Rangers fall to Tigers despite Young
Texas offense can't capitalize on starter's eight scoreless innings
ARLINGTON -- The development of Chris Young, Major League pitcher, continues.
Following the Rangers' 2-0 loss to the Tigers at Ameriquest Field in Arlington on Monday, Young could have made excuses.
He could have blamed the Texas offense for not scoring a single run in his eight scoreless innings pitched, thus wasting a golden opportunity for team victory No. 18 of the season.
One of the many things Young did after the loss was credit his defense and praise Francisco Cordero, the All-Star closer, who took the loss after allowing two runs in the ninth inning.
What he did during the game was command his fastball and mix his pitches. A triple to lead off the game did not rattle him. It merely gave him the opportunity to display his fortitude and composure.
Nobody scored in that first inning off Young and he would trade zeros with Tigers starter Nate Robertson for the seven that followed.
Nobody would have known Young had a game-long blister on a finger on his right (pitching) hand had Rangers manager Buck Showalter not mentioned it.
"There is a lesson that comes from every game, good or bad," Young said. "I thought I executed some pitches real well and Rod [Barajas] called a great game. I felt like everybody made great defensive plays for me tonight. It could have gone a different way if some of those plays are not made."
One of the lessons Monday was more of a reminder. Yes, All-Stars can blow it, too.
Tied at 0 in the ninth inning and Cordero on the mound, Tigers designated hitter Dmitri Young scored from first base on a triple by former Rangers outfielder Craig Monroe for a 1-0 lead. Monroe came home from third on a single yet another former Rangers player -- Carlos Pena -- for Detroit's final run.
Young reached base on a five-pitch walk off Cordero.
"Coco has been throwing well," Showalter said. "He got into counts and was put in situations that didn't work in his favor. He threw well and was unlucky. He made a lot of good pitches."
As good as Young was -- including Young, Rangers starters have pitched 22 consecutive scoreless innings during the last three games -- his team's defense nearly stole the spotlight.
Rangers outfielder Richard Hidalgo shined in the fourth inning with a nifty catch on a sinking line drive to right field off the bat of former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez with Brandon Inge on second base. Rondell White followed with a walk, but Young recovered to retired the next two batters in order.
The zeros on the scoreboard continued.
Tigers center fielder Nook Logan led off the sixth with a single, the second of his three hits on the night, but was caught attempting to steal second base on a perfect throw from Barajas.
Inge followed with a single, but like Logan, was caught trying to steal second on another outstanding throw by Barajas. The throw-out was significant because it ended the inning. Rodriguez struck out swinging on the play.
"[Young] has been doing an outstanding job for us," Barajas said. "The big thing for me is that he gets guys on base and takes it to another level. He's able to make quality pitches and not let guys advance. He'll keep leaving guys on base."
In the seventh, White led off the frame with a single, but never advanced past second. The next batter, Dmitri Young, followed with a sharp groundball that Hank Blalock speared moving to his left. He threw Young out at first base for the first out of the inning with one knee on the ground.
The next hitter, Monroe, smashed another groundball to Blalock. The third baseman fielded the ball cleanly and threw him out at first to keep White at second.
Blalock made another spectacular catch on a pop up by the next batter, Pena, near the railing in front of the Tigers' dugout for the final out of the seventh.
The stellar defense continued.
Mark Teixeira made an impressive swiping snag on throw from shortstop Michael Young for the first out in the eighth inning. Young fielded the Ramon Martinez groundball on the run near second base and bounced the throw to Teixeira.
For his part, Young allowed only one hit in another scoreless frame.
"He was the reason we were in the game," Showalter said. "He developed a blister but he battled through it. He has settled in after his first couple of starts.
The Tigers also shined with the defensive plays, not the least of which came in the bottom of the eighth inning when Rodriguez threw out pinch-runner Laynce Nix at third base on a bunt by Gary Matthews Jr. The bunt trickled only a few feet in front of home plate and Rodriguez fired to Inge, who was wandering near third base. Inge completed the play with the catch, a counter-clockwise pirouette, and the tag.
No Texas baserunner ever reached third base in the game.
"We need a firm bunt to third base. Gary is one of our better bunters," Showalter said. "They made a good aggressive play on the throw and the tag."
But in the end, the defense did not matter as much as the two Tigers runs did. The Rangers also had two runners on in the ninth inning.
"I'd give up six runs if we win the game," Chris Young said. "The bottom line is wins and losses, and we lost the game tonight. I am pleased with the way I pitched, but I'd rather win."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.