Buchholz holds Rangers to five hits in first career shutout

HOUSTON (AP) -- After his last start, Taylor Buchholz noticed
something in his delivery that needed to be adjusted.

It must have made a big difference because Buchholz pitched a
five-hitter for his first career shutout as the Houston Astros beat
the Texas Rangers 5-0 on Sunday.

Buchholz (3-3) had lost his last two starts, allowing eight
earned runs in each game.

"I watched some video with Jim (Hickey, Astros pitching coach)
after my last start," said Buchholz, who walked none and struck
out a career-high six in his first career complete game. "I
noticed I was flying open a hair on my delivery. I was trying to
make my pitches too nasty and I knew if I could stop doing it, it
would make a difference.

"I had more command on my fastball than anything else. I knew I
had good stuff today."

Manager Phil Garner was impressed.

"I think that was about as good as you can pitch," Garner
said. "And it came against some very good hitters over there. It
was a marvelous pitching performance. He just did a masterful

His teammates liked the way Buchholz bounced back from two such
bad outings.

"For him to come back after two poor games and pitch this well
is something," Brad Ausmus said. "He didn't let those games
bother him or his psyche. He saw today that he could come back and
be as dominant as he was awful."

Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg agreed.

"To show that type of composure after two tough outings is
pretty impressive," Ensberg said. "I saw the same demeanor in him
today that he showed in the last two games. He never changes. The
guy is devastating. He's just filthy."

The Rangers, who are third in the American League in hitting
with a .287 average, had never seen Buchholz.

"He was throwing strikes first of all and he kept his pitch
count down," Michael Young said. "We might have been over
aggressive at times coming out of our game plan. He's got good
stuff. We needed to make some adjustments and we just didn't do it
today like we normally do."

Texas Rangers manager Buck Showalter also liked what he saw from

"Overall their guy pitched real well," Showalter said. "They
didn't need to score that much. His numbers are not reflective of
the type of pitcher he is. I'm happy for the young man but I wish
he had done it against someone else.

"He had command of his pitches and he even mixed in a couple of
changeups. He got bored with our hitters, I guess."

The Astros took two of three from the Rangers, but still have
lost 11 of their last 16 games.

Ensberg and Jason Lane provided all the offense Buchholz would
need, each hitting two-run homers.

Rangers starter John Koronka (4-2) had won four straight games
since an opening loss to Detroit April 4. He had three no-decisions
in that span.

Koronka lasted six innings and allowed three runs and five hits.
He walked four and struck out three.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Preston
Wilson's RBI single drove in Craig Biggio.

Ensberg made it 3-0 in the sixth when he hit Koronka's first
pitch into the left field seats. It was Ensberg's team-leading 14th
home run of the season.

Lane hit his homer in the eighth inning. It was his ninth of the

Game notes
Brad Ausmus batted second for the first time this season
and Eric Bruntlett replaced regular center fielder Willy Taveras
for the second time as manager Phil Garner attempted to shake up
his lethargic offense. ... It was the first time this season the
Rangers had lost the final game of a road series. Counting a
one-game series in Boston, Texas was 7-0 in those games before
Sunday. ... Buchholz had pitched 8 2-3 innings against Pittsburgh
on April 22.