He gave the bullpen a night off.
Rogers threw a three-hitter and the Rangers won 3-1 to spoil Carlos Beltran’s Houston debut Friday night, a day after seven Texas relievers were needed in an 18-inning win.
“You can’t dial up any better than that,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I don’t know what more you can do to give a club what it needed than what Kenny did.”
Rogers (10-2) threw 61 of 90 pitches for strikes in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 27 minutes—nearly 3 1/2 hours shorter than Thursday’s 9-7 win over Seattle.
The 39-year-old left-hander joined Houston’s Roger Clemens as the only 10-game winners in the majors. It was Rogers’ second complete game of the season and the 35th of his career.
After the 18-inning game, Showalter moved Rogers up from his scheduled start Saturday. Just as planned, he preserved the bullpen—not even one reliever had to warm up.
“Without a doubt, that is the most rewarding thing,” Rogers said. “It was just a game at the perfect time for us. I was more than happy to be the guy that went out and did it.”
Rogers retired 13 straight batters before Beltran hit a leadoff double in the seventh. After a flyball moved him to third, Beltran scored the Astros’ only run on Jeff Kent’s sacrifice fly.
“My first at-bat was almost like my first at-bat in the big leagues. I’m glad this one is over with,” said Beltran, whose infield single in the first extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Before Beltran’s double, only one Houston runner had reached second base. That was in the second, when Rogers got Brad Ausmus to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Rogers struck out two, including No. 6 hitter Jeff Bagwell to end the seventh, and walked just one. He said he didn’t throw a changeup and used only a couple of curveballs, relying instead on four-seam fastballs and sinkers.
“He threw a lot of strikes and hit both sides of the plate,” Astros manager Jimy Williams said. “Rogers was the key on the night, the way he pitched.”
It was Rogers’ third shot at his 10th win. He had given up just three earned runs over 13 innings in his last two starts, but did not get a decision against Cincinnati or Florida.
Alfonso Soriano, whose two-run homer against Seattle ended the longest game in the majors this season, led off the seventh with his 11th homer for a 3-1 lead.
“What was great was when I gave up the run, we got one right back,” Rogers said. “It was a huge momentum swing and took a lot from them.”
The Rangers went ahead to stay in the second when Mark Teixeira singled and scored on David Dellucci’s triple into the right-center gap. Beltran almost ran the ball down but had trouble seeing it. He was not charged with an error.
Beltran, who started in center, caught three flyballs. He caught two in the bottom of the first, running down Soriano’s long drive for the last out of the inning.
Texas added an unearned run in the fourth against Wade Miller (7-7), who walked six and struck out two in 5 1-3 innings.
Rod Barajas had a leadoff single and moved to second on a sacrifice fly before Michael Young hit a ball that ricocheted off second-base umpire Jack Samuels. The ball was ruled dead, and Barajas wasn’t allowed to advance.
The winner of the season series is supposed to get the Silver Boot. But the glass trophy is in pieces after getting broken in transit from Houston, which won it the last two years. … Miller went 2-0 and allowed just one earned run over 19 1-3 innings his previous three starts. … Kent was the DH for the Astros, going 0-for-1 with a walk. Eric Bruntlett got his first start at 2B. … Young went 2-for-4 for his 35th multihit game, most in the majors. He leads the majors with 104 hits. … Barajas has a nine-game hitting streak,matching a career high.