BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas ended an eight game losing streak Sunday with a 1-0 win over Seattle. Derek Holland threw seven sparkling shutout innings, Adrian Beltre drove home Leonys Martin with a sixth fbinning sacrifice fly, and Shawn Tolleson and Neftali Feliz finished off the final two innings to complete the shutout, the Rangers’ 17th of the year. The win improved the Rangers’ record to 54-89.
Texas needs to win nine of the final 19 games to avoid a 100 loss season. The eight came losing streak halted Sunday effectively seals last place in the West, as they now trail the Astros for fourth place by nine games, as well as the worst record in baseball (and the number one pick in next June’s amateur draft). Colorado and Arizona each have 59 wins as the next closest teams to Texas for the dubious honor.
Seattle needed the three wins for their playoff quest. They left town holding the second Wild Card spot 1/2 game ahead of Detroit (one in the loss column) and trailing Oakland by two games for the top Wild Card spot. Cleveland, New York and Toronto are the next three teams in the Wild Card chase after Detroit.
Seattle blasted the Rangers and starting pitcher Robbie Ross in Thursday’s series opening game. Ross was knocked out in the second inning allowing six earned runs. The Seattle lead grew to 9-0 before the Rangers scored. 10-2 was the final, and Ross’s record fell to 2-6. Rougned Odor hit his eighth home run.
On Friday night, Seattle jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning; extended it to 5-1 in the fifth and won 7-5. Scott Baker (3-4) couldn’t complete five innings and took the loss. Adam Rosales hit his fourth home run.
The start of Saturday’s game was delayed for more than three hours, the first weather delay of the season at home for Texas. Texas scored two unearned runs in the fourth inning off Highland Park grad Chris Young, who went five innings, allowing just those two runs on four hits. Seattle rallied for two runs in the sixth and two more in the eighth inning to take a 4-2 win. Neal Cotts (2-9) was charged with the eighth inning runs to take the loss.
The Rangers are off Monday, then host the first place Angels for three games beginning Tuesday. Los Angeles has taken charge of the division with an 87-55 record (.613 winning percentage), the best record in baseball. They now lead Oakland by seven games. Their magic number to clinch the division is 14. The Angels lead Texas 10-3 this season, with another three game series in Anaheim still to go after this week’s action. The Rangers have announced that Colby Lewis (9-12) and Nick Tepesch (4-9) will start Tuesday and Wednesday’s games. Thursday’s starting pitcher is TBA.
ROSTER MOVE: Infielder Guilder Rodriguez, a 13 year minor league veteran, was added to the Rangers’ roster on Sunday, a day after Frisco was eliminated from the Texas League playoffs. Yu Darvish was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Rodriguez on the roster.
* The Rangers announced their 2015 schedule. They will open the season in Oakland on Monday, April 6. The home opener is Friday, April 10 against Houston. The home inter league opponents are the Dodgers, Giants, Diamonbacks and Padres.
*. Leonys Martin was 3-4 with a run scored Sunday batting leadoff against Seattle left-hander James Paxton. Martin is now hitting .352 in 17 starts as the lead-off batter.
* Adrian Beltre has reached base in 23 straight games, the second longest active streak in the American League.
* 16 of the Rangers’ final 19 games are against American League West foes.