BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers split a pair with the Miami Marlins to complete their home stand with a 3-6 record, winning one game against each of the three opponents. The Rangers lost the opener 8-5 on Tuesday night, but came back to win 6-0 on Wednesday behind a strong pitching performance from Yu Darvish, who threw his first complete game in the Major Leagues. Darvish was the winning pitcher in two of the Rangers’ three wins on the home stand.
The Rangers provided Darvish with all the run support he needed when they struck for four third inning runs on Wednesday They followed with single runs in each of the next two innings. Sin-Shoo Choo drove home three with a third inning double, which snapped an 0-18 streak for Choo. He also drove in another run in the fifth inning with a single.
Darvish (7-2) continued his bid for the All-Star team by blanking the Marlins on six hits. He threw 117 pitches as he struck out 10 and walked three, and the Rangers recorded their league leading 12th shutout of the year. The outing lowered Darvish’s ERA to 2.11, which is good enough to rank third in the American League and fifth among the pitchers on all 30 teams. His 10 strikeout performance was his 24th, which ranks second in Ranger annals to Nolan Ryan’s 34 double digit strikeout games.
Miami’s Jacob Turner (2-4) was the Marlins’ starting and losing pitcher.
Tuesday night’s game was one of the poorer played games of the year for Texas. They committed three errors that led to three unearned runs for the Marlins. There was a lack of effort on one play that was emblematic of the game. Leonys Martin was lackadaisical fielding a soft fly ball to short center field, turning a single into a double for Miami’s Christian Yelich. Martin was promptly lifted for a pinch hitter when the Rangers came to bat and was out early on Wednesday for extra practice.
Texas twice took leads in the game, but each time they were unable to execute the “shut down” inning. They led 1-0 in the second inning, but starting pitcher Colby Lewis gave up a run in the third, two more in the fourth and another in the sixth as the Rangers fell behind 4-1. The offense countered with four Ranger runs in the bottom half of the sixth to re-take the lead at 5-4. However, the Marlins secured the win with a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Jason Frasor (1-1) took the loss, but it was Neal Cotts that relieved Frasor and gave up the hit that scored the game tying and go ahead runs in the seventh inning. Miami reliever Bryan Morris (5-0) was the winning pitcher, and Steve Cishek earned his 15th save by throwing a spotless ninth inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
Texas woke up Thursday morning in fourth place with a 32-34 record. They trail Oakland by eight games and are equidistant between third and fifth places. They are 2.5 games behind third place Seattle and 2.5 games ahead of last place Houston. The Angels are in second place 3.5 games behind the Athletics.
After an off day on Thursday, the Rangers begin a nine game road trip – three three-game series with divisional opponents, Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles. The announced starting pitchers for this weekend’s series in Seattle are Nick Tepesch (2-2) on Friday, Joe Saunders (0-2) on Saturday and Nick Martinez (1-3) on Sunday. Seattle’s ace Felix Hernandez (8-1) will pitch against the Rangers in Friday night’s tilt.
ROSTER MOVES AND INJURIES: Mitch Moreland was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and Brad Snyder was summoned from AAA Round Rock. Snyder started at first base in both games against the Marlins, his third and fourth professional appearances at first base. The first two came Sunday and Monday for Round Rock. Moreland is still debating between two surgical procedures for his ankle injury. The ankle reconstruction surgery would keep him out for three months. The other procedure would keep him out for only about a month. Jim Adduci re-injured his pinky finger in a minor league rehab appearance, and will be sidelined at least another three weeks. On Wednesday, reliever Tanner Scheppers was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season with inflammation in his right elbow. Ben Rowen was recalled from AAA Round Rock.
* The Rangers announced the signing of their top draft pick – Luis Ortiz – on Wednesday afternoon. Ortiz, a right-handed pitcher from Sanger High School in California, was selected with the 30th pick overall. He reportedly signed for $1.75 million, the amount allocated to that slot. Ortiz will report to the Rangers’ Arizona Rookie League team next week after going through his high school graduation this Saturday. With his signing, the Rangers have inked seven of their first 10 selections in the draft.
* Wednesday’s Ranger win snapped two streaks. It ended the Rangers’ four game losing streak and ended the Marlins 13 game winning streak in inter-league play.
* Joey Gallo was promoted to AA Frisco and hit a home run in each of his first two games. He has hit 23 for the season to lead the minor leagues.
* The Rangers are 5-7 in interleague play in 2014 after the Miami series.