PHOENIX -- After losing five straight games, Texas was in danger of dropping out of first place in the AL West for the first time since May 5.
Thanks to Vicente Padilla and some timely hits, the Rangers still own a share of the division lead.Padilla pitched seven sharp innings, Taylor Teagarden and David Murphy drove in a run each and the Rangers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 on Wednesday night to snap their skid.The Rangers said their confidence never wavered during their recent slump."Contrary to popular belief, the sky wasn't falling," third baseman Michael Young said. "We're a confident group, man. It was a stretch where we didn't play very well. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's going to happen at some point again in our careers. The biggest thing is how you come out of it."The Rangers remain tied for first in the West with the Los Angeles Angels.For the Diamondbacks, it was another wasted start by Dan Haren (6-5), who has yearned for run support for much of this season.Arizona, last in the NL West, had been looking to win consecutive games for only the third time since May 23."I mean, it's tough," Haren said. "It's very frustrating. It seems like the way this year's gone, we get something going and we just can't seem to carry the momentum."Haren allowed two runs in seven innings but lost for the first time since May 12, a span of seven starts. He entered with a league-leading 2.23 ERA, and was riding a personal three-game win streakThe Diamondbacks flailed away with little success against Padilla (6-3), who allowed one run and six hits, walked two and struck out three. Padilla, who broke in with Arizona in 1999, has won five of his last six decisions.Chris Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.Texas took a 1-0 lead in the second. Haren hit the first batter, Marlon Byrd, then walked Hank Blalock.After Brandon Boggs struck out, Teagarden, hitting .228, doubled down the left field line to score Byrd.An inning later, Ian Kinsler led off with a single, stole second (his 15th in 17 attempts) and scored on a single by Murphy to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead."We had some good at-bats, and that's what we needed," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Hopefully, that can springboard us to get back to where we were."The two runs were all Haren allowed in a 116-pitch outing. He retired the last 11 batters he faced. Haren gave up four hits, walked one and struck out eight."To tell you the truth, I had pretty good stuff," Haren said.Padilla's stuff was even better.He worked into and out of trouble in the first four innings before the Diamondbacks cut the lead in half on Felipe Lopez's RBI single in the fifth.In the sixth, Arizona's Gerardo Parra tripled with one out. But Padilla struck out Tony Clark, hitting .171, and then got .221-hitting Eric Byrnes to bounce to second to end the inning."Padilla did a good job of changing his rhythm, changing his tempo," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "We just never could get the big hit, the clutch hit at the right time."Arizona threatened again in the eighth against Frank Francisco. He gave up a leadoff double to Stephen Drew, then got hot-hitting Justin Upton to foul out to first base, struck out NL strikeout leader Mark Reynolds and retired Parra on an easy fly to left field."It's unfortunate for us, because obviously we were in position to score more runs," Hinch said.
Rangers SS Omar Vizquel will likely play Thursday. He has 2,677 hits, tied with Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio for the all-time record for a native of Venezuela. ... Arizona CF Chris Young missed his fifth straight start with a groin injury. He pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out. ... Hinch said he plans to call NL manager Charlie Manuel this weekend to tout three Diamondbacks for All-Star consideration -- Haren, Upton and Reynolds.