ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- John Rheinecker had allowed 37 hits over
his previous four starts, and he knew he had to make some
adjustments if he expected to pitch deep into the game against the
hot-hitting Toronto Blue Jays.
The rookie left-hander threw seven strong innings and Mark
DeRosa had three hits and three RBI to lead the Texas Rangers to a
6-1 victory Monday night.
Rheinecker (4-2) gave up one run and five hits, struck out three
and walked one for the Rangers, who had lost seven of eight.
Rheinecker had won only one of his previous four starts, and the
Rangers wanted him to slow down his delivery while decreasing the
time between pitches.
"The important thing was staying within myself, not trying to
throw too hard and letting the ball move," Rheinecker said.
Toronto started the day leading the majors in batting average
(.297), slugging percentage (.488), hits and total bases, making
the Blue Jays quite a challenge for a rookie facing them for the
The Blue Jays began the night hitting .321 against left-handers
and they had 10 or more hits in each of their previous five games.
"When you look down their offensive numbers, that makes his
outing even more remarkable," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
Right-handed hitters had a .383 average against Rheinecker at
the start of the night, and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons had
seven right-handed bats in his lineup.
Rheinecker, who allowed five runs in four innings of his
previous start, worked inside against the right-handed batters.
"I stayed in on a lot of guys this time," Rheinecker said.
Ted Lilly (8-8) nearly matched Rheinecker, allowing two runs and
five hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked three.
"We're trying to catch Boston," Lilly said. "We've got to go
out and win every night. As a starting pitcher, you've got to take
DeRosa, inserted into the starting lineup to give regular third
baseman Hank Blalock a night off, led off the sixth with his fourth
homer on a changeup by Lilly that caught too much of the plate to
give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
"I'm not going to sleep as well as I'd like to because of
that," Lilly said. "A changeup out over the plate in that
situation, I don't think I needed to throw a strike right there."
Texas, which had scored 14 runs in its previous seven games,
pushed across a run in the second on Jason Botts' sacrifice fly.
Rheinecker shut out the Blue Jays over the first five innings,
allowing one hit.
After Troy Glaus was retired on a pop-up, Johnson scored the
tying run on Shea Hillenbrand's fielder's choice. Rheinecker got
out of the inning with the score tied at 1 when Bengie Molina
"The key was that sixth inning," Gibbons said.
The Blue Jays usually feast on fastballs, and they were unable
to string together good at-bats against a soft-throwing lefty.
"Those finesse guys give us trouble," Gibbons said. "He's
good. He's been struggling lately, but he was on tonight."
Young made it 6-1 in the eighth when he drove in a run with his
major league-leading 30th double.
Rheinecker was making his eighth career start, all this
season. He has a 1.57 ERA and a run support average of 6.91 in his
four wins. ... The Blue Jays opened a seven-game road trip after a
6-3 homestand. Toronto had won five of its previous six. ... Glaus
got his eighth start of the season at SS. He has started 65 of 76
games at 3B, but Gibbons wanted to get Hillenbrand's bat into the
lineup. ... The Rangers have won seven of their last eight against
the Blue Jays.