Volquez learns lesson in loss to Tigers
Texas's bats scatter seven hits in seven innings off Verlander
DETROIT -- Edinson Volquez said he tries to learn something new in each of his starts.After giving up a homer to both Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez on Wednesday night against the Tigers, what did he learn? "Stay away from those guys," Volquez said with a smile. Sheffield's two-run homer in the first and Ordonez's three-run homer in the sixth were the only runs Volquez allowed, but were the difference in a 5-1 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park. "Their two through five hitters are four of the best in the game," manager Ron Washington said of the middle of the Tigers order. "You're very lucky to make it through those guys four times without any damage." They were the only members of the Tigers' lineup that did damage against Volquez on Wednesday. The rest of the Tigers hitters went 2-for-14 against the right-hander, who was making his third start of the season for the Rangers. "Magglio, Sheffield, [Carlos] Guillen, those guys are pretty good," Volquez said. The Rangers lineup has been pretty good lately as well during their recent 13-4 stretch. But Wednesday marked the second straight game the Rangers scored just one run. Tigers starter Justin Verlander was the biggest reason for the struggles on Wednesday. "[Verlander] has a great pace out there, that's for sure," Washington said of the two-hour, 14-minute game time. "He moved that game along." The Rangers didn't have many opportunities against Verlander, but wasted one of their best chances in the fourth. Michael Young led off with a walk and advanced to second on a Marlon Byrd single with no outs. With Murphy batting, a Verlander pitch skidded in the dirt behind Ivan Rodriguez. Young took a few steps toward third base, but then attempted to get back to second base. Rodriguez threw out Young, even after second baseman Placido Polanco nearly missed the tag because of some shifty work from Young. Young slid short of the bag, lifted up his left arm in a windmill motion, and nearly got it on the bag before Polanco applied the tag for the second out of the inning. "It cost us a run, but things like that happen," Washington said. "[Young] was being aggressive, but Pudge shot it out of a cannon behind him." David Murphy followed with a single off the right-field wall that would have scored Young, but instead kept the Rangers scoreless. Verlander struck out Gerald Laird to end the inning. Murphy, who was playing in front of about 10 family members, went 3-for-4 and delivered the Rangers only run of the game on a single in the sixth inning. Murphy's parents grew up in Detroit, though they later relocated to Texas. A majority of Murphy's family, including aunts and uncles, remained in the Detroit area and about 30 of them watched from a suite during the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader. Why only 10 on Wednesday after the large turnout Tuesday? "Everybody had stuff to do," Murphy said. "It's good to play well regardless, but it's good to play well in front of my family." Murphy also finished a single shy of the cycle in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader and finished 6-for-9 in his first two career games in Detroit. The Tigers responded with consecutive walks to lead off the sixth after Murphy's single cut the lead to 2-1. Volquez walked Polanco and Sheffield to lead off the next inning. "I was trying to stay away from him, I didn't want to see another home run like in the first inning," Volquez said of the Sheffield walk. Instead, Ordonez hit his 27th homer and 132nd RBI of the season for a 5-1 lead. Volquez struck out the next two batters, but allowed two singles before a diving catch by Byrd ended the inning.
"It was a good experience for him," Washington said of Volquez minimizing the damage in the sixth. "I think he'll respond well."Volquez struck out a career-high six on the night. "I made a lot of good pitches but missed two," Volquez said. "If I make those pitches, it might be a different story." Well, maybe that will be the next lesson.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.