Texas Rangers: Kansas City Royals

Alex Rios trade value moves up and down

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
Alex RiosJesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsMonday's MRI showed that Alex Rios won't need to go on the disabled list for a sprained ankle.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The good news for Rangers right fielder Alex Rios is that he won't go on the disabled list for a sprained right ankle.

The bad news is that his trade value is slipping due to the injury and the longer he remains on the Rangers' roster, the fewer contending teams will be available to acquire his services.

Rios underwent a MRI on Monday afternoon that revealed nothing more than a painful sprained ankle, something that’s bothered him after he swung the bat in Toronto July 19.

After that, Rios had treatment and did some light running from time-to-time to prepare to play.

The Rangers need Rios in their lineup for so many reasons. He gives manager Ron Washington something to work with, given he only has four players in his everyday lineup that are proven.

Rios also needs to play to be able to display his skills for opposing scouts and general managers, so Jon Daniels can make a move.

Each passing day, it becomes harder and harder for Daniels to do anything with Rios, especially when he doesn't play.

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Lineups: Gentry starts in LF, Murphy is DH

September, 21, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Manager Ron Washington went with speed and outfield defense in Saturday night's starting lineup against the Kansas City Royals by starting Craig Gentry in left field.

David Murphy gets his third start of the season as the designated hitter. Here's the starting lineups for tonight's game:

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
RF Alex Rios
3B Adrian Beltre
C A.J. Pierzynski
1B Mitch Moreland
LF Craig Gentry
DH David Murphy
CF Leonys Martin
P Matt Garza

LF Alex Gordon
2B Emilio Bonifacio
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Lorenzo Cain
CF Jarrod Dyson
SS Alcides Escobar
P Jeremy Guthrie

Matchup: Matt Garza vs. Jeremy Guthrie

September, 21, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Rangers try to even their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals when right-hander Matt Garza faces off against Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie at 6:10 p.m. Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. The game is on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540 AM.

Garza (9-6, 4.06 ERA): Garza has lost four straight decisions, the latest a 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday … He goes for his 10th win for the fifth time this season … His four straight losing decisions is a career high … Garza has failed to complete five innings in consecutive starts for the the third time in his career, with the other two times also coming in September … Garza is 2-5 with a 5.72 ERA since Aug. 3 … That's the fourth-highest ERA in the American League in that span … The Rangers are 6-5 in his starts … Run support hasn't been Garza's best friend, as he's had two runs or fewer scored for him in eight of 11 starts … He is 1-5 with a 3.83 ERA for eight career starts against the Royals,but hasn't faced them since 2010 … Garza is 0-2 with a 4.18 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.

Guthrie (14-11, 4.08): Guthrie is 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA in September … He has a career losing record of 69-88 and a 4.25 ERA … Guthrie lost his last start, allowing 13 hits, two home runs and three runs in eight innings of a 3-2 loss to Detroit … Opponents are batting .289 against him … He is 9-4 with a 4.37 ERA at home … Guthrie is 4-3 with a 3.77 ERA for his career against the Rangers.

Hitters: A.J. Pierzynski (13-for-36, 1 HR, 4 RBIs) and Ian Kinsler (10-for-29, 2 2B, RBI) have had success against Guthrie. Alex Rios has two homers against him. Billy Butler is 8-for-20 with an RBI against Garza.

Matchup: Martin Perez vs. Ervin Santana

September, 20, 2013
KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers open a three-game weekend series in Kansas City as left-hander Martin Perez faces Royals right-hander Ervin Santana at 7:10 p.m. Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Perez (9-5, 3.64 ERA): Perez has followed up a six-game winning streak with two straight losses. … He allowed three earned runs in 6⅓ innings in the Rangers' 5-1 loss to Oakland on Sunday. … It was the first time Perez has lost a game when he's had a quality start. … Perez has pitched like a veteran, issuing two walks or fewer in 15 of 17 starts. … The only major league rookie left-hander with more wins is the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu. … Perez has won five straight road games, the second-longest streak by a Texas starter behind Derek Holland's six-game streak.

Santana (9-9, 3.23): Santana has pitched well in his first season with the Royals. … He is ninth in the American League in ERA. … Santana had 6⅔ scoreless innings and beat Detroit on Saturday. … He gave up five hits while fanning five and walking one. … Santana is 5-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 home starts. … He took a no-decision in his only start against the Rangers this season back in June, allowing an unearned run in seven innings in a 3-1 Royals loss. … Santana is 6-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 28 career starts against Texas.

Hitters: Perez has never faced the Royals. Ian Kinsler (19-for-54, 1 HR, 6 RBIs) and Elvis Andrus (12-for-40, 2 RBIs) have had success against Santana.

Profar's game-winning HR boosts his case

June, 2, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jurickson Profar further fueled the debate about what should happen with him when an injured Ian Kinsler returns, a majestic game-winning home run providing the latest statement.

Steve Busby joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Yu Darvish's ability to pitch well even when he doesn't have his best stuff, why he thinks the pitch count talk is overblown and how he would handle Jurickson Profar once Ian Kinsler returns from the DL.

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Profar's timing couldn't have been any better. His two-out solo home run to right field gave the Texas Rangers the lead on the way to a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on a beautiful Sunday in Arlington.

This was Profar's day.

The Rangers had just given up the lead in the top of the eighth when they failed to throw out Alex Gordon on a ground ball to third. The Royals had stung the Rangers with a three-run 10th inning for a 4-1 victory on Saturday.

Enter Profar's dramatic rebuttal. He fell behind with two quick strikes. After taking a curveball for a ball, he was able to foul off a curveball from Royals reliever J.C. Gutierrez, who had retired A.J. Pierzynski and Leonys Martin to start the inning.

Profar then ripped a two-seam fastball that stayed up and outside and lifted it into the right-field seats, a 383-foot bolt of lightning that woke up the Rangers' dugout and the 47,567 in attendance.

"He's not afraid of the game of baseball," Washington said. "Those opportunities like what happened today when he hit that home run are what that young kid lives for."

Profar, as usual, offered few words about his heroics, but his unassuming smile -- also a staple of the 20-year-old -- said it all.

"I was trying to get on base," Profar said. "I guess I did a little better. It's been a good run."

Profar has three home runs in 54 major league at-bats. Is he destined to be a home run hitter in the big leagues?

His bat speed says yes. His manager says wait and see.

"I can't predict that," Washington said. "I know that he has the capability that if a ball is in his area he can hit it out. We have to let him grow and fill in and he'll become exactly what he's supposed to become."

The looming question is whether will Profar stay with the Rangers, or go to Triple-A Round Rock when Kinsler returns from a fractured rib, which could come as soon as next week?

Profar has proven he belongs, batting .324 with two home runs and six RBIs, playing flawless defense and clearly giving the first-place Rangers a spark.

He has soaked up knowledge from his teammates. He has gained their respect, too.

"Not only does he have the talent, he's so open to learning," closer Joe Nathan said. "He's keeping his eyes and ears open. He knows he has to work to stay up here."

Profar said earlier in the week he wants to stay. He added to his case in a big way Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Royals 1

June, 2, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jurickson Profar belted a two-out home run in the bottom of the eighth to lift the Rangers to a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.

Profar is clutch: Profar had a walk-off opportunity in the ninth inning Saturday and didn't come through. He didn't miss his chance to be a hero Sunday. With a 1-2 count, Profar hit a 95 mph two-seam fastball into the right field seats to snap a 1-1 tie. The Rangers had just given up the lead in the top of the eighth. Profar's second home run of the season traveled 383 feet.

Darvish throws 99 pitches: Yu Darvish was pulled after seven innings with only 99 pitches. He had retired eight Royals in a row. Darvish threw 27 pitches in the second inning, but kept his pitch count down the rest of the game. He left with a 1-0 lead that was immediately lost in the top of the eighth.

Darvish gives 7 shutout innings: Darvish allowed three hits. He walked two. He didn't allow a run in seven innings. And yet it was a struggle at times for Darvish. He loaded the bases on a walk and two singles in the second inning but was able to get out of it as Craig Gentry threw out Billy Butler at home with a huge assist on a swipe tag by catcher Geovany Soto.

Rangers strike first: The Rangers took advantage of a bad throwing error by Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Elvis Andrus was the beneficiary, getting on second base. Andrus tagged up to third on a deep fly ball to center field. He scored on Lance Berkman's 30-foot ground ball that Ervin Santana fielded for the second out of the inning.

Rough eighth: The Royals took advantage of Darvish and third baseman Adrian Beltre not being in the game in the top of the eighth. Alex Gordon had a double down the right-field line off reliever Neal Cotts, just the second hit by a left-handed hitter against him. After a sacrifice bunt to move Gordon to third, Eric Hosmer hit a weak grounder to third that Jeff Baker, playing for the injured Beltre, fielded but threw high to Soto to tie the game. Baker was not charged with an error, though he did appear to have a play at the plate.

Up next: The Rangers get an off day before beginning a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. They open a three-game series at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at 6:10 p.m. The pitching matchups in Boston are Justin Grimm versus Ryan Dempster on Tuesday, Alexi Ogando versus John Lackey on Wednesday and Derek Holland versus Jon Lester on Thursday.

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Ervin Santana

June, 2, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's Yu Darvish time again for the Rangers as the ace right-hander goes for his eighth win against Kansas City and Royals right-hander Ervin Santana at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.

Darvish (7-2, 3.03): Darvish makes his 12th start, and he's off to a historic beginning to the 2013 season ... He is fourth pitcher in American League history with at least 105 strikeouts through 11 starts, behind Pedro Martinez (117 in 1999, 114 in 2000 and 121 in 2001), Sam McDowell (109 in 1968), Roger Clemens (107 in 1988) ... Darvish gets an extra days rest after getting on no decision Monday in Arizona ... He took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth but gave up a game-tying two-run home run to Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius ... Darvish had 14 strikeouts, the third time he's done that this season ... He's the 10th pitcher in AL history to have three 14-strikeout games in a season, the last Martinez in both 1999 and 2000 ... Darvish leads the majors with 12.71 strikeouts per nine innings ... His .186 opponents batting average is fourth best in the majors ... Darvish can tie Justin Masterson and Matt Moore for the AL leads in wins on Sunday ... Darvish is 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA for six home starts ... He won his only start against Kansas City last season, winning 8-4 at Kauffman Stadium ... He allowed three hits and had six strikeouts in seven innings.

Santana (3-5, 3.33):
Santana was traded from the Rangers' AL West rivals, the Los Angeles Angels, to Kansas City on Oct. 31 for lefty Brandon Sisk ... Santana is off to a solid start with the Royals, but a struggling offense hasn't helped him or new starter James Shields ... Santana was hurt by home runs in most recent start against St. Louis, allowing three of them in a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals ... It was Santana's fourth straight defeat despite going 7 1/3 innings ... Santana has a career 99-85 record, putting him a win from becoming the 10th Dominican-born pitcher to hit the century mark ... Santana has made 27 career starts againt the Rangers, going 13-11 with an ugly 6.04 ERA ... He is 6-7 with a 7.47 ERA in Rangers Ballpark ... He has twice shutout the Rangers.

Hitters: Elvis Andrus (12-for-37, 2 RBIs) and Mitch Moreland (5-for-17, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) have had the most success against Santana. Adrian Beltre has five home runs and Nelson Cruz has three off Santana. Darvish has held the Royals to a .105 batting average with Alex Gordon and David Lough collecting the only hits.

Beltre day-to-day with hamstring tightness

June, 1, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre is day-to-day after coming out of Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals with a tight left hamstring.

Beltre aggravated the hamstring running the bases in the fourth inning. He batted two more times, flying out to center field and grounding out to third. He was removed as the game went into the 10th inning.

"I just took him out," Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Beltre, who went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to nine games, wasn't available in the Rangers' clubhouse after the game. He was named the club's player of the month earlier in the day after batting .376 with six home runs and 23 RBIs for May.

Ross' second loss of the day hurt the most

June, 1, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nobody cares that Robbie Ross lost a cow-milking contest before Saturday's game against the Kansas City Royals.

Ross does care that he couldn't get one more out in the 10th inning. Instead, he hit Kansas City right fielder David Lough on the hand with a 2-1 pitch to force in the go-ahead run, and allowed two more runs as the Texas Rangers lost to the Royals, 4-1, in 10 innings.

[+] EnlargeRobbie Ross
AP Photo/LM OteroRobbie Ross hit the Royals' David Lough with a pitch in the top of the 10th inning to force in the go-ahead run.
Ross had been automatic for the Rangers with 19⅔ scoreless innings before Saturday's 10th inning. He allowed three runs as his ERA went from 0.37, best among major league relievers, to 1.42.

"It happens sometimes," Ross said. "It's a tough one to swallow today."

Ross found trouble to start the top of the 10th by allowing a leadoff single to Alcides Escobar. The inning got worse when Eric Hosmer singled to move Escobar to third base. When Rangers left fielder David Murphy threw to third instead of keeping the double play in order at second, the inning got more difficult for Ross as Hosmer advanced to second.

Ross almost escaped. After an intentional walk, he struck out slumping Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and center fielder Lorenzo Cain. One out away.

Ross got to a 1-1 count on Lough when he hit the inside corner for strike two, or so he thought. Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor, who had thrown out Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman in the first inning for arguing balls and strikes, called the Ross fastball a ball.

Ross then tried to come inside on Lough on the 2-1 pitch but came inside too much and hit him on the hand. Lough left the game.

"I hope I didn't break his hand," Ross said. "Obviously I wasn't trying to hit him there. I wish it had gone a little different, especially after getting two outs. I was thinking this is the big one."

Ross still had a chance to keep the Rangers close at 2-1. But Royals catcher George Kottaras, who just so happened to beat Ross in the cow-milking contest as part of Saturday's farm and ranch day, ripped a two-run double over Nelson Cruz's head for a 4-1 lead.

Giving Ross his second -- but much more meaningful -- loss of the game.

Rapid Reaction: Royals 4, Rangers 1 (10)

June, 1, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers reliever Robbie Ross allowed three runs in the top of the 10th as the Kansas City Royals pulled out a 4-1 victory in 10 innings at Rangers Ballpark.

Ross struggles in 10th: Ross lost twice Saturday, first in a cow-milking contest to Royals catcher George Kottaras, then in the 10th inning against the light-hitting Royals. Ross loaded the bases, then struck out two to close in on getting out of the self-created jam. But he hit David Lough on the elbow to bring in the go-ahead run and Kottaras got Ross again with a two-out double over Nelson Cruz's head for a 4-1 Kansas City lead.

Beltre leaves game: Third baseman Adrian Beltre left Sunday's game after the ninth inning with tightness in his left hamstring. Beltre aggravated the injury running the bases in the fourth inning. He was 1-for-4 with a run scored in a game that was tied 1-1 after nine innings.

Rangers miss chance in ninth: Mitch Moreland drew a walk and with two outs went to third on a bloop double to left field by A.J. Pierzynski. Moreland was steaming around third but was held up by third-base coach Gary Pettis. Jurickson Profar had a chance for his first walk-off hit but popped up behind home plate.

Tepesch matches Shields: The Rangers' rookie right-hander faced a tough task going up against the always consistent James Shields. It can be argued Nick Tepesch outdueled Shields. The Royals scored their lone run -- an unearned run -- on a passed ball on Pierzynski to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth (it was more a wild pitch that should have been blocked by the Rangers' catcher). Tepesch allowed seven hits, all of them singles. He picked up 12 more ground balls outs.

Cotts delivers: Make it six inherited runners who have failed to score on Neal Cotts' watch. He entered the game in the top of the seventh with runners at first and third and one out. Cotts struck out Royals second baseman Elliot Johnson looking. After walking Alex Gordon to load the bases, Cotts was able to get shortstop Alcides Escobar to fly out to center field.

Moreland caps brief rally: The Rangers were able to string together three straight singles off Shields in the bottom of the fourth. That's big considering they had only five hits against Shields. Beltre and Cruz had two-out singles to set up Moreland, who lined a single into center field for a 1-0 lead.

Missed chance in fifth: Leonys Martin stole second against a tough pitcher to run on -- Shields -- and got to third on a throwing error by Royals catcher Adam Moore, all with one out. And it didn't produce a run, as outstanding defense by Kansas City kept the game tied. Escobar made a diving stop on a ground ball by Elvis Andrus, freezing Martin at third. Then Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas made a good play on a tapper by David Murphy to end the inning.

Scheppers the man: Tanner Scheppers was the eighth-inning man again for the Rangers, shutting down a Kansas City threat with the game still tied at 1-1. With Eric Hosmer at third base and two outs, Scheppers got Lough to ground out to shortstop to keep the game tied.

Up next: The Rangers send Yu Darvish (7-2, 3.03 ERA) to the mound Sunday afternoon against Kansas City right-hander Ervin Santana (3-5, 3.33) at 2:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.

Lineups: No changes for Saturday

June, 1, 2013
The Rangers and Kansas City Royals play the second game of a three-game series Saturday afternoon. Ron Washington is going with the same lineup that beat the Royals in the opener Friday. Here are today's lineups:

SS Elvis Andrus
LF David Murphy
DH Lance Berkman
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mitch Moreland
C A.J. Pierzynski
2B Jurickson Profar
CF Leonys Martin
P Nick Tepesch

LF Alex Gordon
SS Alcides Escobar
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
3B Mike Moustakas
CF Lorenzo Cain
RF David Lough
C Adam Moore
2B Elliot Johnson
P James Shields

Matchup: Nick Tepesch vs. James Shields

June, 1, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers send rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch to the mound Saturday afternoon against Kansas City's James Shields at 3:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.

Tepesch (3-4, 3.88 ERA): Tepesch makes his 10th start against his hometown Royals ... Tepesch has lost three of his last four starts ... He's pitched in bad luck though with a 1-1 record and a 2.70 ERA for his last three starts to drop his ERA from 4.50 to 3.88 ... Tepesch didn't allow a run in the first three innings of any of those starts ... Tepesch is second among American League rookies in ERA ... His 37 strikeouts rank him second behind teammate Justin Grimm among AL rookies and he is third with 48 2/3 innings ... Tepesch has pitched with little run support ... He has received two runs of support or less in five of his last six starts ... He had a no-decision in the Rangers' 4-3 loss in 13 innings on Sunday, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings ... The Rangers are 4-5 in his nine starts ... Tepesch is a native of Blue Springs, Mo.

Shields (2-6, 2.96 ERA): The Rangers know Shields very well from his time with the Tampa Rays, both in the regular season and the postseason ... Shields was acquired in a seven-player deal last Dec. 9 and has pitched well, ranking ninth in the AL in ERA ... He is third with 79 innings pitches and seventh with 73 strikeouts ... Shields had a stretch of eight straight quality starts snapped Monday against St. Louis as he allowed six runs on nine hits in six innings .... He had five walks, tying a career high ... Shields has gone at least six innings in 25 straight starts going back to last July 25 against Seattle ... He has 21 quality starts and five complete games ... Shields is 7-3 for 11 career starts vs. the Rangers with a 2.78 ERA ... He also faced the Rangers in the AL Division Series in 2010 and '11 losing Game 2 both times ... Shields is 3-3 with a 3.64 ERA in Arlington.

Hitters: Tepesch faces the Royals for the first time. Elvis Andrus (11-for-23, 2 RBIs) is one of the few Rangers who have had success against Shields, who has held the current group of Texas hitters to a .233 batting average.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Wade Davis

May, 31, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers begin a three-game weekend series against Kansas City with left-hander Derek Holland facing Royals right-hander Wade Davis at 7:05 p.m. Friday night on Ch. 21, ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and ESPN Deportes Dallas 1540 AM.

Holland (4-2, 2.97): Holland has given the Rangers exactly what they needed from their No. 2 starter two months into the season. ... He had 10 strikeouts Saturday night in Seattle in a 5-2 victory. ... Holland pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two unearned runs while matching a career high with 119 pitches. ... The 10 Ks gave him his fourth double-digit strikeout game. ... Holland ranks among American League leaders with his 2.97 ERA (11th), 64 strikeouts (tied for 11th) and .54 home runs allowed per nine innings (fifth). ... Holland's improved command has helped him get his home run total down to four in 66 1/3 innings after allowing 32 last season. ... Holland hasn't allowed a home run to a left-handed hitter in a year. ... He has worked seven-plus innings and allowed two or fewer runs in half of his 10 starts. ... Holland is 1-1 with a 5.53 ERA for his career against Kansas City. ... He has allowed four or more runs in three of his four starts against the Royals.

Davis (3-4, 5.71): The Royals are trying to get Davis straightened out. ... He was a key piece in a seven-player deal with Tampa Bay in December that brought James Shields and Elliot Johnson to Kansas City. ... Davis appeared to have a breakthrough start going Sunday against the Angels, taking a shutout into the seventh inning. ... But Josh Hamilton had a home run to start the inning and two walks led to two more runs as the Angels rallied for a 5-2 win. ... Davis allowed six hits and had six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. ... His last win was May 15 against the Angels in Anaheim, when he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings. ... Davis has struggled against the Rangers in the regular season with a 13.50 ERA in 10 innings. ... He allowed eight runs in 3 1/2 innings in a start June 4, 2010 in Arlington. ... He did keep the Rangers scoreless in three relief appearances (four innings) last season.

Hitters: Billy Butler (4-for-11, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) and Alex Gordon (4-for-8) are just two of several Royals hitters batting over .300 against Holland. ... Adrian Beltre (4-for-8, 2 RBIs) and Elvis Andrus ( 3-for-7, RBI) have had success against Davis.

Darvish says one-hitter isn't his best outing

April, 3, 2013

HOUSTON -- Not surprisingly, Yu Darvish took his close call with perfection on Tuesday night like the graceful pitcher he's been in 30 starts with the Rangers.

The excitement of Yu Darvish's near-perfect game has Rangers fans brimming with hope. Play-by-play voice Steve Busby talks about Yu's outstanding effort.

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In fact, he brushed it aside, then said his domination of the Houston Astros wasn't the best he's ever pitched as a Ranger. He also didn't show any signs of moping about the rocket ground ball that blazed through his legs and broke up his perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning.

"I think my teammates were more disappointed than I was," Darvish said through a translator after the Rangers' 7-0 victory over the Astros. Darvish was an out away from throwing the 24th perfect game in major league history.

Darvish needed just four pitches to get the first two outs of the bottom of the ninth. Facing his 27th hitter, Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, Darvish went with the same cutter he threw for every pitch in the ninth inning. Unfortunately, Darvish hung the pitch, and Gonzalez was able to get the barrel of the bat on it, lining it to center field for a single.

"That was impossible to catch," Darvish said.

It was a big moment for Gonzalez, who was part of the Astros team that had a perfect game thrown against it last year by San Francisco's Matt Cain.

"I didn't want to be the last out," Gonzalez said. "I was trying to look for a good pitch to hit and put the ball in play. That's all I was thinking in my mind."

It was one of the few mistakes Darvish made. He was that dominant.

Still, at one point during his postgame news conference, Darvish said it wasn't the best game he's pitched in the major leagues, even though he had a career-high 14 strikeouts and retired the first 26 batters he faced, all but maybe three of them rather easily.

He said he was better in a start last September against the Kansas City Royals when he retired the first 17 batters he faced.

"I think I got lucky today," Darvish said. "I felt I pitched better against the Royals last year. I had better command in that outing."

Lowe 'not a candidate for the rotation'

March, 19, 2013
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Derek Lowe knew he was going to pitch on Monday night for the Texas Rangers, but it wasn't until he arrived at Surprise Stadium this morning that he learned he would be replacing the injured Yu Darvish as the starter against the Kansas City Royals.

[+] EnlargeDerek Lowe
AP Photo/Gregory BullDerek Lowe distinguished himself with some fine fill-in work Monday during the Rangers' victory over the Royals, but Texas manager Ron Washington said it won't be enough for Lowe to jump into the wide-open race for the fifth-starter job.
Lowe made the most of his opportunity, throwing three scoreless innings and allowing two hits and a walk with three strikeouts. He threw 47 pitches and even added some pitches to his repertoire during his second appearance since joining the team March 6 as a free agent on a minor-league deal.

"I think it definitely got a little bit better than last start," Lowe said. "My breaking ball was a lot better, I had better command of my sinker and we added a cutter, which I didn't throw last time.

“I'm starting to get my legs underneath me a little bit, so I feel like I can compete no matter how long I am out there. All in all it was a good day."

Lowe pitched two innings in his debut Friday. If spring training wasn't over in less than two weeks, Lowe might have shown enough to get stretched out further and enter the competition for the open fifth-starter job.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett are "Live in Surprise" all week for Rangers spring training. Pitcher Matt Harrison joins the guys to discuss the upcoming season.

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Manager Ron Washington acknowledged they will stretch Lowe in his remaining appearances. Even as he does increase Lowe's pitch count, Washington said not to read any more into that.

"He is not a candidate for the rotation," Washington said. "We're just trying to build him up."

The 39-year-old right-hander did say that he only needs two bullpen appearances and four starts in camp to be ready.

"All I care about is arm strength," Lowe said.

That said, Lowe said he didn't come to Texas for a specific role. Any role on a major league roster would suit him fine.

"I said all along when I talked to Jon Daniels, I just want an opportunity to compete for any job. There was never any talk of anything," Lowe said. "I'm here to scratch and claw for any role that is possible whether that is five innings or one inning.”

"I don't think that's even in the conversation," Lowe said of starting.

However, to this point, no candidate for the fifth starter's role has distinguished himself as a clear-cut leader. If Lowe does get stretched out and does pitch well, perhaps Texas will stay in house for that slot, as they have stated they would like to do all along.

Lowe spent 2012 with the Cleveland Indians as a starter before joining the New York Yankees' bullpen.



Yu Darvish
10 3.06 182 144
BAA. Beltre .322
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 64
RA. Beltre 64
OPSA. Beltre .876
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182