innings on Sunday night on former Ranger Mike Napoli's walk off home run for the Red Sox.

Here's what else to watch for as the Rangers and Yankees begin a four-game series Monday night in Arlington:

Not A-Rod: Former Ranger Alex Rodriguez was expected to make his season debut Monday night, but will be in Tampa instead getting treatment for a Grade 1 quad strain. Conspiracy theories abound that the quad injury -- discovered by an MRI on Sunday -- are part of a plan for Rodriguez to never play for the Yankees again, and who knows, maybe help them get out of the $141 million the club still owes him. Rodriguez will avoid the boo birds in Texas where he has long been vilified since being traded by the Rangers to New York. Amazing since Rodriguez put up big numbers in Texas. He was the 2003 America League MVP playing for the Rangers in a season where he had 52 home runs and 132 RBIs. There's an argument the Yankees need to take a chance on A-Rod. Yankees third basemen this season have hit an AL-low four home runs and have not hit one since May 22 (by David Adams).

Darvish returns: Yu Darvish comes off the 15-day disabled list to make Monday's start against the Yankees. He missed only one start because of a muscle strain in his back. Rangers manager Ron Washington said this week that Darvish could have made the start he missed before the All-Star break against Baltimore, but the the Rangers decided to hold him back for precautionary reasons. The Rangers hope they are getting back the Darvish that dominated opponents early in the season. He's failed to complete seven innings in each of his past four starts, recording a 4.50 ERA. Darvish can retake the major league strikeout lead on Monday night. Matt Harvey of the New York Mets tied him with 157 strikeouts over the weekend.

Changing of the guard: The Yankees have won the season series from the Rangers seven of the last nine seasons. The Rangers took two out of three games at Yankee Stadium in June and can win the season series for the first time since 2008 with no worse than a split of the four-game series. The teams also split eight regular season games in 2010, and then the Rangers won the series that really matter, taking the ALCS 4-2 to earn the first trip to the World Series in club history.

Injuries crush Yanks: The Bronx Bombers have aged quickly. With shortstop Derek Jeter going back on the disabled list right before the All-Star break and former Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira out for the season after wrist surgery, the Yankees have a total payroll of $98.5 million on the DL. That's more than 16 teams' Opening Day payroll for 2013. Notable Yankees on the DL include Rodriguez ($29M), Teixeira ($23.125M), Jeter ($17M), center fielder Curtis Granderson ($15M) and oft-injured infielder Kevin Youkilis ($12M).

Cano, Kinsler playing well: Somehow, All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano stays hot for the Yankees despite little protection in the lineup. Cano is batting .415 with a .519 OBP over a Yankees season-high 12-game hit streak. He’s also driven in 12 runs in that span, including two in each of the last two games. Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler also has played well despite a merry-go-round behind him in the No. 2 spot in the batting order. Three different players have batted second in three games since the All-Star break. Kinsler was 4-for-12 and drove in two of the Rangers' seven runs against Baltimore in a weekend sweep by the Orioles.

Josh Hamilton talk: Popularity

October, 11, 2012

Editor's Note: This is the fourth of a five-part series looking at the issues surrounding Josh Hamilton and free agency as it pertains to the Texas Rangers.

Ben and Skin tell you how Josh Hamilton will be remembered through an unbiased, unemotional point of view.

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Today's topic: Popularity

We've looked at what a contract offer for Hamilton might look like and how he's done in terms of health and at the plate. But what about his popularity?

That topic does matter when you consider the overall picture of Hamilton and what he means to not only the Rangers, but another team. For general managers, this topic isn't important. You decide if Hamilton can help you on the field, how long you think he'll be on the field and what his overall worth is to obtain him. Whether he's popular with fans is very secondary.

But in the overall context of Hamilton as a business, it matters. Ask owners of some of the teams that might go after him and they'll wonder if getting a player with Hamilton's fame won't help them put more people in the seats. All you had to do was take a walk around Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and there was never a question as to the jersey name and number you'd see the most. I'll bet even some of the people booing Hamilton down the stretch have his jersey at home somewhere.

Yu Darvish and Ian Kinsler have made runs at Hamilton in terms of popularity, but they still can't catch him. Last week, MLB and the MLBPA released a list of the top-20 selling jerseys (Majestic Athletic jerseys) since the All-Star break. Derek Jeter was No 1. Hamilton was No. 2.

Darvish ended up No. 7 on that list, but you figure that his breakout season and the fact that he's a rookie should put him high up on the list (not unlike Mike Trout, who was No. 5). Kinsler, by the way, was 14th.

But Hamilton seems to always show up on these lists near the top, no matter what. Just imagine how he'll do if he's not in a Rangers jersey in 2013. Fans will be rushing to get that one, won't they?

It's difficult to quantify what Hamilton might mean to ticket sales and sponsorships, where his 2013 club wouldn't be sharing any of those profits with other big league clubs. But it's clear that he's still a popular player and one who fans want to see. You don't know what you might see from him. Ask the Baltimore Orioles fans who were there that night in May when Hamilton hit four home runs. He has incredible athletic gifts and he's one of those athletes that fans want to see. Combine his talent with a tremendous comeback story and you have a perfect storm of popularity. We'll see how that may impact his value this offseason.

Michael Kirkman plays key role

August, 16, 2012
NEW YORK -- Ron Washington called Michael Kirkman's performance Thursday a "huge turn of events" for the Rangers.

And he was right.

Galloway and Company overreact to the Rangers' win against the Yankees. Randy says he's still worried about Derek Holland's inconsistency.

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Kirkman got the Rangers out of a tight spot in the seventh inning Thursday.

And, thanks to some sloppy fielding by Texas, it wasn't easy.

Kirkman entered with a runner on first and got Raul Ibanez to ground into a force out at second.

Derek Jeter then hit a ball that could have been a double play but Elvis Andrus flubbed the toss to Michael Young, so both Ibanez and Jeter were safe.

After a Nick Swisher walk, Ibanez scored on a force out to bring the Yankees within one at 7-6.

But Kirkman got Andruw Jones to strike out swinging to end the inning.

"He kept his poise and kept the ball down," Washington said. "That was a huge turn of events for Kirkman."

Two best teams? Save it for October: The Rangers denied that there was any significance or deeper meaning to their series against the Yankees this week.

New York and Texas have the two best records in the American League so some viewed this series as a playoff preview.

But not Washington.

"I don't look at these games in that sense," Washington said. "We went out there to play baseball because there's a whole lot of games left to go."

Young agreed.

"It doesn't matter who we're playing against," he said. "You want to win no matter what."

Great plays by Beltre: In addition to proving three runs with his bat Thursday, Adrian Beltre probably saved three runs with his glove in the Rangers' 10-6 win over New York.

In the top of the third, Jeter hit a grounder to third. Beltre fielded it and his momentum carried him into foul territory. But he made the throw to Mitch Moreland to get Jeter.

"I don't know how that ball jumped in his glove, but he has such good hands," Washington said.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Ivan Nova

August, 16, 2012
NEW YORK -- The Rangers and Yankees play the final game of their four-game series Thursday afternoon in the Bronx. The game starts at 12:05 p.m. CT on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and can also be seen on FSSW. Here’s a look at the pitching matchup featuring LHP Derek Holland vs. RHP Ivan Nova:

Holland (7-6, 4.92 ERA): The 25-year-old, who is scheduled to make his 19th start, is 1-2 with a 5.71 ERA in his last five starts. ... Over those five starts, his ERA has increased by nearly a half-run, from 4.57 to 4.92. ... In seven starts since returning from the disabled list (left shoulder fatigue), Holland has had four quality starts but has allowed six runs in each of the other three outings. ... Holland was a hard-luck loser in his last start, giving up just three hits in 7 2/3 innings against Detroit but getting out dueled by Tigers ace Justin Veralnder. ... Holland is 0-5 with 9.09 ERA in six career regular-season starts against the Yankees.

Nova (11-6, 4.70 ERA): The 25-year-old, who is scheduled to make his 24th start, has just two wins in his last nine starts. ... Nova last started Aug. 11 vs. Toronto. He gave up two earned runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings and got the win. ... It was his fourth career start with at least 10 strikeouts and the third time he's done it this year (also 5/19 against Cincinnati and 7/8 against Boston). ... Nova will be making his fourth career start against the Rangers. In his previous three, he went 201 with a 4.67 ERA. At home, Nova is 2-1 with an 8.10 ERA against Texas.

Hitters: None of the Rangers have an extensive history against Nova. Josh Hamilton is 2-for-3 with an RBI double and Ian Kinsler is 2-for-6 with a homer and three walks. Adrian Beltre has struggled, going 1-for-9. Michael Young, who had the day off Wednesday but is expected to be in the lineup Thursday, is 3-for-8 with a double and three RBIs. ... It's fair to say that some key Yankees have had their way with Holland. Derek Jeter is 9-for-16 with three doubles and two RBIs. Robinson Cano is 7-for-19 with a triple, homer and five RBIs and Mark Teixeira is 7-for-18 with three homers and eight RBIs. New Yankee Ichiro Suzuki is 8-for-32 with two doubles and three RBIs against Holland.

Up next:

Fri at Toronto: RHP Yu Darvish (12-8, 4.54 ERA) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (8-10, 5.04 ERA), 6:07 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW

Ron Washington confident in Derek Holland

August, 16, 2012
NEW YORK -- The Rangers are one loss away from being swept in the Bronx. And it's up to starter Derek Holland to get things turned around Thursday.

Manager Ron Washington is confident his left-hander can get the job done.

"I certainly expect him to go out and keep us in the ball game," the manager said.

But if Holland's recent statistics are any indication, he may be in for a long afternoon Thursday.

Holland has struggled mightily against the Yankees over the course of his career. And he's hit a rough stretch of the season.

He is 1-2 with a 5.71 ERA in his last five starts. While he was a hard-luck loser against Detroit in his last start, Holland had given up at least six runs in three of his previous six starts. He's also allowed a team-high 22 homers.

Washington hopes that Holland's confidence can carry over from his last start, when he allowed three hits in 7 2/3 innings against Detroit.

"I think his confidence is high right now," the manager said.

Holland doesn't have a good regular-season history against the Yankees.

He is 0-5 with 9.09 ERA in six career regular-season starts against New York.

Some key Yankees have had their way with the lefty. Derek Jeter is 9-for-16 with three doubles and two RBIs in his career against Holland. Robinson Cano is 7-for-19 with a triple, homer and five RBIs and Mark Teixeira is 7-for-18 with three homers and eight RBIs.

In order to have success Thursday, Holland needs to locate all four of his pitches well. And if he's going to miss, Holland needs to miss off of the plate, according to Washington.

"In certain counts, he's trying to get the ball in certain spots, and he's missing," Washington said. "You don't want to miss over the plate, and that's what's happening."

Matt Harrison battles in loss

August, 14, 2012
NEW YORK -- Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison desperately wanted to plead his case to remain in the game.

But manager Ron Washington never gave him the chance.

“I couldn’t, he already took me out before he got out there,” said Harrison, who left with the score tied at 0-0 after giving up a single to Derek Jeter on his 106th pitch of the evening with one out in the seventh inning Tuesday.

“It’s tough to come out of games. You wanna be out there as long as possible. It’s a tie game and I really wanted to finish the inning. But they made a decision, and that’s what they wanted to do.”

The decision backfired. Right-handed reliever Alexi Ogando came in and surrendered back-to-back homers to Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira, and the New York Yankees topped the Rangers, 3-0.

“He was outstanding,” Washington said of Harrison, who labored through the first four innings (81 pitches) before finding his grove and ultimately ending up a tough-luck loser. “Early on, he had some stressful innings, but he found a way to make pitches and get out of it. And then after the fifth inning, he settled in there and started getting some quick outs.”

Harrison (13-7) gave up just one run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old walked three and struck out two. He worked in and out of trouble all evening, especially in the third, when he escaped a bases loaded jam by getting Curtis Granderson to fly out to center.

“I felt pretty good,” said Harrison, who is still one win shy of becoming the first southpaw in franchise history to get 10 wins on the road in a single season. “I struggled with command issues, but I was able to work things out and get into the seventh.”

In the fourth, Harrison was covered in sweat, which was dripping off his cap.

“It was just humid out there. I sweat a lot for some reason,” he said. “I got a new hat and went on with my business.”

In the end, Harrison was out-dueled by Hiroki Kuroda, who flirted with a no-no before finishing a complete-game two-hitter.

“It definitely makes it interesting,” Harrison said. “One mistake can cost you a ballgame. I was just trying to put up as many zeroes as I could and give us a chance.”

Harrison has lost three of his last five starts. He has a 1.26 ERA in two career starts at Yankee Stadium, compiling a 1-1 record. He is 2-4 with a 3.40 ERA in seven starts since July 1.

Tough night for Alexi Ogando

August, 14, 2012
NEW YORK -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington was hoping right-handed reliever Alexi Ogando could overpower New York Yankees switch-hitting right fielder Nick Swisher.

It didn’t happen.

Swisher slugged a 3-2 high fastball from Ogando for a two-run home run into right with one out in the seventh inning to snap a scoreless tie, and first baseman Mark Teixeira followed with a solo shot. The back-to-back blasts accounted for all the Yankees’ runs in their 3-0 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

“I wanted to put velocity on Swisher and he didn’t beat him with it,” Washington said. “I think the ball Swish hit was above his eyes, but he definitely caught it. I think it was that at-bat, he saw so many fastballs that he finally timed one. The one he hit definitely wasn’t in the strike zone. It was over his head, well not above his head, but it was at eye-level. The one with Teixeira, it was the one he got down and Tex went down there and got it.”

Washington didn’t second-guess his decision to pull left-hander Matt Harrison (6 1/3 innings, one run), who had just surrendered a single to Derek Jeter, and insert Ogando.

“He came in and he didn’t get the job done,” he said. “If I had to do it again, I’ll bring Ogando in any one of those situations. Today he ended up giving up two hits and they both happened to be home runs.”

Ogando got ahead of Swisher 0-2, but wasn’t able to finish him off.

“You know, he threw one slider (2-2) and it wasn’t very good,” Washington said. “You know, it just didn’t happen. That’s all that’s to it. We got beat.”

Ogando had worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his previous six appearances. Prior to facing Swisher and Teixeira, left-handed batters were hitting .214 (15-for-70) against him this season.

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 3, Rangers 0

August, 14, 2012

NEW YORK -- The Texas Rangers avoided being no-hit, but they couldn’t avoid being shut out in a 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

What it means: Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda flirted with a no-no, dominated the best offense in baseball and finished off a complete-game two-hitter. The Rangers, who came in leading the majors in both runs scored and batting average, must now win their next two games to earn a split in the Bronx.

Ughando: Alexi Ogando had worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his previous six appearances. That’s history now. Brought into a scoreless game with a runner on first and one out in the seventh, Ogando served up back-to-back homers to Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira that gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Prior to those homers, left-handed hitters were 15-for-70 (.214) off the 28-year-old right-hander.

Jinxed: Elvis Andrus ended Kuroda’s no-hit bid with an infield single up the middle to lead off the seventh. In the first six innings, only Andrus (first-inning walk) and Mitch Moreland (third-inning walk) reached base.

Tough-luck loser: Matt Harrison deserved a better fate. The 26-year-old left-hander gutted through 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball, but received no run support -- or help from his bullpen. Harrison (13-7), who threw 106 pitches, scattered five hits, walked three and struck out two. He was pulled by manager Ron Washington in favor of Ogando after surrendering a single to Derek Jeter with one out in the seventh. The move proved costly.

Remember: Harrison had gone 1-2 with a 5.55 ERA in his previous four starts since throwing a complete-game shutout July 15 in Seattle. He was plagued by a stomach virus in his last outing -- a 4 2/3-inning, five-run no-decision -- Aug. 8 in Boston.

MY got a hit: Michael Young snapped an 0-for-12 drought with a single up the middle to lead off the eighth.

Donezo: Josh Hamilton’s 11-game hitting streak and Nelson Cruz’s eight-game hitting streak both came to an end.

E-6: Andrus committed his 11th error of the season in the sixth inning.

Back in the bigs: Backup catcher Luis Martinez went 0-for-3 in his first start of the season, but called a tremendous game behind the plate.

Ouch: Reliever Tanner Scheppers was struck by a liner off the bat of Russell Martin in the eighth, but remained in the game to record the final out of the inning.

Up next: RHP Scott Feldman (6-7, 4.64 ERA) tries to rebound from his first loss in his last seven decisions when he takes on RHP Freddy Garcia on Wednesday night in the Bronx.

Robbie Ross' fourth win an MLB record

April, 26, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Robbie Ross is tied for the major league lead for wins.

[+] EnlargeRobbie Ross
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireRangers rookie reliever Robbie Ross has to wear some interesting duds at his teammates' request.
Not Matt Harrison. Not Yu Darvish. Yes, 22-year old situational relief pitcher Robbie Ross.

In fact, his four wins in just six appearances is an MLB first.

The same rookie that has to "cowboy up" before games by toting around a toy mini-rifle and a plush horse while wearing a leather vest and a pink backpack retired eight straight Yankees, including future Hall of Famers Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez -- guys who made their MLB debut before Ross was in kindergarten.

"I think after [Jeter] grounded out, I think I had to get off the mound and give a sigh of relief," Ross said.

Ross knows he'll eventually have a bad outing, but for now, he said he's living in the moment.

"I didn't expect anything like this," Ross said. "Right now it's going the right direction, and I hope I can keep going in that direction."

It's not even that he didn't expect to win four games in April. Ross said he didn't even expect to be put into win-situations.

"I just expected to go in there, do some innings, and try to keep our team in the game," Ross said. "I never expected to get wins."

Talk about a pressure situation, too. In the fourth inning, Ross came in with runners on second and third with one out against the hot-hitting Eric Chavez. Mark Teixeira scored on a sacrifice fly, and Ross limited the damage by getting Russell Martin to line out to first.

Rangers' relief pitcher Robbie Ross on his hot start to his rookie season.

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Ross followed that up by pitching a perfect fifth and sixth innings.

"I was really just more focused on not walking [Chavez]," Ross said. "Just knowing we have a team that can make plays behind me when I'm pitching just makes my nerves and everything that I'm going through on the mound a lot easier."

At 18 years old, Ross was drafted out of high school in the second round by the Rangers. Now he's an integral part of the bullpen that helped Texas jump out to a 8.5-game lead over the Angels.

"It's like a dream come true," Ross said. "I just sit here and think -- this is a big team and a special organization and things like that."

He still knows his place, though. Technically, he is on pace to win 34 games this season. Even if he did, he would still be the rookie in the clubhouse who has to head out to the bullpen before games in his western duds while "Happy Trails" plays throughout the stadium.

"I don't think wins will do anything to it," Ross said laughing. "As long as I'm the rookie, I'll wear the outfit. As long as I can be around here pitching and enjoying this team, it's fine with me."

Ross has been a great surprise for manager Ron Washington. Opponents are hitting .179 against the bullpen's only southpaw.

Yu Darvish's assortment of pitches baffles Yankees

April, 25, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The variety of pitches Yu Darvish threw, the change in velocity, the movement -- whatever it was, the Yankees agreed that it was good.

After mixed reviews in his first three starts, Darvish left no doubt about his potential after shutting down baseball's best offense outside of Arlington in the Rangers' 2-0 win Tuesday night.

Darvish showed off his whole arsenal, going 8 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts.

Even future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter said he hadn't seen anything quite like it.

"He has a lot of different pitches. We really didn't know what to expect," Jeter said. "He had the fastball, two-seamer, cutter, four-seamer, curveball, slider, change-up -- he's got pretty much everything."

Mark Teixeira went 0-for-4 on the night and said that nothing was working for the Yankees.

"We had a game plan, to make him throw strikes. He definitely did that," the former Ranger said. "If you try to be patient, you're down. If you tried to be agressive, it seemed like every pitch started in the zone and then moved out of the zone or around the zone. He just pitched great tonight."

The chorus sounded about the same from the rest of the Bronx Bombers.

When asked about comparing Darvish to other pitchers, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and most of the New York lineup said they hadn't seen a pitcher throw such a wide variety of pitches.

"He has so many different weapons he can go to," Girardi said. "When I look at him, I look at five or six [pitches]. You don't see a lot of guys that have that. It's a tough comparison."

Robinson Cano was 2-for-4 on the night, but said Darvish threw just about everything.

"Anybody that throws that many pitches? I don't remember," Cano said. "There isn't anybody that throws that many pitches."

Nick Swisher joked that the only good pitch he saw from Darvish was the changeup he hit for a single to knock Darvish out of the game. Swisher grounded out to Darvish in the sixth inning and in his two at-bats before that, he struck out swinging -- and he wasn't even close.

"He had good control of his pitches and he stayed down in the zone," Swisher said. "When a pitcher's consistently down there getting strikes, it's going to make for a tough day."

Darvish's performance was the longest scoreless outing by a Rangers pitcher against New York since Bob Tewksbury in 1995. Joe Nathan got a one-pitch save to complete the first shutout against the Yankees in Arlington since 2000.

"Hats off to him. It's the first time we've ever seen him," Swisher said of Darvish. "We'll be ready for him next time."

Next time won't come until August, which is when the Rangers and Yankees meet again.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Perhaps a Texas starter was due for a dud after the Rangers pitched well enough to have a legitimate shot of winning every game during their 13-3 start.

You just didn’t expect it to come from Derek Holland, which speaks to the wild-haired 25-year-old's rapid maturation within the last year, when he morphed from a roller coaster to a rock in the Rangers’ rotation.

Rangers starter Derek Holland talks about the 7-4 loss to the Yankees and getting ready for his next start.

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Then again, the New York Yankees are in town, so maybe it shouldn’t be considered a shocker that Holland got roughed up in the Rangers’ 7-4 loss Monday night.

The outing snapped Holland’s personal winning streak of eight games, including his spectacular World Series performance, but continued his bad run against the Bronx Bombers. Holland is 0-5 with a 9.53 ERA against the Yankees in his career, although he tersely said he doesn’t read too much into those nasty numbers.

All due respect to the Yankees’ loaded lineup, but Holland simply didn’t pitch well in front of the sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

“It’s been a while,” manager Ron Washington said of Holland’s poor performance. “He’s been very consistent. And once again, you know, that’s a pretty good lineup. They do their business in that batter’s box. If you’re a little bit erratic and not hitting your spots and doing what you’re supposed to do, they make you pay.”

Sure, future first-ballot Hall of Famer Derek Jeter deserves credit for his four hits off of Holland, including a double that scored the Yankees' seventh run. And Alex Rodriguez, whose case for Cooperstown is clouded only by his admitted steroids history during his Rangers days, hit a towering blast into the visitors’ bullpen that blew the game open in the fifth inning.

But the Yankees’ bats, which beat up Holland for nine hits in his six innings, had nothing to do with the Dutch Oven’s biggest problem. He struggled with his command, allowing four walks, including a free pass to No. 9 hitter Chris Stewart to lead off the disastrous fifth inning.

“I’m pretty upset with myself,” said Holland, whose ERA soared from 3.10 to 4.78 after his first non-quality start of the season. “I didn’t battle as well as I usually had been before. The walks are what really killed me.”

Washington wasn’t too upset with Holland. In fact, the skipper sought the silver lining, saying that one bad inning was the difference in the game and praising Holland for putting up a fight despite the poor command.

The plan was to pull Holland after that awful fifth inning, but Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux changed their minds, wanting to save the bullpen as much as possible with long man Scott Feldman scheduled to make a spot start Wednesday. Holland gave the Rangers one more inning -- and gave up one more run -- before hitting the showers.

“He’s a tough kid,” said clubhouse leader Michael Young, who delivered what appeared to be a pep talk to Holland in the dugout after the sixth inning. “He’ll bounce back. … He’s getting to be a real professional right now. He’ll make his adjustments, watch his film. He’ll be ready to roll in his next start.”

Added Holland: “It’s not like the end of the world because I had one bad start.”

No, it just ended a couple of impressive trends. And it extended a trend for Holland against the Yankees that isn’t exactly encouraging.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. CC Sabathia

April, 23, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have returned home to face the New York Yankees in a three-game series. They'll send lefty Derek Holland to the mound against left-hander CC Sabathia. The game is at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN, FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. Here's a look at the matchup:

Holland (2-0, 3.10 ERA): He has quality starts in his first three outings and is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA (five earned runs in 13 1/3 innings). ... Holland has won seven straight games and 12 of his last 13 decisions in the regular season. The last Rangers starter to win eight games in a row was Tommy Hunter (won first eight decisions of 2010 season). ... Holland has struggled in the regular season against the Yankees, going 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six career games, including an 0-2 mark and an 8.62 ERA with 12 walks and nine strikeouts in three starts in 2011. ... In his last start in Boston, Holland gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and three walks.

Sabathia (1-0, 5.59 ERA): The lefty's best start of 2012 was his most recent one. Sabathia allowed three runs on four hits in 7 1/3 innings in a win over Minnesota. He had seven strikeouts and one walk. It was his first win of the season after two no-decisions. ... Left-handed hitters are batting just .125 against Sabathia. ... The Rangers jumped on Sabathia last season. He had a 2-0 record despite a 5.12 ERA in three starts. He gave up 13 runs on 21 hits in 19 1/3 innings. ... Sabathia's only appearance in Arlington was a quality start. He gave up five runs (three earned) in six innings with four walks in a win.

Hitters: Michael Young is 15-for-46 with seven RBIs off Sabathia. ... Mike Napoli is 4-for-14 with a homer. ... Nelson Cruz (0-for-11) and Josh Hamilton (1-for-13) have struggled against him. ... Robinson Cano is 5-for-15 with a homer against Holland. ... Derek Jeter (5-for-12) and Mark Teixeira (7-for-15) have hit him well. ... Curtis Granderson is 1-for-6.

Up Next:

Tuesday vs. NYY: RHP Yu Darvish (2-0, 3.57 ERA) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 5.00 ERA), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/FSSW
Wednesday vs. NYY: TBA (likely Scott Feldman) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (1-2, 6.75 ERA), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/FSSW



Adrian Beltre
.322 14 53 52
HRA. Beltre 14
RBIA. Beltre 53
RA. Beltre 52
OPSA. Beltre .880
WY. Darvish 9
ERAY. Darvish 2.92
SOY. Darvish 159