While their streak of leaving the yard in 15 consecutive games came to an end in the second of three against the Seattle Mariners, the AL West-leading Texas Rangers proved they're more than just a homer-hitting bunch.
The visiting Rangers aim for a 21st win in 27 meetings with the Mariners during Wednesday afternoon's series finale.
One night after falling 6-1, Texas (27-17) bounced back Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over Seattle (20-25). Leading the majors with a .466 slugging percentage and tied for second with 62 homers, the Rangers collected a season-low four hits but made the most of their opportunities, going 2 for 4 with runners in scoring position.
"We got four hits and we made them all count. Sometimes you have to win ball games like that," manager Ron Washington said. "I feel like we can win ball games any kind of way and tonight took that to win it. It took some good pitching and some good defense."
The Rangers have outscored the Mariners 125-77 and outhomered them 34-10 in taking 20 of 26 matchups. Keeping things going, though, could prove difficult against Kevin Millwood (2-4, 4.17 ERA), who seems to have turned a corner after compiling a 5.70 ERA over a four-start losing streak.
Five days after throwing seven innings of one-run ball during a 6-2 win at Yankee Stadium, the 37-year-old right-hander struck out a season best-tying seven and walked one in a two-hitter during Friday's 4-0 victory at Colorado.
"He was banging the corners and he had late movement. He was mixing his pitches," Rockies second baseman Marco Scutaro said. "It wasn't like we were hitting a bunch of hard balls. Sometimes you have to give credit to the guy."
Millwood earned high praise from teammate Kyle Seager for diving for a bunted ground ball in the ninth inning.
"That's an unbelievable effort right there," Seager told the team's official website. "He laid it all out there. That's pretty special to see a guy giving it all like that. That motivates you as a team when you've got Millwood out there, he's diving after bunts in the ninth inning. That's unbelievable. That speaks a lot about him and his competitiveness and his leadership."
Millwood gave up one run, four hits and fanned seven over six innings but didn't receive a decision in a 4-3 win at Texas on April 11 in his season debut. Millwood, who spent four seasons with Texas from 2006-2009, is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA over four career starts against his former team.
After placing Neftali Feliz on the 15-day disabled list Monday with right elbow inflammation, the Rangers turn to Scott Feldman (0-1, 3.00) to help fill his void. The right-hander has gone 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA over two starts but failed to make it through five innings in each.
A 17-game winner in 2009, Feldman is hoping to stick in the rotation. It's unknown how Washington plans to use him following this start, though.
"I'm going to take it one start at a time," he told the team's official website. "If I stay in there and do a good job, maybe they'll keep giving me the ball. I want to do well but I don't want to make it into something it's not. If I go out and pitch well, everything else will take care of itself."
Feldman is 3-3 with a 3.54 ERA in nine career starts against the Mariners, the most recent of which came September 2010.
- Texas Rangers
- Seattle Mariners
- Kevin Millwood