Rangers save split: For all the trouble that Texas ran into during this week's four-game series with Los Angeles — from losing the first two games to whispers about Josh Hamilton to seeing its starting pitching get pounded — the Rangers are coming out of it completely even-steven. Thursday's 15-9 win at Rangers Ballpark salvaged a split between the AL West rivals and allowed first-place Texas to exit the series with the five-game lead over the Halos that it entered with.
It wasn't easy, though. Deadline prize Ryan Dempster was horrid in his American League debut, surrendering eight runs and nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings of work. But Angels starter C.J. Wilson was just as bad, giving up eight runs over 5 1/3 innings. Hamilton played hero in the batter's box, notching four RBIs, including a two-run double in the four-run seventh.
The two teams have six games remaining against each other, but won't meet again until kicking off a three-game series in Anaheim on Sept. 18.
A's keep pace: Not only did the Angels experience the disappointment of leaving Texas without having gained any ground, they also can't even lay claim to second place in the AL West anymore. Oakland stands 4 1/2 games behind the Rangers and it improved to 14-5 since the All-Star break with a 4-1 win over Toronto. Bartolo Colon pitched eight shutout innings while Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer, his 23rd of the season.
Strikes? Who needs strikes? Minnesota's Samuel Deduno threw only 50 of his 101 pitches for strikes, but it didn't hurt him much against the Boston Red Sox. Deduno allowed only two hits over six innings before the Twins bullpen contributed three perfect innings in a 5-0 victory at Fenway Park. It was the second straight two-hit start for Deduno, who spent five years in the minors before being called up this season.
A loss to remember: The Cincinnati Reds kept on rolling, winning their 13th game in 14 tries with a 9-4 victory over San Diego. Padres rookie Eddy Rodriguez recorded the top highlight, though, hitting a home run in his first career at-bat. He's the 112th player in baseball history to do so and just the second this season, joining Pittsburgh's Starling Marte who hit his on July 26.
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Photo of the day: The Beard is back!
Jayson Werth made his return to the Washington Nationals on Thursday after missing nearly three months with a broken left wrist. Hitting from the sixth spot, Werth went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a walk in Washington's 3-0 sweep-avoiding win over Philadelphia.
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Three facts for the water cooler
• San Francisco has lost seven of eight games since taking a three-game lead over the Dodgers on July 25. Thursday's 9-1 loss to the Mets allowed New York to leave town with three wins in the four-game series. "We've been awful here this past week," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters.
• Miami's Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak t0 20 games with a triple in a 6-1 loss to Atlanta. The streak ties his career high, set in 2005 with the Mets.
• Cleveland's 7-6 loss to Kansas City in 11 innings was the Tribe's sixth straight loss. It's the team's longest losing streak since it lost seven straight in June 2010.