Texas Rangers Take Down Series In Seattle
BY: Dic Humphrey
The Texas Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners Sunday afternoon 4-0 to win the weekend series two games to one. It was the Rangers’ ninth win in the last 10 series and their fourth win in the last five games following a season high five game losing streak. The win moved the Ranger record to 54-35 and maintained their five game lead over the Angels, who beat New York 10-8 earlier in the day.
Matt Harrison (12-4, 2.87) pitched a complete game, his second complete game shutout of the season. The 12 wins ties him for the American League lead. He finished strong, retiring the final eight and 10 of the final 12 batters that he faced. He has now beaten the Mariners in eight straight starts and is 9-1 in his career against Seattle.
Offensively, Texas grabbed a 1-0 lead before Harrison ever took the mound and did so without benefit of a hit. Ian Kinsler walked to open the game, moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third and home on groundouts from Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton, respectively. Adrian Beltre stroked a two-run single in the third and Ian Kinsler hit his 10th home run in the fifth, becoming the sixth Ranger with at least 10 home runs.
Derek Holland started Friday night’s opener and turned in 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Texas won 3-2, Holland’s second win in two starts since being activated from the disabled list. He is 6-4, 4.57 on the season. He struggled in the fourth inning. He walked two and needed 30 pitches to get through the inning, but he was magnificent the rest of the game. He got the first two batters to start the eighth, but when Ichiro Suzuki singled, manager Ron Washington summoned Mike Adams to finish the inning.
The Rangers took a 3-0 lead into the ninth. Joe Nathan came on for the save and struggled. After Jesus Montero grounded out to start the inning, Nathan gave up three straight singles to load the bases and put the tying run aboard. A fielding error let in one run, but an egregious base running mistake gave the Rangers a second out. Nathan was still not out of the woods, though. He re-loaded the bases with a walk and threw a wild pitch that plated a second Mariners’ run before finally striking out Dustin Ackley to quell the threat and record his 19th save in 20 opportunities.
Offensively, Ian Kinsler broke the scoreless tie in the fifth inning, singling with Mike and Mike (Young and Napoli) on third and second base. Young scored, but Napoli was thrown out at the plate. An inning later Adrian Beltre homered following a Josh Hamilton walk to cap the Rangers’ scoring on the night. It was Beltre’s 16th home run of the season.
A year ago, Holland was clearly the Rangers’ best pitcher after the All-Star break as he finished with a 10-1 record and 2.77 ERA in his final 15 starts. He was also very good in the playoffs – 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six post season games (four starts). With a pair of wins since being activated on the Saturday before the All-Star game, he hopefully is giving signs of being that kind of pitcher again in the final months of the season this year.
Saturday’s game can be summed up with the words “Felix” and “Hernandez”. He was simply overwhelming. Texas mustered just three singles on the night, while 12 Rangers struck out. That included hat tricks for Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. 7-0 was the final. It was the second time this year the Rangers have been shutout.
Meanwhile, Yu Darvish looked rusty. He was skipped in what would have been his final start before the All-Star break, and had gone 12 days between starts. He failed to retire any of Seattle’s first five batters of the game, walking two and hitting another. Seattle ended up with four runs in the first and seven runs total off Darvish, the most Darvish has allowed in a start this year. He is now 10-6 with a 3.96 ERA. Oddly, offensively challenged Mariners have been a problem for Darvish. This was his third start against the Mariners, and he is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in those starts, having allowed 20 hits and walking 14.
Despite the positive results on the field, the offense is a continued concern. Texas has scored no more than four runs in any July game, and has tallied just 24 runs in 10 games this month. Their record is 4-6 in July. Hamilton particularly struggled this weekend, striking out six times in the three games. In any event, Texas extended its lead in the West to five games, as Los Angeles lost two of three in New York over the weekend.
Manager Ron Washington was asked about the offense after the game and expressed confidence that it will come around. “I know the offense has some more to give us.”
Texas has off days this week on both Monday and Thursday. In between, there is a pair of games in Oakland before squaring off with second place Los Angeles next weekend. Yorvit Torrealba will not be with the team in Oakland, as he has taken maternity leave to join his wife for impending child birth. Luis Martinez was summoned to Seattle from AAA Rock after Friday’s game when Napoli left with a severe bruise above his knee. Napoli did not play Saturday or Sunday, but is expected to be ready to go in Oakland with Martinez as the backup. Also, Alexi Ogando is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, and Koji Uehara may be too. The announced starting pitchers for the series are:
Tuesday: Roy Oswalt (2-1, 6.26) vs. Bartolo Colon (6-7, 3.80)
Wednesday: TBA vs. Travis Blackley (2-2, 2.63)
(Colby Lewis (6-6, 3.51) is expected to be activated to start Wednesday’s game.)
- Ogando threw two innings for Round Rock Saturday in his second minor league re-hab appearance. He threw mostly fastballs, clocked as high as 97. He faced four batters and allowed a hit in his first inning of work. In the second, he struck out the side.
- The Rangers’ record of 54-35 is the best in franchise history after 89 games, two wins better than the previous best in 1996 and 2004.
- The series win in Seattle was the Rangers’ first road series win against a divisional opponent this season.