BY: Richard W. Humphrey
Texas beat Seattle 4-3 Wednesday afternoon to gain a split in the two game series and remain one-half game behind the Mariners for third place in the American League West. Nick Tepesch turned in another fine start to win his first game of the year in his second start. He gave up three runs, all earned in 6-1/3rd innings on five hits, striking out four and walking two. Robbie Ross, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria finished the game, with Soria needing 10 pitches to retire the three batters he faced in the ninth and earn his eighth save.
The losing pitcher was Chris Young (3-2), former star basketball and baseball player at Highland Park High School. He, like Tepesch, went 6-1/3rd innings, giving up all four Ranger runs on seven hits.
Texas took the early lead with three first inning runs. Daniel Robinson walked and Elvis Andrus homered to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead two batters into the game. Sin-Shoo Choo followed with a single and later scored on Alex Rios’ single for the third run. Seattle came back with three runs in the fourth inning. The first three Mariners of the inning tripled (James Jones), singled (Michael Saunders) and homered (Robinson Cano’s second) to tie the game.
That was all the scoreboard damage Tepesch gave up. A boy named Choo broke the tie in the fifth inning with his team leading fifth home run, the run that proved to be the game winner.
The short series began with another disappointing offensive night for the Rangers. They garnered just six hits in Tuesday night’s game – five singles and an Adrian Beltre home run, his fourth in the second inning. Alex Rios singled home the Rangers’ other run in the game.
Colby Lewis was the starting pitcher and completed six innings for the first time in his seven starts. That was about the only good news. Beltre’s home run gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead, which was quickly erased as Seattle struck for four runs in the third inning. The first four Seattle batters of the inning reached base on three singles and a walk. All of them scored. Both teams scored single runs in the fourth inning, and Seattle added the game’s final run in the seventh off Aaron Poreda. 6-2 was the final score.
The bottom line for Lewis was five earned runs allowed on nine hits. He struck out six, but walked three and hit a batter as 13 of the 30 batters he faced reached base. Three of the base hits were softly hit, but opponents are now hitting .351 off Lewis for the season. He took the loss to even his record at 3-3, and his ERA increased to 5.40.
Hisashi Iwakuma was very good for Seattle, allowing both runs and all six Ranger hits over eight innings. He missed the entire month of April with a torn tendon in his finger, but improved to 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA in four starts since returning to the active roster.
Prince Fielder and Leonys Martin were in the initial starting lineup for Tuesday’s game, but both were scratched with neck stiffness. Neither was available for Wednesday’s tilt either, and Fielder did not accompany the team to Detroit. He stayed in town for further examination, as he has now missed four consecutive games. With Fielder and Martin unavailable, the Rangers had just two position players on the bench for both games – a back-up catcher and a back-up middle infielder.
The Rangers now begin an 11-game road trip, the longest road trip of the season, with four games this weekend in Detroit. Yu Darvish (3-2) will start Thursday, in a rare day game to start the series. Scott Baker (0-0) will become the tenth Ranger starting pitcher on Friday night, as he moves into the rotation replacing Robbie Ross. Friday’s game is the only night game of the series. Nick Martinez (0-1) and Lewis (3-3) will start Saturday and Sunday.
ROSTER MOVES: Catcher J. P. Arencibia was sent to AAA Round Rock on Tuesday, and Chris Gimenez was added to the roster. To make room for Gimenez on the 40-man roster, pitcher Martin Perez was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list, becoming the seventh Ranger on the 60-day DL. Gimenez was on the Rangers’ opening day roster, but did not see action in a game before being designated for assignment. When he played Wednesday, he became the 39th player to appear in a game for Texas this year.
* Former Ranger owner, and former United States Ambassador to Australia and Japan, Tom Schieffer was named to the Texas Rangers’ Hall of Fame. He’ll be inducted prior to the Rangers’ game on August 23. Schieffer, who will become the 17th member of the Rangers’ Hall of Fame, was the driving force behind the design and construction of the Ballpark in Arlington, now known as Globe Life Ballpark, in the early 1990′s.
* The Rangers have failed to win any of their last six series going 0-4-2. They last won a series May 2, 3 and 4 against the Angels.
* Nick Tepesch became the 13th pitcher to record a win for the Rangers this year, the Major League high.
* Three of Colby Lewis’s seven starts have been against Seattle, and his ERA is 6.61 against the Mariners this year.