Texas Rangers: Detroit Tigers

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 6, Rangers 0

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Things just got worse for the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler can wave bye-bye to his former team as the Rangers were swept in the three-game series after a 6-0 defeat at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers have now lost a season-high eight straight games, their longest slide since 2005.

How it happened: The Tigers took advantage of some wildness from Texas starter Nick Martinez, who didn’t get out of the third inning. The Tigers' biggest hit was a two-run double by Austin Jackson that pushed the Tigers to a 4-0 lead in the third inning. J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly out in the fourth upped the lead to 5-0.

It seemed as if the Tigers got tired of scoring, because they took the rest of the night off. Either that or Rangers reliever Scott Baker took control of things, which appeared more likely.

What it means: The Rangers held staff meetings before the game to make sure everybody is on the same page. The Rangers want to keep going with young players and hope they develop over the course of the season. Well, the patience is being tested after this latest loss. The Rangers hit into three double plays, Martinez walked a career-high five and, for the 34,989 in attendance, it was a rather boring evening. The last time the Rangers lost eight in a row was Aug. 8-16, 2005.

More starting pitching woes: Martinez was wonderful in his last start, against the Los Angeles Angels, when he picked up a no-decision while allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings. He left that game trailing 2-1. This time, Martinez failed to get out of the third inning, and his line was pretty bad. He pitched 2⅓ innings, allowed four runs on six hits and walked five. In this three-game set, Rangers starters allowed 14 earned runs.

Somebody did pitch well: Baker, a right-hander, had the best night of anybody for the home team. In 6⅔ innings of work, he gave up two runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts while throwing 84 pitches. Baker’s night was needed for a bullpen that has been worked hard.

What's next: The Rangers on Friday begin a three-game weekend series at home against the Minnesota Twins. Right-hander Nick Tepesch (2-3, 4.38 ERA) goes for the Rangers., who face Kevin Correia (4-8, 5.02) in a 7:05 p.m. CT start.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers conclude their three-game set against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

Here's a preview:

Avoiding a sweep: The Rangers have been swept three times this season but never in back-to-back series. The Rangers lost three straight to the Los Angeles Angles over the weekend. Overall, the Rangers have lost a season-high seven games and sit 12.5 games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West. Finding consistent pitching and hitting is the major problem for the Rangers right now. In Wednesday's 8-6 loss to the Tigers, there was no pitching as Joe Saunders fell to 0-4 and is now winless in seven starts this season. There was some hitting, however, as the Rangers scored the most runs since a 10-6 loss at Oakland on June 17.

Beltre on a tear: Third baseman Adrian Beltre is 9-for-12 over the last three games and has pushed his average to .328. In six games against the Tigers this season, Beltre is hitting .652 with eight RBI and he is hitting .470 against Detroit since the start of the 2012 season. Beltre, who reached 2,500 hits with a single on Tuesday now has 2,506 career hits.

Ian Kinsler's week: It started with a wave that miffed starter Colby Lewis and agitated manager Ron Washington and continued with a smattering of boos. Kinsler is having a pretty good time against his former club. He is 4-for-8 in the first two games here with three runs scored, three RBIs, a double, home run and a nifty play in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game (he does also have a throwing error). Kinsler has reached base in 10 of his last 11 games.

Can we get some pitching?: RHP Nick Martinez (1-4, 4.22) will start against the Tigers' Rick Porcello (9-4, 3.76) on Thursday. Martinez pitched well in his last outing, allowing just two runs on three hits in seven innings against the Angles last Saturday. Martinez no-hit the Angles until sixth inning. Martinez was credited with a no-decision as the Rangers lost 3-2 in extra innings.

Wash: Kinsler would be plunked in old days

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
ARLINGTON, Texas -- After offering a "no comment" Tuesday night when asked about Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler's wave to the dugout after hitting a first-inning home run, Rangers manager Ron Washington opened up Wednesday morning about Kinsler's actions, saying that in the old days the second baseman would have been hit in his next at-bat for his actions.

"It wouldn't have been nothing personal," Washington said on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "It was just saying, 'Hey, go ahead and enjoy what you just did, but don't do that."

Washington said pitcher Colby Lewis was miffed by the gesture, but Kinsler, who played with the Rangers for eight seasons, said he was just having fun. After Kinsler's next at-bat in the third, Lewis exchanged words with him as he was running by.

"I told him it was good to see him," Lewis said.

Washington said Lewis planned on sending Kinsler a message during the at-bat, but things changed as the game progressed.

"I think Colby's intention was to go up and in on him," Washington said. "But a lot of times you try to do stuff like that, the ball gets away from you and you could hurt someone, and after he didn't, he just decided he was going to go ahead and get him out. But I think after he got him out, he let him know how he felt when he crossed the plate."

Joe Saunders looks for first win

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers are hoping their season-high six-game losing streak ends soon.

Joe Saunders
Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesRangers starting pitcher Joe Saunders is 0-3 with a 4.11 ERA this season.
Wednesday would be a nice place to start for the Rangers as they play the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park. However, the Rangers' starting pitcher Joe Saunders hasn't won a game all season.

He's 0-3 with a 4.11 ERA this season. The club is 2-4 in his starts.

"It's hard not to look at your record, especially these days," Saunders said. "It's harder to control wins and losses, but you still have to go out there and throw up zeros and do the other things to help the team along. Yes, I haven’t won a game yet, but I've helped my team win a few times so you have to look at that. It's not always about yourself. It's about the team."


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In Saunders' last start, June 20 against the Angels, he went 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs -- four earned -- in the 7-3 loss. In the five starts since he's come off the DL, Saunders has posted a 0-2 mark with a 3.33 ERA. Saunders has allowed fewer than two earned runs in four of his last five outings.

Winning a game, particularly now, is imperative for a Rangers team struggling at the plate.

"Yeah, it's frustrating to not have a win there, but you have to keep pushing forward," said Saunders who hasn't won a game since last August 31 at Houston when he pitched for Seattle. "Sometimes it happens, sometimes you put yourself in the best spot to win and you don’t win. Sometimes you put yourself in the worst spot and you win. It's one of those fluke things where wins and losses are harder to come by these days, at least to be able to control (it). But you have to be able to go out there and don’t worry about the BS and focus on pitching."

W2W4: Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers (35-41) currently have the longest losing streak in the majors at six games and just two AL teams, Houston (33-45) and Tampa Bay (31-48), have fewer wins than the Rangers.

The three-game series with the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park continues Wednesday night.

Here’s a preview:

Fixing the offense: Ron Washington inserted Carlos Pena into the No. 6 spot Tuesday night and he went 0-for-4. Washington has used nine different players in the six hole this season and employed 58 different lineups. The lack of run support recently, 11 runs in the last five games, is hurting the Rangers during this six-game losing streak. Washington is open to keeping Pena, a left-handed hitter, in the lineup again against righty Anibal Sanchez.

Saunders seeks a win: Lefty Joe Saunders (0-3) gets the start Wednesday night and seeks his first win of the season. The Rangers are 2-4 in his starts. Saunders went 4 2/3 innings allowing seven runs, four earned in a 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on June 20.

Beltre getting hot?: Third baseman Adrian Beltre hit just .229 on the Rangers' recent nine-game road trip. Tuesday night, Beltre hit the ball hard, getting four hits, including a RBI single in the third inning. With the Rangers seeking offense, could Beltre be the answer?

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Rangers looking for runs

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have lost six consecutive games, the longest such stretch since Sept. 6-13, 2013, when this club lost seven games.

One of the main reasons for their current struggles is hitting.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Beltre
Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesAdrian Beltre's 2,500th career hit was lost in the Rangers' thrashing by the Tigers.
In Tuesday's 8-2 loss to the Tigers, the Rangers went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Over the past four games Texas is just 4-for-29.

The lack of hitting hurt a fine effort by starter Colby Lewis, who allowed four runs on nine hits in 6⅓ innings of work. He struck out six.

"We are collectively not doing enough to win ballgames," said Adrian Beltre who picked up four hits, all singles, including his 2,500th career hit. "Sometimes we get a lot of hits but we don't do it at the right time. It's just something the whole team, everybody is not getting the right hits in the right situations. I think Colby threw a pretty good game. He only gave up one run early, until the seventh inning, and we gave up two. If he's going to come out in seven innings and give up three runs we will take that every day, we'll take that. It was a good outing, but we didn't help him enough to give him the win."

In the second inning, the Rangers had a chance to make something happen when Beltre reached on a single and Alex Rios walked.

Carlos Pena, in his season debut after getting called up from Triple-A Round Rock, struck out looking for the first out. Robinson Chirinos and Michael Choice popped out to short to end the threat. The Rangers would eventually tie the game on an RBI single by Beltre in the third, but the Rangers left two runners on in the inning and would strand runners in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.


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Overall, the Rangers have scored just 11 runs in the past five games, and you would think people would start to get worried around here.

"Not worried," Beltre said. "It's obvious we have more than half the season to go, but we're not worried. But obviously, it's hard to be losing four, five in a row, it's not fun, it's not fun. We have to find a way to create more runs. Running, hit and run, whatever it is, we have to find a way to get our offense going collectively. We're not doing enough to win ballgames collectively, that's the bottom line."

Pena was expected to be a spark for the lineup, but he struck out in his first two at-bats and failed to get the ball out of the infield in four appearances. The Rangers struck out 10 times against Tigers pitching, Elvis Andrus was picked off first base in the opening inning and Texas left nine men on base.

"Just not getting the job done right now," manager Ron Washington said. "We can't seem to put anything together. We just keep battling. We just can't seem to put anything together."

Colby Lewis disappointed in Ian Kinsler

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler's visit to his former big league home came with a little drama.

After Kinsler hit a first-inning home run against Texas' Colby Lewis, he waved to the Rangers dugout as he arrived at first base. As Kinsler rounded the bases he wore a big smile.

[+] EnlargeIan Kinsler
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezIn what appeared to be an act of showboating, Ian Kinsler waved to the Rangers' dugout after hitting a home run in his first at-bat.
When his night was over, Kinsler finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs and a throwing error against the team he played with for eight seasons.

"It was fun," Kinsler said. "I was having a good time out there just enjoying myself and it was a pretty good feeling."

Kinsler said he wasn't waving at anybody when he reached the first base bag.

"The dugout. Just saying hi," he said. "It was nothing personal at all, I was having a good time. It was my return home and to get lucky enough to ... have it go over the fence it was a good feeling and I was just having fun. I was just having fun. I wasn't thinking, I was just enjoying the moment and that's what happened."

There was a difference of opinion in the opposing dugout.

Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't comment on Kinsler's wave but indicated he wasn't happy and that Lewis was miffed by it.

"I have no comment on that," Washington said. "I keep that between us."

Lewis said he was disappointed in Kinsler's gesture but didn't believe it was a big deal.

"It's unfortunate, I feel like it's unfortunate but that’s just me," Lewis said. "I'm not going to sit here and bad-mouth Kins, I really enjoyed Kins and I enjoyed my time playing with him and I enjoyed him as a teammate; disappointed, that’s the word. That’s all. I love Kins, that’s all. I was just disappointed a little bit, that’s all."

Kinsler was traded in the offseason for Prince Fielder and voiced displeasure with the move. In an offseason interview with ESPN The Magazine, Kinsler said he hoped the Rangers go 0-162. Kinsler said he was joking and couldn't understand why there was such a fuss about his thoughts.

In terms of speaking with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, Kinsler said he had no intention of having a discussion with the man who made the trade happen.

"I know where his aspect of things is," Lewis said of Kinsler. "He feels the way he felt maybe how things went down, I have no idea. It's his opinion, it's how things transpired. He's got his view on it, I'm sure. Like I said, I'm taking it as if he was just disappointment in that aspect of things [on the home run gesture] and not with me."

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 8, Rangers 2

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers' losing streak reached six games with an 8-2 defeat to the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park.

How it happened: Things were moving along quietly until the seventh inning, when the Tigers sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs, breaking a 1-1 tie. J.D. Martinez, who batted twice in the inning, hit a two-run homer off Colby Lewis for a 3-1 lead. Martinez, by the way, ended the inning with a strikeout.

Before he could strike out, the Tigers loaded the bases and beat up not only Lewis but reliever Ben Rowen, who allowed two runs on three hits before getting lifted for Shawn Tolleson. When the inning ended, Lewis was credited with four earned runs on nine hits in 6⅓ innings of work. The only positive from Lewis’ outing was he pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season.

What it means: Well, the Rangers are falling further and further behind the leaders in the AL West and for the two AL wild-card spots. At some point the Rangers have to end this slide, but against the streaking Tigers (who have a five-game win streak) it doesn’t appear as if that will happen soon.

Pena’s debut: The Rangers called up first baseman Carlos Pena before the game, and in four trips he struck out twice, bounced out to short and to the pitcher. Pena’s first at-bat came with two runners on and none out in the second. He struck out looking on a Drew Smyly curveball on the corner of the plate.

Kinsler faces old team: Ian Kinsler spent eight years with the Rangers before an offseason trade sent him to the Tigers. He played in his former home on Tuesday night and received a mixture of boos and cheers. He went 2-for-5 with a first-inning homer that traveled 384 feet, and a two-run single to left in the eighth. He also struck out on an off-speed pitch in the seventh. Kinsler committed a throwing error in the eighth when he threw a double-play ball wide of first base.

Some good news: Adrian Beltre’s second-inning single gave him 2,500 hits in his career. Beltre finished 4-for-4 with all singles, including an RBI single that tied the game in the third. He becomes the 97th player in big league history to reach 2,500 hits. He’s also the sixth player to reach 2,500 hits while playing the majority of the time at third base. George Brett (3,514), Wade Boggs (3,010), Brooks Robinson (2,848), Chipper Jones (2,726) and Buddy Bell (2,514) are the others.

Up next: The Rangers have LHP Joe Saunders (0-3, 4.11) facing RHP Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 2.33) Wednesday night.

Ian Kinsler: Nothing to say to Jon Daniels

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler said he's over it.

He spent eight seasons with the Texas Rangers and in some ways he expected more. Maybe he thought he would have been dealt with differently, maybe on a personal level instead of a professional level.

Ian Kinsler
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarIan Kinsler says he has no hard feelings toward Jon Daniels and also nothing to say to him.
But the Rangers traded Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers in the offseason and it sparked a series of comments from Kinsler in an ESPN The Magazine story that said he hoped his former team goes 0-162.

It seemed as if Kinsler was being serious. He was joking and Tuesday night, as a steady rain poured down at Globe Life Park, Kinsler talked about the man who made the deal to trade him, general manager Jon Daniels.

"I haven’t talked to JD since last season," Kinsler said. "Never talked to him through the trade process, through anything that was going on, never given a heads up or maybe, 'this might happen or we’re possibly thinking about trading you.' Nothing like that, no communication. I have nothing to say to him. He probably has nothing to say to me. No reason to talk to the guy."

Sports is a business and few players get to finish their careers with the teams they love. Kinsler didn't sound too bitter about the trade yet wished it were handled differently.

(Read full post)

Pregame notes: Holland getting closer

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
ARLINGTON, Texas -- LHP Derek Holland (knee) isn't expected to pitch for the Rangers until after the All-Star break. However, he threw 75 pitches in a batting practice session Monday. Holland is scheduled to meet with the Rangers' medical officials Tuesday to determine the next step in his progress.

"I want to get out there and do whatever I can to help the team," said Holland, who hasn't pitched this season due to knee surgery.

Holland said his knee will not be 100 percent this season but that he's feeling comfortable coming off the mound fielding grounders and did so Monday.

"I don't want to show up here and not be ready to go," he said. "I want to be able to see some big league hitters, try to get them out."

The Rangers have to figure out when Holland can get a few minor league appearances in before the All-Star break.

Pena called up: Ron Washington didn't say the Rangers are desperate but the team made a roster move Tuesday afternoon, signing first baseman Carlos Pena from Triple-A Round Rock. Pena was inserted into the No. 6 spot in the lineup and will start at first base.

"He's swinging the bat well and playing first base the way he plays first base and that’s pretty good," Washington said. "Think we just brought in a first baseman that can play first base and he has a presence. He may be a little older but he has presence. If you throw something in the wrong spot, he’s going to hurt you. He knows how to play around that bag (and) his presence is important."

In seven games with Round Rock, Pena had a slash line of .333/.429/.500 with one home run and seven RBIs. Pena is a lifetime .233 hitter and played with Houston and Kansas City last season.

To make room for Pena, the club designated Brad Snyder for assignment

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W2W4: Rangers host Detroit Tigers

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
The slumping Texas Rangers will try to end their season-long five-game losing streak by hosting the Detroit Tigers in the first of three games at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Tuesday.

Here's a preview:

Ian Kinsler returns: After saying he hoped the Rangers would go 0-162, second baseman Kinsler makes his first appearance in Arlington with the Tigers. Kinsler said the quotes, in an ESPN The Magazine story, were taken out of context. Still, Kinsler is kind of defiant when it comes to a possible reception he'll receive Tuesday. "If people want to boo me for saying something bad about the front office, that's their prerogative," Kinsler told MLB.com. "I guess we'll see." Kinsler went 8 out of 17 in a four-game set back in May where the Tigers lost three of four games to the Rangers. Kinsler comes in hot, going 6-for-14 with three RBIs and four runs scored in the weekend set against Cleveland.

Trying to end the slide: You know it's going bad when staff ace, Yu Darvish, can't end a losing streak. The Rangers were swept in a three-game set by the Los Angeles Angels and Darvish (7-4) didn't have his best stuff. He gave up five runs on five hits in six innings of work. He gave up two home runs and walked four. After winning four consecutive games, Darvish has lost his last two outings. After beating Oakland, 14-8 on June 16, the Rangers have scored 15 runs during their five-game slide including four the last two games.

Getting kicked out: Ron Washington was kicked out of the first inning of Sunday's loss to the Angels for arguing a play that was overturned by replay. You can't argue plays that have been overturned. The Rangers also had a couple of players ejected against the Angels. Michael Choice and Alex Rios were tossed for arguing balls and strikes Saturday night.

The pitching matchups: Texas has Colby Lewis (5-4, 5.97) against Detroit's Drew Smyly (3-6, 3.48) on Tuesday. Nick Tepesch (2-3, 4.38) vs. Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 2.33) on Wednesday and Joe Saunders (0-3, 4.11) faces Rick Porcello (9-4, 3.76) in the series finale Thursday.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Tigers 4

May, 25, 2014
May 25
DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers scored five runs in the fifth inning on their way to a 12-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. Some brief thoughts:

How it happened: The Rangers jumped on Tigers' starter Justin Verlander, continuing their momentum from a 12-2 win Saturday. Texas scored nine runs (six earned) off the 2011 MVP and Cy Young Award winner, taking a commanding lead after five innings. Verlander lasted just 5 1/3 innings and was behind 9-2 when he left. Alex Rios and Mitch Moreland led the way with three RBIs each. The two had five hits between them, though every Rangers batter except Leonys Martin had a hit.

What it means: The Rangers won three of four from the Tigers in this series and have won five of their last seven games. They have also closed the gap to five games in the AL West, the closest they've been since May 14.

Lots of runs: Texas outscored the Tigers, 35-15, in the four-game series. They put up back-to-back games of at least 10 runs scored for the first time since August 2012. For an offense missing some key hitters, it was a solid performance. They didn't have trouble with Verlander, who posted his third straight disappointing outing. Over his last thee starts, Verlander has allowed 19 runs (16 earned) in 17 1/3 innings pitched with 28 hits allowed, seven strikeouts and nine walks.

Bottom of order (again): On Saturday, Nos. 7-9 in the order were the story. On Sunday, they were solid again. Michael Choice, Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor combined to get five hits, including a home run and two doubles.

Walking to run: After Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus each took swings on first pitches to start the game (Choo getting on first with a broken-bat single and Andrus popping out on a bunt attempt), Mitch Moreland knew he needed to make Verlander throw some pitches. Moreland took four straight balls to put two runners on. The Rangers eventually scored on Alex Rios' two-out hit. But Moreland's walk set the tone for the rest of the inning.

Balk: Colby Lewis turned to throw to second to keep Rajai Davis close in the first and was called for a balk. It appeared his left foot didn't come off the rubber, though it was difficult to tell on the replay. The balk sent Davis to third and he scored on a ground ball with one out to tie the score. The balk was the first one charged to a Rangers pitcher this year.

Choice cuts: Michael Choice, who played left field Sunday with Choo as the DH nursing a sore ankle, pounded the first pitch he saw from Verlander in the second over the left-field wall and into the Tigers' bullpen. The homer gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead and they added to it with another run in the second inning.

Big fifth: For the second straight game, the Rangers put together a big offensive inning. On Sunday, it was the fifth. All nine batters came to the plate in the frame and the club scored five runs on four hits. That included a triple from Rios and singles from Moreland, Adrian Beltre and Chirinos.

Briefly: Verlander had just one strikeout Sunday. It's the first time he's had one or fewer strikeouts in a start since 2008. ... Choo walked three times Sunday, giving him 31 on the season, good enough for top-5 in the AL. ... Texas leads the AL with 51 infield hits. All three infield hits Sunday produced runs.

Up next: RHP Nick Tepesch (1-0, 3.09 ERA) gets the Rangers started on a four-game series in Minnesota. RHP Kevin Correia (2-5, 6.52 ERA) is on the mound for the Twins. It's a 1:10 CT start on Memorial Day on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Tigers 2

May, 24, 2014
May 24

DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers defeated the Detroit Tigers 12-2 on Saturday afternoon. Some quick thoughts:

How it happened: The Rangers jumped on Tigers starter Rick Porcello, pounding 12 hits -- a season high against Porcello -- and scoring seven runs, four of them in the fourth inning. Rougned Odor led the way with five RBIs, and every batter in the lineup had a hit for Texas. Rangers starter Nick Martinez kept the Tigers' lineup from making a comeback with his quality start. Porcello has a 7.68 ERA in seven starts against Texas in his career.

What it means: Texas can win the series with a victory on Sunday. The Rangers are one game under .500 despite all their injuries and gained a game on the Oakland Athletics in the American League West, moving to six games back.

Nice Odor: Odor was the offensive player of the game on Saturday with two triples and five RBIs. He finished 4-for-5 for the game, which included a double and a run scored, and played well defensively. It's a career-high outing for the 20-year-old second baseman, and he became only the second Rangers player to record five RBIs in a game since the start of the 2013 season (Adrian Beltre did it on July 19 at the Baltimore Orioles). Odor also is the first No. 9 hitter with at least two triples and five RBIs in a game in MLB history (since RBI became official in 1920), according to data from ESPN Stats & Information.

Mound presence: Martinez was impressive on Saturday, even wiggling out of a two-out jam in the fifth. He pitched in rhythm and navigated his way through a difficult lineup. He was able to hold the Tigers to one run in the second, picking off Rajai Davis as he tried to steal third. Keeping it a one-run game might have helped Martinez settle down until his offense gave him a ton of support in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Martinez appeared to run out of gas in the sixth, but he got a double play to end the inning, when Nick Castellanos' liner went straight to Odor at second, who tossed to first. It was a quality start for Martinez.

Beltre's belt: Beltre smoked a ball into the left-field seats in the fifth. The home run ties him with Albert Belle for 64th all time at 381 for his career. Beltre is hitting .386 (17-for-44) in his past 11 games, with hits in 10 of those contests.

Terrific trio: The bottom of the Rangers' order powered the offense on Saturday. Through the fourth inning, the Nos. 7, 8 and 9 hitters -- Leonys Martin, Donnie Murphy and Odor -- were 8-for-12 with eight RBIs (including a Murphy two-run HR) and seven runs scored. The three hit for a combined cycle. Martin was back in that group after Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to put him back down in the order and reinsert Shin-Soo Choo at the leadoff spot. Both players had hits in the game at their respective spots.

RISP drought: Elvis Andrus ended his long drought with runners in scoring position, though he didn't drive in a run in the process. Andrus singled off infielder-turned-pitcher Danny Worth in the ninth. He's now 2-for-32 on the season. He was 1-for-3 on Saturday, grounding out with runners on the corners in the third and seventh. The hit in the ninth ended his streak of 29 hitless attempts with runners in scoring position.

Challenges: The Rangers and Tigers were a combined 3-for-3 in challenges on Saturday. The Rangers' lone challenge came on the double play to end the sixth, when initially it was ruled that Mitch Moreland's foot didn't touch the bag before replay showed he got his toe on the bag before Alex Avila's hand.

Sore ankle: Well, it's not a Rangers game without some kind of ailment. Choo came out of the game in the sixth with a sore left ankle. Michael Choice replaced him. Club officials said it was a precautionary move in what was an 8-1 game at that point.

Up next: RHP Colby Lewis (3-3, 5.40 ERA) is on the mound for the Rangers against RHP Justin Verlander (5-3, 3.55 ERA) at 12:08 p.m. CT Sunday on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. It's the final game of this four-game series and the last time the Rangers are in Detroit during the regular season.

Extra Bases: Routine helps Joakim Soria

May, 24, 2014
May 24
DETROIT -- Routine means everything for Joakim Soria these days. Life as a closer is tough enough, not knowing when you might get in a game to get those final three outs. But it becomes more of a challenge when you're not pitching much.

Soria saved the Rangers' win over the Mariners on Wednesday, his first save since May 2. He's made some appearances to try to keep sharp, but that's not the same thing as saving games.

"What I do in BP and my throwing program is important," Soria said. "I keep my arm lose and strong by doing those things. What tends to happen is you go stretches where you don't have saves and then they all hit at once. I just have to be ready."

Soria has eight saves, and in those saves hitters are 0-for-25 with no walks and seven strikeouts. He says having been in the league for a while has helped him find out exactly what he needs to do to keep himself mentally and physically prepared.

"You learn what works and what doesn't," Soria said.

Robertson OK: The big question for outfielder Daniel Robertson is whether he can avoid a DL stint. Robertson said Friday that an ENT doctor had cleared him to play, but he still had swelling in his face, where he had three small fractures near his eye. But all the tests checked out. Robertson will have to wear a facemask once he does get back in the lineup.

"Like Rip Hamilton did," Robertson said. "I'll get an intimidating-looking one."

Change up: Nick Martinez said he's working on throwing his changeup for strikes more often. Martinez, who worked on the pitch the past few years, had a lot of success with it in the minors, many times as a swing-and-miss pitch.

"But up here, they lay off it and take it for a ball," Martinez said. "I'm throwing it but not getting as many strikes as I need to. It needs to catch a little more of the zone."

Martinez is 0-1 with a 2.28 ERA this season and has joined the rotation. He'll pitch tonight against the Tigers and Rick Porcello. Martinez said he's been pleased with his command, which, like everybody else, is crucial.

"If I can command the fastball, my other pitches get better," Martinez said.

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 7, Rangers 2

May, 23, 2014
May 23

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers quickly erased a 2-0 Rangers lead and cruised to a 7-2 victory on Friday night at Comerica Park. Some quick thoughts:

How it happened: Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez allowed three straight hits in the second to fall behind 2-0 before settling down and getting some support from his offense. Sanchez got 14 of his next 15 batters out as the Tigers built a 6-2 lead through six. He ended up allowing just the two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Scott Baker, meanwhile, gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings.

What it means: The Tigers evened the series at a game each with two games left and ended a four-game losing streak. The Rangers had crept to within a game of .500, but now fall two back and 7 1/2 games behind the Athletics, pending Oakland's result against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Up too often: Baker had too many pitches up in the zone on Friday, and he wasn't missing many bats (he had one strikeout and it didn't come until the sixth), as the Tigers took advantage. Even after the Rangers gave Baker a 2-0 lead in the second, he gave it right back in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run homer by Austin Jackson. The Tigers added a run in the third and two more in the fifth off Baker, as well. Even the outs the Tigers hit were hard. We'll see if this means Joe Saunders gets the rotation spot next time through or if Baker sees another opportunity.

Kinsler kills it: Ex-Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler had three doubles and scored after each of them on Friday. His first double went down the first-base line -- a rare opposite-field double for him -- and his second one went down the third-base line. The third, for good measure, was a fly ball to right field. Kinsler has four hits against his former team in this series.

Moreland's impact: Mitch Moreland put the Rangers in front in the second with a two-run double to left-center. Moreland's poke scored Adrian Beltre (single) and Alex Rios (bloop double) to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. The two RBIs put Moreland at 17, one more than Prince Fielder. Moreland also made a nice play at first base, digging an errant throw from Elvis Andrus and preventing a run and Andrus' second error of the inning. With Fielder out, this is a big opportunity for Moreland to show he can handle the everyday job at first. He played well on Friday.

Big arm: Once again, catcher Robinson Chirinos showed off his arm. In the first inning, with the speedy Rajai Davis at first base, Chirinos made a snap throw to first after Kinsler took a strike. Davis was too far off the bag and could not get back before Mitch Moreland applied the tag. Just like that, a runner on at first with no outs was eliminated.

League-leading DPs: Rios grounded into his 11th double play of the season in the seventh inning and his 12th to end the game in the ninth. Rios, the Rangers' most consistent offensive producer and team leader in RBIs, leads the AL in ground-ball double plays so far in 2014.

Up next: RHP Nick Martinez (0-1, 2.28 ERA) is on the mound for the Rangers opposed by RHP Rick Porcello (7-1, 2.91 ERA) at 3:08 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1.



Colby Lewis
10 5.18 133 170
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182