Texas Rangers: Rapid Reaction
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Scott Feldman was about as good as he could've been and the Texas Rangers' offense scratched across a couple of runs to salvage a 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox in the series finale Sunday night. Some quick thoughts on the game:
What it means: Texas squeaked a win away from this three-game set, but the White Sox leave town after taking two of three games. The Rangers are 4 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland Athletics and five games up on the Los Angeles Angels. Both the A's and Angels lost Sunday.
Feldman deals: Scott Feldman was tremendous on the mound Sunday night. The right-hander put together a solid performance in his last start against the Boston Red Sox, but he performed even better Sunday. Feldman threw eight scoreless innings, giving up seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw 88 pitches, including 63 for strikes. Feldman threw first pitch strikes to 19 of the 31 batters he faced. It was the third time Feldman has thrown eight innings in his career. Last time he did so was June 2, 2010, in Chicago against the White Sox.
Leaving them loaded: The Rangers' offense did exactly what it's done all series long, especially early in the game. Texas set the table in both the first and second innings by getting the bases loaded, but on both occasions, there were two outs. Michael Young failed to deliver in the first with a groundout to short. In the second inning, it was Adrian Beltre who ended the threat with a popup to second.
Thank you very much: The Texas offense owes White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez a thank you after Ramirez gift wrapped the Rangers the first run of the game. Texas had two on with two outs for Mike Napoli, who hit a slow roller to short. Ramirez bobbled the ball to let the run cross the plate and give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Oops: Elvis Andrus was caught napping a bit at first base in the fourth inning. White Sox starter Gavin Floyd picked Andrus off first to end the frame. It was a close play, but Adam Dunn got the tag down just in time.
Aggressiveness pays off: With the Rangers struggling to drive in runs, Nelson Cruz took it upon himself to get it done. Cruz was on third when Young hit a tapper in front of the plate. Floyd picked up the ball and fired to first to get the out, but as soon as he turned toward first, Cruz took off for home. Dunn tried to get Cruz out at home, but he mad a bad throw as Cruz slid in safely. A good throw would have made it an easy double play.
Streak continues: The Rangers entered Sunday's game with an 0-for-19 streak with runners in scoring position. Texas continued that streak going 0-for-10 in those situations in the series finale. They are now hitless in their last 29 at-bats with runners in scoring position and 1-for-31 for the entire three-game series. On Sunday, the Rangers left 13 runners on base.
Quality rest: Following his day of rest, Josh Hamilton didn't do anything flashy, but he put together three quality at-bats. Hamilton walked in his first two plate appearances before grounding out to second and moving Cruz to third. Cruz scored on the next at-bat. Hamilton finished the game 0-for-2 with two walks, but it was an overall good day for him at the plate.
Multi-hit night: Both Cruz and David Murphy recorded multiple hits Sunday. Cruz was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while Murphy finished the night 3-for-4 with a pair of singles and a double.
Mr. Consistent: Joe Nathan recorded his 21st save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to hand the Rangers the win. He had two good defensive plays to help him out and ended it with a strikeout.
Nice grab: Andrus began the ninth with a spectacular diving catch to rob Paul Konerko of a leadoff single. Murphy followed that up with a leaping grab at the wall for the second out of the ninth inning.
30th sellout: Sunday's game had 46,744 fans in attendance. It was the 30th sellout of the season, which extends the club record for most sellouts in a season. It is also the sixth time this season that the Rangers have sold out each game of a Friday, Saturday, Sunday series.
Tickets left: Texas still has plenty of tickets available for the Angels series. There are 10,000 tickets left for the series opener Monday. 12,000 tickets left for Tuesday's game, 7,000 remaining for Wednesday and 9,500 are left for the series finale Thursday.
Up Next: The Rangers welcome divisional foe Los Angeles to town for a pivotal four-game series beginning Monday. The series opener will feature RHP Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (4-10, 6.00 ERA). The game starts at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540/FSSW/ESPN.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers played about as sloppy as they could in Friday night's series opener with the Chicago White Sox and Yu Darvish didn't have his best stuff as Chicago came out on top 9-5. Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: The Rangers drop Game 1 of this three-game set with Chicago. Texas is now 2-5 against the White Sox. The Rangers have a 4 1/2 game lead on the Oakland Athletics, who won 14-9 against Baltimore, and the Los Angeles Angels, pending the outcome of their contest with Tampa Bay.
Not Yu's night: Yu Darvish had his worst start at home. Darvish gave up six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. The six runs are the most runs he's given up at home this year, and the five earned runs tied the most at home this year. He also gave up five earned runs in his major league debut against the Seattle Mariners on April 9.
Rough from the start: Darvish didn't start Friday's game like he had hoped, but it could've been much worse. He allowed a walk and three singles in the first inning, but the White Sox were only able to scratch across a run. Alex Rios came through with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to score the run, but Darvish used a strikeout of Dayan Viciedo to leave the bases full.
Nice response: The Rangers responded to the Chicago first-inning run in a big way. Ian Kinsler started things off by reaching on a hit by pitch. On the first pitch to Elvis Andrus, Kinsler stole second and moved to third on a grounder from the Rangers shortstop. Texas tied the game with some more small ball as Josh Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Kinsler. The inning looked like it was over, but back-to-back singles from Adrian Beltre and Michael Young set up a three-run home run for Nelson Cruz to give the Rangers a 4-1 advantage. It was Cruz's second consecutive at-bat with a home run. He hit one in the eighth inning of Wednesday's series finale against the Boston Red Sox.
Unlucky break: In the second, Darvish looked to be getting into a groove as he got a strikeout of Tyler Flowers before getting the White Sox No. 9 hitter Gordon Beckham in a 1-2 count. Beckham worked himself into a full count before getting a base hit to left field. Darvish got a line out to Andrus for the second out, but it was almost a double play. Andrus caught the ball just inches off the ground. If he had let it hit the ground, Texas would've had an easy double play to end the inning. Instead, Darvish had to pitch to Kevin Youkilis, who made the Rangers pay. Youkilis launched a two-run home run to cut the lead to 4-3.
Aggressive base running: After moving from station to station didn't work in the first inning, the White Sox got aggressive on the basepaths in the fourth, and it paid off. Flowers got a one-out single on a dribbler to third. Beckham followed that up with what looked to be a single. However, Beckham kept the wheels turning as he legged it into a double to put two guys in scoring position with one down. Alejandro De Aza capitalized on the opportunity with a two-run single to put Chicago in front 5-4.
Stealing on Ogando: Last year, it wasn't easy to steal on Alexi Ogando and not too many teams tried. On Friday, however, the White Sox stole twice on Ogando, who came in with one out in the seventh to replace Darvish. Adam Dunn recorded his second stolen base of the season and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Yorvit Torrealba. That mistake proved costly when a fielder's choice brought in the run, giving Chicago a two-run lead. With two outs, Rios got a steal of his own but was left stranded.
Boos for Hamilton: It's hard to believe, but Hamilton was actually booed by some in attendance Friday night. Hamilton struck out on three consecutive pitches in both the third and fifth innings. After the first strikeout, there were a few boos present in the crowd, but those boos grew stronger following the second three-pitch punch out.
Missed opportunity: Chicago starter Chris Sale did his best to let the Rangers tie the game with the White Sox leading 5-4 in the fifth, but Texas missed out on the opportunity. Sale hit Craig Gentry to start the frame and followed that up with a walk to Kinsler to put two on with no outs. Andrus was unable to get a sacrifice bunt down and took a called third strike for the first out. Hamilton then struck out on three pitches before Beltre was called out on strikes.
Left them loaded: Texas cut into the deficit with a run in the seventh inning, but they had a chance to do a lot more. The Rangers had the bases loaded with one out for Hamilton. He drove in his second run of the night by grounding into a fielder's choice. Beltre, then, took a walk to load the bases once again. Young hit the ball hard on a line drive to the outfield, but it was right at the Chicago right fielder to end the frame and waste another golden opportunity.
Stretching out?: With Colby Lewis out for the rest of the season, there are some question marks at the end of the Rangers' starting rotation. Ogando could be a candidate to fill the final spot on the rotation, and the Rangers have mentioned that they would like stretch his outings out whenever possible. And Texas did just that Friday. Ogando pitched the final 2 2/3 innings of the game, giving up three earned runs on two hits with two walks, two strikeouts and a home run.
Ouch: Kinsler was hit by a pitch twice in Friday's contest, but the most painful one came in the seventh. Nate Jones came in for Sale and drilled Kinsler on his left hand. The trainer came out to take a look at the Rangers second baseman, but he stayed in the game.
Struggles continue: Mike Napoli's year at the plate has been one filled with struggles, but the way he's been hitting against left-handed pitchers has been even worse. Napoli was 0-for-4 on the night, including 0-for-3 off Sale. He is 14-for-96 (.146) against lefties with 37 strikeouts and four double plays.
Web gem: As he seems to do every night, Beltre made a spectacular play at third base. It came in the seventh inning when Beltre dove to his left to make a stop, popped up and made the throw to first that was capped off by a nice pick by Young.
Another sellout: It was a cooler 95 degrees when first pitch was thrown at 7:08 p.m. and the fans responded. The announced attendance Friday was 47,638. It is the 28th sellout of the year, extending the record for most in a season.
Sat. vs. CWS: LHP Matt Harrison (12-5, 3.02) vs. RHP Philip Humber (4-5, 6.25), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
The Texas Rangers used a solid outing from Yu Darvish and an offensive explosion, including five home runs, to propel themselves to a 7-2 road win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. Some quick thoughts on the win:
What it means: After dropping the opener of the three-game series, the Rangers evened things up at a game apiece. More importantly, Texas now leads the Angels by six games in the American League West. The Rangers are 17-16 against their division opponents, including a 4-4 mark against L.A.
Early lead: For the second consecutive game, the Rangers scored a run in the first to get out on top before the Angels got a chance to hit. Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton got back-to-back singles before Adrian Beltre grounded into a fielder's choice, leaving runners on the corners with two outs. Michael Young came through in the clutch, driving in the first run of the game.
Extra-base hits rule second: After grabbing a lead in the first, Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba led off the second inning with back-to-back solo home runs off Ervin Santana. It was Napoli's first home run since June 22 against the Colorado Rockies. The Rangers followed the home runs with back-to-back doubles from Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler that pushed another run across. Beltre capped off the frame with a two-run shot of his own to make it a 6-0 game.
Early exit: Santana wasn't expecting to leave so early, but the Texas offense sent him packing in the second. A five-run frame ended Santana's day after 1 2/3 innings in which he gave up six runs on eights hits, including three home runs. It was the second time in the last three starts that Santana wasn't able to make it out of the second.
Bounce-back performance: In his last start, Darvish gave up seven runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings that capped one of the worst performances of his career. He bounced back with a good outing. The talented rookie had the Angels hitters off balance, allowing just two runs on three hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work on the mound. Darvish, who picked up his 11th win of the year and broke a streak of two consecutive losses, threw 18 first-pitch strikes to help him get ahead of hitters and control each at-bat. His 11 strikeouts matched a career high, and it's the sixth time this season he's recorded double-digit punchouts. Darvish had not allowed two earned runs or less since June 20 in a win at San Diego.
Offensive explosion: The Texas offense broke out for a dominating performance after being less than stellar for the last few weeks. The nine runs were the most the Rangers have scored since a 13-9 win over the Detroit Tigers on June 27. Texas accumulated 15 hits on the day, which is the first time since the All-Star break they have reached double-digit hits. Each starter in the Rangers' lineup recorded a hit. It is the first time that has happened since Texas' 9-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 12.
Deja vu?: Last season, Napoli came to life in the second half of the season. With the struggles he has shown in 2012, could he do it again? He's showing he is certainly capable against his former team. Before having a three-hit night Friday, Napoli had just two hits in his previous 22 at-bats. However, he continued the success from Friday, going 2-for-3 on Saturday with two home runs. It was his ninth career multi-homer game and his first since April 17 at Boston. Napoli is 13-for-25 all-time against the Angels.
Unforced mistakes: Darvish surrendered his two runs due to his own doing. He started the third inning against the No. 8 and 9 batters with a walk and a hit batter. Rookie sensation Mike Trout made him pay with a single up the middle off the glove of Andrus to score a run. Darvish limited the damage to just that with a strikeout and a double play on a caught line drive by Beltre to end the threat. In the fifth, he walked Trout with two outs. Trout stole second before scoring on a RBI single from Torii Hunter.
A triple away: Torrealba, who was making his first appearance since being reinstated from paternity leave, almost made history. The catcher was a triple away from the cycle and ended the day 3-for-4. With the home run in the second inning, he ended a 1-for-18 slump.
Good outing for Ogando: Alexi Ogando had a nice bounce-back performance in making his third appearance since returning from the disabled list. The right-hander pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts. In his last outing, Ogando gave up a run in one inning of work against Oakland. Since the injury, he has thrown 2 2/3 innings, giving up one run on one hit with two strikeouts.
New hit streak?: Young had his six-game hitting streak end Friday in the series-opening loss, but Saturday he picked up where he was before Friday's contest. The veteran finished the day 1-for-4 with a RBI. Young is 8-for-21 with runners in scoring position over the last 18 games after hitting 5-for-37 (.143) in those situations in the previous 37 contests.
Up Next: The Rangers and Angels finish out the three-game set in Anaheim on Sunday. The matchup will feature LHP Matt Harrison (12-4, 2.87 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Haren (6-8, 4.86 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/ESPN.
SEATTLE -- Matt Harrison got the Texas Rangers back in the win column, throwing a complete game shutout for a 4-0 win against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on Sunday.
What it means: The Rangers win their first series in the second half of the season and their first series on the road against an American League West opponent. They’re now 1-3 against their division on the road and hold a 15-14 record. The club improved to 3-1 in its last four series on the road and holds a five-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels.
Harrison’s shutout: Unlike the All-Star game where Matt Harrison gave up three runs in an inning, he was a lot more efficient in his first start back from the break. He allowed just five hits in the game compared to the four hits in the All-Star game. He’s now won eight consecutive starts against the Mariners dating to May 1, 2010. That puts him alone in third for the most wins in consecutive starts against an opponent in club history.
Despite four walks and three strikeouts, Harrison managed to put zeros on the scoreboard against a Mariners’ lineup that has struggled at home. It wasn’t an eye-popping performance like Felix Hernandez had Saturday, but Harrison was efficient by putting balls in play where his defense could make a play. It showed, even in the final inning, when Harrison finished his outing with a groundout, a fly ball and a strikeout of Miguel Olivo
Leadoff walk: The Rangers were able to turn a leadoff walk into a run without a hit in the first inning. Ian Kinsler collected a six-pitch walk on starting pitching Hisashi Iwakuma and advanced to second on a passed ball during Elvis Andrus’ at-bat. Groundouts from Andrus and Josh Hamilton gave the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.
Beltre comes through: Following a single and double from Craig Gentry and Andrus that put runners at second and third, Iwakuma walked Hamilton to load the bases for Adrian Beltre. He singled to left, which brought Gentry and Andrus home. Beltre picked up four of the team’s seven RBIs during this series. He went 3-for-4 Sunday.
Double plays: Harrison was the beneficiary of Beltre’s glove, as well. Last year’s American League Gold Glover winner showed why he’s one of the best defensive third baseman’s in the game. He flashed the glove on a couple of hard hit balls, including a lineout from Chone Figgins in the fifth. Beltre was able to cleanly catch the ball and throw Michael Saunders out at first for the double play.
Beltre had an easier time fielding a softly hit ground ball by Brendan Ryan in the seventh. With two on and one out, Beltre connected with Kinsler, who threw a one-hopper to Michael Young to get Harrison out of a jam.
Kinsler homers: Kinsler added to the lead in the fifth inning with a solo shot to left field. His 10th home run this season came on the first pitch of the inning from Iwakuma and made it 4-0. Kinsler finished 1-for-3 with a walk. It’d be the last run Iwakuma allowed in his five innings on the mound. He gave up four earned on seven hits and walked three batters.
Young bats fifth: Young returned to the fifth spot in the lineup while Nelson Cruz batted behind him in the sixth spot. They went a combined 1-for-7 with a walk and a strikeout. They accounted for seven of the 10 Rangers left on base.
Up next: The Rangers will continue their road trip down the west coast against American League West opponents. Following Monday’s off day, Roy Oswalt will take the hill against the Oakland Athletics. Their starting pitcher is to be determined. Game starts at 9:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
The Seattle Mariners rode the momentum from Friday's late comeback attempt, putting up four runs in the first inning off Yu Darvish to build an early lead that was never threatened. The Texas Rangers offense could not dig out of the hole against a masterful performance from Felix Hernandez in the Mariners' 7-0 victory. Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: With the Los Angeles Angels losing for the second straight day to the New York Yankees, the Rangers' lead in the American League West remains five games. The series with the Mariners is now tied at a game apiece. The two teams will square off Sunday for the rubber match of the three-game set.
Rough start: Darvish had almost two weeks between Saturday's start and his previous outing, and it appeared he had trouble getting into a rhythm. Darvish started the inning with a walk, single and hit batter to load the bases with no outs. He then surrendered a four-pitch walk. An error by Michael Young at first base scored another run before a one-out single by Kyle Seager made it a 4-0 game. Darvish limited the damage from there with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
All hail the King: The right-handed Hernandez was spectacular in throwing a complete-game shutout. Hernandez had Rangers hitters off balance on his way to a 12-strikeout performance. He gave up just three hits and no walks.
Offensive woes: The Texas offense was nonexistent, managing just three hits and just one runner in scoring position. That came in the seventh when Elvis Andrus found his way to third but failed to score. It is just the second time all season that the Rangers have been shut out.
Haunting walks: It's not a good idea to walk the leadoff man. Unfortunately for the Rangers, Darvish did just that in two innings that saw Seattle score. After the first, Darvish settled down until allowing a leadoff walk in the fourth inning. That run came around to score on a double from Dustin Ackley to center field. Darvish finished the game giving up seven runs off eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Young stays hot: The Rangers offense wasn't pretty, but Young continues to swing the bat. He managed just one of Texas' three hits but is 7-for-13 in his last three games.
That's going to leave a mark: Darvish took a hard grounder off his leg in the second inning. The play resulted in an out, but Texas manager Ron Washington and the training staff ran out to check on the rookie. Darvish gave them the OK and continued to pitch. When Darvish was relieved by Michael Kirkman in the seventh, Kirkman used his wrist to knock down a line drive with the bases loaded. Kirkman lost his glove on the play but had the presence of mind to pick up the ball and get the force out at home with an athletic play.
Limiting more damage: With Texas trailing 7-0, Kirkman limited further damage by getting two consecutive outs to end the seventh inning. Kirkman came in with the bases loaded and one out before getting the force out at home and a strikeout to end the threat.
Perez sees action: With the Rangers' starting rotation is beginning to heal, Martin Perez got a relief appearance in the eighth inning. He led off the inning with a walk and got into a 2-0 count on the next batter. Yorvit Torrealba had a talk with Perez, who immediately dialed up a double play ball and a groundout to get out of the inning.
Up next: The Rangers and Mariners will battle it out in the final game of this three-game set in Seattle on Sunday. The matchup will feature LHP Matt Harrison (11-4, 3.10) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 4.84) at 3:10 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
The Texas Rangers started the second half of the season right with a 3-2 road win against the Seattle Mariners after the All-Star break. The Rangers halted a ninth-inning rally from Seattle, but failed to preserve a shutout. The Rangers got their offense going with nine hits, and Derek Holland got the win, throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings. Some thoughts on the win:
What it means: The Rangers are still tied with the New York Yankees for the most wins in the major leagues with a 53-34 record. With the win, they also improved their AL West lead to five games over the Los Angeles Angels.
Pitchers duel: Holland and former Ranger Kevin Millwood put on a show. The game was scoreless through the first four innings and both teams had a combined four hits through four innings. Holland had back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the second and third innings and again in the fifth and sixth. Holland also got out of a one-out jam in the fourth inning. Millwood retired nine straight after a leadoff single from Ian Kinsler in the first. Millwood's dominance dwindled in the fifth inning. In the end, Holland proved the better starter as he posted a quality start and came close to a complete game shutout. Holland finished with four hits, no runs, two walks and four strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.
The offense gets going: At first it appeared the offense was still in it's funk that began before the All-Star break, as the Rangers were scoreless with two hits through the first four innings. But the bats got going in the fifth inning with the help of a timely Mariners mistake. Michael Young and David Murphy hit singles to begin the inning and Mike Napoli hit into what should have been a double play, but turned into a fielder's choice when Dustin Ackley lost his grip on the ball after the putout at second. One out later, Kinsler hit an RBI single, but Napoli was called out at home to end the inning with the score 1-0. The Rangers scored again in the sixth after a Josh Hamilton single and an Adrian Beltre two-run homer to make the score 3-0. In the eighth inning, Nelson Cruz was inches away from a solo homer to deep center, but settled for a double. Seven Rangers finished the game with at least one hit.
Walking into danger: Holland narrowly avoided disaster in the fourth inning when he allowed a one out single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. Former Rangers first baseman Justin Smoak stepped up to the plate and worked a full count. After a 10 pitch battle, Smoak popped up to Elvis Andrus. With the bases still loaded, Miguel Olivo hit what looked like a single to right field, but Cruz caught up to it to end the inning and keep the score tied at zero.
Young stays hot: Young built upon his season-high four hit game in the series finale against the Minnesota Twins before the All-Star break with another solid performance. He went 2-for-4 and scored the first run of the game.
Napoli's struggles continue: Napoli had another hitless game accompanied by a familiar strikeout in the eighth inning. He managed to reach base twice on a fielder's choice in the fifth and a walk in the seventh. He also got credit for a stolen base in the fifth. He is 2-for-18 in the month of July and was batting .225 prior to Friday's game. He left the game after the eighth with a bruised right quad.
Nathan saves the day: Joe Nathan earned his 19th save of the season in stressful fashion. He failed to preserve the shutout when he had to pitch out of a jam to preserve the Rangers' win in the ninth inning. Kyle Seager hit a one-out single followed by two more singles from Smoak and John Jaso to load the bases. Michael Saunders hit an RBI single to erase the shutout, but was caught in a rundown between first and second base for the second out. Smoak then scored on a wild pitch to cut the Rangers' lead to one. The situation became more stressful when Nathan walked Carlos Peguero with a full count. Nathan finished the game when he struck out Ackley.
One-man show: The Mariners had only two hits through the first six innings, both off the bat of Casper Wells. Wells finished 2-for-4. The Mariners got their third hit from Seager, who hit a leadoff single in the seventh. Seattle finished with seven hits.
Sat at SEA: RHP Yu Darvish (10-5, 3.59) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (6-5, 3.13), 8:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
Sun at SEA: LHP Matt Harrison (11-4, 3.10) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 4.84), 3:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- After a 46-minute thunder/rain delay, the Texas Rangers overcame one of their poorest offensive showings, engineering a ninth-inning rally and a second straight extra-innings win to beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-3. Ian Kinsler was the hero, as he hit a walk-off single in the 13th inning, giving Scott Feldman the win. Roy Oswalt picked up a no-decision in his best outing of the season, as Texas narrowly avoided its second shutout loss of the year. Some thoughts on the win:
What it means: The Rangers go into the All-Star break tied for the most wins in baseball at 52-34, matching the club record for wins in the first half. They took two of three against the Twins to give them their eighth series win in their last nine. They also retain a four-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. The win Sunday was the first time the Rangers won when trailing by three or more entering the ninth inning or later since 2007. The Rangers are 5-2 in extra-inning games this season.
Miracle in the ninth: The Rangers' ninth-inning rally to tie it 3-3 was nothing short of miraculous. The Twins had just improved their lead to 3-0 in the top of the ninth and all looked lost for Texas. Down 0-2 in the count, Ian Kinsler reached first on an error and later reached third on a wild pitch. Elvis Andrus drove him home with a grounder to second. Then with two outs, Adrian Beltre hit a single and was moved to third by another late-game double off the bat of Nelson Cruz. Michael Young tied it with an 0-2, two-RBI single. David Murphy joined Young on base with a single, but the rally ended when Mike Napoli continued his cold streak with a pop-up to second.
Kinsler closes the deal: With the bullpen depleted, Feldman came on in the 12th inning after starting Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. After a solid 12th, he pitched again in the 13th for back-to-back 1-2-3 innings and the fourth consecutive scoreless inning for the Texas bullpen. Young hit a leadoff double for his season-high fourth hit of the game. Murphy was intentionally walked for a second straight time to bring up Napoli. Napoli broke out of his funk with a single to load the bases. Then Craig Gentry reached first on a fielder’s choice to keep the bases loaded for Kinsler. Kinsler hit a walk-off RBI single with a 1-2 count to seal the deal.
Thunderstruck: The game was delayed by thunder and later rain at 7:11 p.m. for 46 minutes with one out in the top of the fourth inning. A deafening clap of thunder struck that made Oswalt and the majority of people at Rangers Ballpark jump. Startled by the thunder, Mike Napoli sprinted to the dugout quicker than the umpire could call the game. His teammates got a good laugh at his expense. Ryan Doumit, who was batting, also sprinted in from home plate and Twins outfielder Ben Revere later tweeted that he was glad no one heard him "scream like a little girl."
Oswalt's best yet: Oswalt had his best start of the season so far, finishing 5 2/3 innings with five hits, one earned run, two walks and three strikeouts, one out short of a quality start. Oswalt has often spoken of his disdain for fantasy numbers, but he put up some personal bests for the season. His five hits are the least he has allowed after allowing nine, 13 and 13 in his previous starts. His first pitch after the rain delay was a 6-4-3 double play. He would have gotten out of the sixth inning unscathed if not for a questionable call at second base, when Josh Willingham could have been called out on a Justin Morneau single. But Willingham was called safe and Joe Mauer was driven in for the first run of the game. After that, Oswalt left the game with 102 pitches.
Close, but no cigar: The Rangers had a chance to close out the game in the 11th but fell short. After a 1-2-3 11th inning from Yoshinori Tateyama, including his second consecutive inning-ending strikeout, the Rangers' offense came up with a chance to win. With one out and a full count, Cruz found extra-inning magic again with a single and reached second on an error at second base. Young flied out to deep center and Murphy drew an intentional walk to bring up the struggling Napoli. In a twist of fate, the inning continued when Napoli drew yet another walk to bring up Gentry with the bases loaded. Gentry lined out to first to end the inning. The Rangers had another chance in the 12th after some solid pitching from Feldman. But with runners at the corners, Cruz grounded out to third to end the inning.
Dueling pitchers: Oswalt and Minnesota's Cole De Vries kept both offenses in check for the first half of the game. De Vries allowed one hit in the first inning and another in the fifth and sixth. Oswalt allowed just three hits in the first two innings and two more in the sixth. Oswalt also had 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth and fifth and De Vries had 1-2-3's of his own from the second through the seventh. Oswalt was scoreless through five and De Vries through seven. De Vries' night ended after seven dominant innings with only 84 pitches. De Vries finished with three hits, one walk and five strikeouts.
MiKe Napoli: Napoli's struggles at the plate continued as he eclipsed his strikeout total from all of last season. Napoli has struck out 86 times in the first half of the 2012 season compared to 85 times all of last year. His second strikeout in Sunday's game also resulted in a double play, as Young had been sent to second base on a hit-and-run. He also had a chance to win the game in the ninth but popped up instead. Napoli finished 1-for-5 with a walk.
Another injured pitcher: Michael Kirkman exited in the tenth with a mild left quad strain after putting out the first batter of the inning at first. Kirkman and Tateyama combined to keep the Twins scoreless in the tenth
Up next: Ron Washington, his coaching staff, Joe Mauer and the eight Rangers All-Stars are en route to Kansas City for the All-Star Game on Tuesday. After the break, the Rangers will be back in action for a road series with the Seattle Mariners starting July 13. Here are the probable starters:
Fri. at Sea.: LHP Derek Holland (5-4, 5.05) vs. TBA, 9:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/TXA21.
Sat. at Sea.: RHP Yu Darvish (10-5, 3.59) vs. TBA, 8:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
Sun. at Sea.: LHP Matt Harrison (11-4, 3.10) vs. TBA, 3:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers failed to complete the sweep as the Oakland A's took the final game of their four-game series 3-1 to close out the Rangers' 10-game homestand.
Despite taking the loss, Yu Darvish made a claim as to why he deserves All-Star consideration with a good performance. A 25th sellout crowd of 45,741 was on hand as the Rangers missed offensive opportunities.
Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: Texas ends a 10-game homestand with seven wins and has a 50-30 record on the season, still best in the majors. The Rangers hold a 5 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Yu makes his pitch: As one of five candidates for the final spot on the AL's All-Star roster, Darvish made a solid case as to why he should be the Rangers' record eighth player in the 2012 All-Star game. He was perfect through three innings and had a shutout through four. He also pitched his way out of a jam in the sixth and allowed minimal damage. One of the few blemishes on Darvish's performance was a leadoff home run from Brandon Moss in the seventh inning to put the A's up 3-1. Darvish finished with 11 strikeouts over seven innings and allowed five hits, three earned runs and three walks.
Yu's Ks: Darvish matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts for the third time this season. It was his fifth game with 10 or more strikeouts, most in the AL and tied with R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets for the most in the majors.
Not so fast: Two of the first three Rangers to get hits in the first three innings were caught stealing. Elvis Andrus (first inning) and Yorvit Torrealba (third inning) were picked off after leading too far off first base and getting caught in rundowns. Andrus was caught again trying to stretch his RBI single to a double in the third inning.
Missed opportunities: The Rangers missed multiple chances to increase their early lead or tie the score later. In addition to the three runners lost, the Rangers failed to drive in Nelson Cruz after he hit a two-out double in the second. Craig Gentry hit a leadoff ground-rule double that was inches away from being a home run in the sixth, but he never reached home thanks to three fly outs from the top of the lineup.
Almost deja-vu: The A's almost saw a flashback of Friday night's eighth-inning collapse. Grant Balfour, who allowed the four-run inning Friday, was on the mound for the A's. Torrealba got a leadoff single and was moved over when Ian Kinsler reached first on an error by third baseman Brandon Inge with one out. But Balfour got Andrus fly out, then Jerry Blevins relieved and induced Josh Hamilton to pop out and end the threat.
Strikeout All-Star: Starting All-Star catcher Mike Napoli, who was playing first, extended his streak to 12 games with at least one strikeout. He waved at strike three for the second out in a 1-2-3 fifth inning and again with Cruz on first base to close out the seventh.
They say it's your birthday: Cruz went 2-for-4 with a double on his 32nd birthday. He has made a habit out of playing well on his birthday, going 5-for-12 in his career. On his birthday last year he went 2-for-5 with a home run, a triple and six RBIs.
Up next: The Rangers have an off-day Monday before they travel to Chicago for a three-game series with the White Sox. Here are the probable starters for the series:
Tue. at CWS: RHP Roy Oswalt (2-0, 4.26) vs. LHP Chris Sale (9-2, 2.27), 7:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
Wed. at CWS: RHP Scott Feldman (2-6, 6.13) vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.50), 6:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW/ESPN.
Thu. at CWS: LHP Matt Harrison (11-3, 3.16) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (3-1, 2.19), 1:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
What it means: The Rangers took the series with the A's, winning the first three in the four-game series with a chance to sweep Sunday. The Rangers improved their lead to 6.5-game over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, tying their biggest edge of the season. Texas also retains the best record in the majors, at 50-29, and is the first team to reach 50 wins this season.
Perez's first start: Perez looked good in his debut as a major league starter. He threw 103 pitches in 5 1/3 innings and showed good command of his breaking ball. He allowed six hits, including a home run, two earned runs, and one walk. He struck out five.
Riding the stream: The Jet Stream was in full effect Saturday night. Each team hit a solo shot to right field in the second inning. Chris Carter struck first for the A's and then Adrian Beltre followed for the Rangers. Nelson Cruz also gave a ball a ride to right field in the second, but it fell short just before the wall for a fly out.
Five in the fifth: The Rangers engineered another one-inning offensive explosion to go ahead against the A's in the fifth. Down 2-1, the Rangers put two men on base to start the inning. Yorvit Torrealba reached on a fielder's choice when Cruz was caught in a rundown between third and home. But Cruz made sure to make the rundown last long enough to get Mike Napoli to third and Torrealba to second. With runners in scoring position, Brandon Hicks made an impressive leaping grab to keep red-hot Craig Gentry from tying in the runners. It looked like the Rangers might leave the runners on base when Ian Kinsler stepped up to the plate with two outs. Kinsler, who had back-to-back strikeouts to start the game, came through with a two-RBI single. After Elvis Andrus reached base on an error, Josh Hamilton blasted a three-run homer to center field. Hamilton's fourth home run of the month capped off a five-run fifth that put the Rangers up 6-2.
Home run Hamilton: Hamilton's home run in the fifth inning was his 25th homer of the season, which matches his total from last season. He is the fastest player in Rangers history to reach 25 home runs in a season, hitting the mark in 79 games. He is just the fifth player in club history to hit 25 home runs in four or more seasons, joining the likes of Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira. Hamilton finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Error message: The Rangers took full advantage of three key errors made by the A's, two of which came during the fifth-inning run. Both Andrus and Cruz reached base on errors which sustained the inning and gave the Rangers the chance to score as many runs as they did. Michael Young also reached second base on an error in the sixth inning, although he was not driven home.
Napoli's strikeout streak: Napoli struck out swinging in the sixth inning to extend his streak to 11 games with at least one strikeout. He had struck out 25 times in his previous 10 games, including three strikeouts against the A's on Friday night, two of which ended innings with runners in scoring position. Napoli finished 1-for-4.
Eighth-inning scare: With Michael Kirkman on the mound, the A's put two men on base with an error and a walk to lead off the eighth inning. Kirkman escaped with no runs thanks to two flyouts to center and a pop-up to second base. Kirkman and Yoshinori Tateyama saved the bullpen after Perez's exit, combining for the remaining 3 2/3 innings and allowing no runs.
Up next: The Rangers have a chance to complete the sweep when they close out their four-game home series with the A's on Sunday. RHP Yu Darvish will take the mound against LHP Travis Blackley at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW. Some 2,500 reserved seats remain for Sunday's game.
Tue. at CWS: RHP Roy Oswalt (2-0, 4.26) vs. LHP Chris Sale (9-2, 2.27), 7:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
Wed. at CWS: RHP Scott Feldman (2-6, 6.13) vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.50), 6:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW/ESPN.
Thu. at CWS: LHP Matt Harrison (11-3, 3.16) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (3-1, 2.19), 1:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers evened their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers with a 7-5 win Tuesday night. The Rangers came back from a 3-1 deficit to force a rubber match with the Tigers and give Yu Darvish his 10th win (the most by any American League rookie). Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: With the win, the Rangers even their current series with the Tigers and improve to 4-2 against Detroit this season. The Rangers also retain a 4 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, which is the largest lead of any major league division leader.
|Rangers GM Jon Daniels shares his thoughts on the injuries that have plagued the pitching rotation this season, calling up top prospect Martin Perez and much more. |
Easy as 1-2-3: Darvish had back-to-back 1-2-3 innings twice, in the second and third, and in the sixth and seventh. He also had 10 strikeouts (one short of his career high). He has struck out 10 or more four times this year, which is the most in the AL and tied with R.A. Dickey for the most in the majors.
Make way for Prince: Prince Fielder gave the Rangers fits, fueling the Detroit offense essentially on his own. He was the only Tiger to have a hit through the first four innings, supplying a two-run double in the first and a solo home run in the fourth. Fielder finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Leadoff HR: Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff home run in the Rangers' half of the first to cut the deficit to 2-1. Kinsler had not hit a home run since June 8 against the San Francisco Giants (15 games). It was Kinsler's third leadoff homer this season and the 23rd of his career, which is a club record. Kinsler finished 2-for-4 with two strikeouts.
4-ever Young: Michael Young started a scoring run in the fourth inning when he hit a triple to drive in Adrian Beltre. Nelson Cruz added an RBI single to bring Young home, and Yorvit Torrealba and Brandon Snyder followed with RBI singles to put the Rangers up 5-3. The four-run fourth ended on an 8-2-6 putout at second when Snyder tried to take the extra base on his single. Going into Tuesday's game, Young was hitting .167 (7-for-42) with runners in scoring position over the previous 40 games, despite starting the year 15-for-38 (.395) with RISP. Young finished 2-for-4 with one strikeout.
Home run Hamilton: Josh Hamilton hit a home run for the second straight night, blasting a 422-foot solo shot in the seventh. Hamilton has struggled lately, by his standards. Going into Tuesday's game, he had a .197 average for June. But he still has 24 home runs on the season (tied for most in MLB) and 67 RBIs (eight more than any other major leaguer). Hamilton is just the eighth Ranger to have 23 home runs and 66 RBIs before the All-Star break. Hamilton finished 1-for-4 with one strikeout.
Flirting with danger: Mike Adams found himself in a jam in the eighth after allowing a leadoff single and a walk. With runners on first and second and no outs, Cabrera had a chance to tie the game at 7. It looked like Cabrera had done just that when he sent Hamilton to the warning track in center field, but Hamilton came up with the out against the wall. Fielder then had an RBI groundout. Adams was able to escape the inning with minimal damage when David Murphy caught the final out of the inning on Delmon Young's drive to the warning track in left field to keep the score at 7-5.
Gentry back: Craig Gentry saw action in center field in the ninth inning. He had rolled his ankle in consecutive games against the Colorado Rockies. He caught a flyout to help close out the game.
If you can't stand the heat: The temperature at first pitch for Tuesday's game was 103 degrees. Temperatures are expected to stay in triple digits for the next two days.
Up next: The Rangers get one more shot at the Tigers in a rubber match Wednesday. RHP Roy Oswalt will make his second start for the Rangers against RHP Doug Fister at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW/ESPN.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers got in an early hole and were unable to dig their way out. Justin Grimm, making his second major league start, was hard-pressed to get an out and only lasted an inning-plus on the mound. The Detroit Tigers got an 8-2 win in the series opener in front of an announced crowd of 36,920. Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: The Rangers are behind 1-0 in a series for the first since Oakland won Game 1 of a four-game series June 4. Texas holds a 4 1/2-game lead on the Los Angeles Angels, who were off Monday, in the American League West.
Rough first: Grimm had another tough first inning in his second big league start. In his first start against the Astros, Grimm gave up a run in the first on a solo home run by Jed Lowrie. Monday night, the Tigers did a little more damage. Grimm surrendered seven hits -- four singles and three doubles -- in the frame to fall into a 5-0 hole.
Defensive mishaps: While Grimm obviously didn't have his best stuff, his defense could have made things easier on him. Leonys Martin took a bad route on a leadoff double in the first by Austin Jackson. It appeared Martin could have made a play on the ball. The second batter, Quintin Berry, laid down a bunt toward third that Michael Young, who was playing first, charged in on, and Ian Kinsler failed to get over to cover first.
Hamilton at it again: It didn't take long for Josh Hamilton to give the fans in attendance a souvenir, and no, we aren't talking about a ball. In Hamilton's first at-bat, he let go of the bat not once, but twice. The first bat reached the stands, while the second one landed just shy of the first row a good ways past the infield dirt.
Early exit: Grimm's second inning wasn't much different than the first. After giving up a leadoff walk and single, Michael Kirkman came on in relief. Grimm gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk in one-plus innings.
Role reversal: In Rick Porcello's first outing this season against the Rangers, he lasted just one inning and gave up nine runs (eight earned) in a loss back on April 21. On Monday, it was Grimm who lasted just an inning and Porcello who pitched a gem. Porcello went six innings, giving up one run on six hits and three walks. He also struck out seven.
Left them loaded: The Rangers offense was stagnant most of the night, but in the sixth they loaded the bases with two outs. Mike Napoli worked a full count before swinging through a pitch to strike out. The Rangers left 12 runners on base and were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Kirkman and Lowe save pen: If there is any positive you can take out of this game, it's that Kirkman and Mark Lowe did a nice job saving the bullpen. With Grimm's short outing, the Rangers bullpen could have been in for a long night, but Kirkman did exactly what he needed to do -- eat up outs and save the pen. Kirkman pitched five innings, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts. Lowe came in after that to shut the Tigers offense down for the final three frames, allowing two walks and no hits. The three innings matched a career-high for Lowe. He threw three innings Sept. 26, 2008 against Oakland when he was with Seattle.
Hamilton homers: It hasn't been a month Hamilton would like to remember, but he did deliver his 23rd home run of the season, a two-run shot, over the right field wall in the seventh. It was just the second home run of the month for Hamilton and his first home run in 10 games.
Speedy Martin: Manager Ron Washington has said the biggest room for improvement for Leonys Martin is defensively, and he has certainly had his struggles in the field. But his speed made an appearance in the third inning when he got a good read on a ball and made a sliding catch to end the frame.
Up Next: The Rangers will try to bounce back to tie the series in game two of this three-game series against the Tigers on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW/MLB Network.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers took the rubber match of this three-game series, beating the Colorado Rockies, 4-2. A record 22nd sellout crowd was on hand to watch the Rangers victory. Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: The win tonight gives the Rangers their fifth consecutive series win. They have won all six of their series against the NL this year and have a MLB-best 14-4 interleague record this season. The Rangers are five games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, giving them the largest lead of any of the six MLB division leaders.
Attendance milestone: Tonight's crowd of 45,407 was the 22nd sellout of the year, breaking the club record for sellouts in a single season. The previous record of 21 sellouts was set in 1994. The Rangers have reached 1.5 million in attendance in 35 games, four games sooner than the previous record in '94. The Rangers are also second in average attendance in the MLB (the Philadelphia Phillies are ranked first).
Jam sesh: Matt Harrison pitched his way out of jams in the first and second innings. He had runners in scoring position in both innings, including loaded bases in the second after a single, walk, and hit batter. Robbie Ross also found his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning. In all, the Rockies left 11 runners on base.
Double or nothing: The Rangers had three 6-4-3 double plays with Harrison on the mound tonight. Harrison missed out on his seventh-straight quality start, leaving after five innings because of lower back tightness on his left side. He got credit for his 10th win and finished with five hits, two walks, no runs and three strikeouts. Harrison's injury will be re-examined in the coming days.
A little help from my friends: After Harrison left the game, Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Mike Adams picked up the slack. Each was solid, allowing no runs. Collectively, the three allowed four hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Harrison's fourth shutout of the season evaporated in a wild ninth inning, when Joe Nathan allowed two runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter. Nathan was able to preserve the win, thanks to a putout in a rundown at second, a sac fly and a strikeout.
I got this: Leonys Martin made the most of his start, going 2-for-4 and driving in three of the Rangers' four runs. He had a double in the second and a triple in the third. He also caught three flyouts. Elvis Andrus also had a solid night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a walk.
Hamilton delivers: Josh Hamilton made good on his word, coming through with a first-inning single and an intentional walk in the second. Hamilton rebounded from his career-tying seven strikeouts in the last two games to finish Sunday's game 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
The team to beat: The Rangers (45-28) have had sole possession of the best record in the majors for five straight days. It is the latest in a season that the club has ever held such a distinction. The win tonight also matches the Rangers' best 73-game record in club history, set in 1996.
Up next: RHP Justin Grimm (1-0, 4.50) takes the mound for his second major league start against RHP Rick Porcello (4-5, 4.95) to kick off a three-game series between the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the second night in a row, the Texas Rangers offense used a one-inning explosion to defeat the Houston Astros 8-3 on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 48,288, the third largest of the season. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers locked up the Silver Boot trophy for the sixth straight year. It is the longest win streak in the history of the Lone Star Series rivalry between Texas and Houston. The win gives the Rangers their third consecutive series win. It's the first time they've won three straight series since they won six straight to start the season. The Rangers have a 4.5-game AL West lead with the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks in action now.
Welcome to the big leagues: In his major league debut, Justin Grimm had a mixed first inning, allowing a single and a solo home run, but ended the frame with a strikeout. Grimm then found his rhythm and struck out the side in the second inning. From that point on, he had the game under better control.
Grimm reaper: Once Grimm figured things out, he had a solid game. He had five consecutive strikeouts from the end of the first to the beginning of the third. Grimm is the first player in Rangers history to strike out five consecutive batters in an MLB debut. He had 1-2-3 innings in the second, third and sixth innings and showed he could get out of a jam when he got the final two outs of the fourth with a runner on third. He finished the game allowing six hits, three earned runs and no walks to go with seven strikeouts. Grimm was the first pitcher to throw for seven strikeouts and no walks in a debut since Stephen Strausburg on June 8, 2010.
Another slow start: The Rangers offense struggled to get going early again, having 1-2-3 innings in the first, second and fifth. The bats started to warm up in the third when Mike Napoli hit a long single in the gap between left and center field. The next two batters reached first on consecutive fielder's choices, but no runs were scored. It wasn't until the sixth that the Rangers got a man across home plate.
Just in time: Despite only having two hits in the first five innings, the Rangers offense caught fire in the sixth and scored five runs to go up 5-3 and secure Grimm's first major league win. Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler hit back-to-back singles and were moved over by a sacrifice from Elvis Andrus. Then the Astros made a fatal mistake, allowing Michael Young to reach on a fielder's choice while unsuccessfully trying to catch Gentry in a rundown between third and home. That loaded the bases for Adrian Beltre, who hit a two-RBI single. Nelson Cruz followed with a three-run, 431 foot home run. The Rangers batted around in the sixth and were able to keep the offense rolling the rest of the game.
Record breaker: Michael Young hit his 66th sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, moving Ian Kinsler across home plate. Young's 66 sac flys tie him with Ruben Sierra for the club record.
Agony of da-feet:In his first at bat, Cruz fouled a ball directly into his foot and almost had to leave the game. He finished the at bat with a strikeout and was able to finish, going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and his three-run homer. The Astros' J.D. Martinez also fouled into his foot in the seventh and was able to finish.
Back in the swing of things: Two Rangers broke hitless streaks in Saturday's game. Mike Napoli got his first hit in 10 at bats with his single in the third, and Ian Kinsler broke his hitless streak of 14 at bats with his single during the sixth-inning rally. Cruz' home run in the sixth was his first in 29 at bats. Seven Rangers had hits, and eight reached first base.
Blast from the past: Both the Rangers and Astros wore throwback uniforms from 1986 for 80's weekend. The '80s Rangers logo featuring a blue state of texas with a baseball and red Rangers script was also painted behind home plate, and the scoreboard was lit up with classic yellow numbers and lettering.
Up next: The Rangers close out their three-game series with Houston on Sunday. RHP Colby Lewis (5-5, 3.13) will be on the mound against LHP Dallas Keuchel, who is making his debut. First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/FSSW. ... Less than 50 reserved seats as well as scattered singles and obstructed-view seats remain. Standing-room tickets will also go on sale tomorrow.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers used a five-run fifth inning and a good performance by Yu Darvish to seal a win over the Houston Astros, 6-2, on Friday. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: Texas takes the first game of this three-game series against its in-state foe. The Rangershold a 3.5 game lead in the AL West as they await the outcome of the Angels' game vs. Arizona.
Rest worth while: Yu Darvish was put on hold by the Rangers to get a few extra days of rest, and it looks like that move paid off. Darvish put in a great performance on the mound, allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks, while recording 11 strikeouts in eight innings pitched. With the win, Darvish moves into a tie for the AL lead in wins with eight with five other pitchers, including teammate Matt Harrison.
Double digit strikeouts: Darvish recorded an impressive 11 strikeouts in Friday's win. It ties a career-high for him. He recorded 11 strikeouts May 6 at Cleveland.
Lucky break: The Rangers needed a little help to get the offense going, and that is exactly what the Astros gave them. Ian Kinsler reached on an error before Houston starter Jordan Lyles hit Elvis Andrus to put two aboard with one out in the fifth. Back-to-back singles from Michael Young and Adrian Beltre gave Texas the lead.
An inning of fives: The Rangers used five straight singles and a couple of errors to put together a five-run fifth inning to chase Lyles from the game. However, they weren't hard hit balls. Nelson Cruz, swinging away on a 3-0 count, blooped one into center that no one could get. Yorvit Torrealba also blooped one just fair into right field.
Young delivers: Michael Young was 3-for-25 with runners in scoring position in the last 33 games before driving in the first Rangers run of the night that got the offense going. Young finished 1-for-5 with an RBI.
Insurance run: Mitch Moreland provided an insurance run for the Rangers in a big way in the eighth. He hit his 10th home run of the season, and it was a no doubter (estimated 412 feet) for the sixth Rangers run of the night.
Stranded runners: Although they had the big fifth inning, the Rangers left nine runners on base, including seven left in scoring position.
Killer Bees: No, the Astros don't have the likes of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, but the killer bees were still in full force Friday night in the form of walks (bases on balls). The first run Darvish allowed on the night came on a RBI single from Jed Lowrie to score Jose Altuve, who led off the inning with a walk.
Getting ahead: Darvish's success Friday was partly due to getting ahead of hitters. The 25-year-old threw 21 first pitch strikes to the 31 batters he faced.
Martin: Leonys Martin was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday and immediately got a start in center field. At the plate, he was 0-for-3 with walk, but he scorched a ball in his third-at bat right at Astros first baseman Brett Wallace.
Web gym: The best defensive play of the night came in the third. With a runner on first and one out, Andrus made a sliding stop going to his right to start a smooth 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Another sellout: There was another sellout crowd on hand Friday night. The announced attendance was 47,430. It marks the 18th sellout of the season as the Rangers are three sellouts away from breaking the club record of 21 sellouts, which was set in 1994 when the stadium opened.
Up next: The Rangers and Astros go at it again Saturday at 6:15 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FOX. RHP Justin Grimm will make his Major League debut after being called up from Double-A Frisco. His competitor will be RHP Lucas Harrell (6-4, 4.83).
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Ron Washington wants to see progression from his starting pitchers their second time around in spring training.
He was pitching so well, Lewis went back on the mound in the fourth. And he still had zeros on his stat line when his day was over.
“I left it up to me which one I would like to do, and I chose to go back into the game,” Lewis said.
The adrenaline was pumping for Lewis, who struck out five batters in four innings. Granted, it was a split-squad day for the White Sox, but he was still dealing against many of the team’s regulars.
Leadoff second baseman Brent Lillibridge struck out to start the game. Lewis also struck out the side in the second inning on the White Sox’s No. 4, 5 and 6 hitters -- first baseman Paul Konerko, designated hitter Adam Dunn and catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
When Lewis decided to pitch the fourth, he picked another strikeout off centerfielder Kosuke Fukudome for the second out. Lewis got right fielder Alex Rios to ground out to second, completing his perfect day of work.
“You want to go out there and get outs, and that’s the main focus when you step between the lines,” Lewis said. “If you are still working on something, you still want to get that guy out, regardless.”
Lewis was pleased with his command on all of his pitches. He was able to locate his fastball inside and outside on hitters. He is also pleased with the way his changeup is coming along.
“Same grip, just trying to throw it more,” Lewis said about his changeup. “I think just to get that in the mix and keep guys off the rotational stuff with the slider and curveball, I think it’ll help my fastball a lot.”
Gentry exits: Outfielder Craig Gentry left the game in the fifth inning due to tightness in his left hamstring.
“He was out there grabbing his hamstring, so we just got him off the field precautionary,” manager Ron Washington said. “When he got in, he said he was fine.”
Kyle Hudson replaced Gentry in right field with one out in the bottom of the inning.
Gentry went 0-for-3 at the plate before his injury. Hudson was 0-for-2.
Feldman delivers: The perfect game was broken up on the first batter pitcher Scott Feldman faced, but it was one of just two hits he allowed. Feldman pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Lewis and struck out three.
Profar plays: Highly touted shortstop Jurickson Profar played 3 ½ innings Saturday. The seventh-best prospect on Baseball America’s Top 100 entered as a defensive substitution in the sixth inning for Alberto Gonzalez. Profar drew a walk in his first at-bat but was caught stealing second base. His final plate appearance resulted in a ground out.
Profar had a chance to keep the game tied with two outs in the ninth inning. It was a tough play, but Profar somehow came up with the ball in his glove, but his off-balance throw wasn’t on target.
“It’s a great experience,” Profar said. “It’s good for me. I’m learning.”
Moreland 0-for-4: Washington moved first baseman Mitch Moreland into the cleanup spot with the regulars out of the lineup. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout at the plate.
De Los Santos struggles: Pitcher Miguel De Los Santos dealt with command issues on the mound again. Up 2-0 in the ninth inning, De Los Santos blew the lead. He gave up a run on two hits and a walk before recording his first out.
De Los Santos was up 0-2 on third baseman Dallas McPherson with the bases loaded and two outs. He threw a wild pitch, which brought home the tying run. De Los Santos eventually walked McPherson and was pulled by Washington for Justin Miller, who gave up the game-winning run.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.