Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Astros 0
HOUSTON -- It took a while for the Texas Rangers' offense to get going, but Alexi Ogando shut down the Houston Astros long enough in a 4-0 victory over Houston that gave the Rangers a series win to open the season.
Pitching, pitching, pitching: The Rangers shut out the Astros for the final 18 innings of the series. After Yu Darvish came within an out of a perfect game, Ogando jumped back into the Rangers' rotation with 6 1/3 shutout innings. Ogando allowed four hits, had 10 strikeouts and one walk. Four Rangers relievers blanked the Astros the rest of the way.
Strikeout records: OK, maybe it's the Astros' lineup. But give credit where credit is due. Matt Harrison tied a career high with nine strikeouts, and Darvish (14 Ks) and Ogando (10 Ks) set career bests in the opening series. The Rangers had 43 strikeouts in the three-game series, breaking the major league record for the first three games of the season set by the 1966 Cleveland Indians pitching staff, which had 42.
|The excitement of Yu Darvish's near-perfect game has Rangers fans brimming with hope. Play-by-play voice Steve Busby talks about Yu's outstanding effort. |
Big series for Puma: Lance Berkman had six hits in the series, including a rocket double to the opposite field to score Elvis Andrus from first base and give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning. Berkman reached base in nine of his 12 plate appearances in the series. The former Astros All-Star extended his hitting streak at Minute Maid Park to 15 games. Berkman loves Houston.
Beltre scuffling: Third baseman Adrian Beltre was off to an 0-for-11 start before singling in his final two at-bats. His single in the sixth inning helped the Rangers score their first run. Beltre was the victim of some outstanding defense in this series, including a spectacular play by Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez in the first inning.
Visit boosts Ogando: Manager Ron Washington gave Ogando the type of visit to the mound he usually reserves for Derek Holland. Washington had an intense conversation with Ogando after he fell behind with two balls to strikeout machine Carlos Pena with two runners on and two outs in the third inning. Ogando responded by getting Pena to ground out to second. He retired nine in a row after Washington's pep talk.
Feasting on the pen: The Rangers managed only four runs in the three games against Astros starters, but they crushed Houston relief pitching. The Rangers scored nine runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Houston bullpen.
Up next: The Rangers get a mandatory day off Thursday because of the collective bargaining agreement with the players. It should help get them revved up for their first home series against Josh Hamilton and the Angels.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.