Hurley stifles Phils for first career win
Righty supported by fellow first-year players Davis, Ramirez
ARLINGTON -- Eric Hurley had waited a long time for this moment, and he had plenty of help in finally nailing it down.Chris Davis had another home run, his outfielders were racing everywhere to run down balls, the relievers that followed were flawless, Ian Kinsler continued his rampage at the plate and his rookie catcher again received rave reviews for his work behind the plate. The Rangers played pretty much a complete game on Sunday evening and Hurley benefited from all, earning his first Major League victory with a 5-1 victory over the Phillies at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
"This means a lot," Hurley said after throwing 105 pitches over 5 2/3 innings. "It's the first win ... hopefully there will be a lot more of them. ... I don't know how to describe it."Hurley allowed just one run on five hits in his fourth Major League start, then Jamey Wright, Eddie Guardado and C.J. Wilson allowed just one baserunner on an error by Kinsler over 3 1/3 innings to give the Rangers their second victory in three games over the National League East-leading Phillies. The Rangers also finished 10-8 against the National League this season, just the fifth time in 12 years they have had a winning record in Interleague Play. "This was certainly one we wanted and certainly need Hurley to give us the opportunity to win, and he did just that," manager Ron Washington said. "He was good. In the fifth inning, he started laboring, but other than that, he used both sides of the plate and he used his offspeed pitches when he was behind in the count. He really pitched against a pretty good lineup." Hurley and the relievers seemed once again to work well with Ramirez, who was making just his second Major League start behind the plate. Ramirez may supposedly be unrefined behind the plate, but his pitchers are 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA with him as their catcher, and he threw out Shane Victorino trying to steal in the first inning. "Max did an unbelievable job behind the plate," Kinsler said. "Eric threw the ball right where he wanted it, he threw out Victorino easily, he did a great job." Davis was making his second start at first base and he created a bit of Rangers trivia with his home run off Phillies starter Jamie Moyer in the second inning. Davis, who had a home run on Friday night, is the first Rangers player to hit a home run in each of the first two games he's started in the big leagues. A home run a game is not bad. "Don't hold me to that," Davis said. "I was just trying to see the ball good. Moyer has been around a long time and he knows how to pitch. I got down two strikes, saw the ball over the plate, made contact and it crawled over the outfield wall." Moyer made his Major League debut on June 16, 1986, just two months after Davis was born. At age 45 and 224 days, he is the second oldest pitcher to start a game against the Rangers. Hall of Famer Phil Niekro was 48. But the three kids that did him in on Sunday were all in the Minor Leagues less than three weeks ago. Now they are having an impact. "They're picking it up," center fielder Marlon Byrd said. "They're ready. They came up with a purpose, not just to get their feet wet. This is not a rebuilding phase, these guys are capable." The veterans didn't do too badly on Sunday, either. Kinsler extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games by going 3-for-4 and is the 16th Ranger in history to have three straight three-hit games. He also scored another run to give him a league-leading 71 on the season. "I don't want to toot my own horn, but I'm swinging the bat pretty good," Kinsler said. Josh Hamilton, starting at designated hitter, was 2-for-4 with an RBI single and now has a league-leading 79 on the season. Washington started him at DH to give him a semi-day of rest and those that started in the field were kept busy. Hurley is a fly ball pitcher and his outfielders ran down 11 fly balls for putouts on Sunday. They normally average 2.31 putouts per nine innings. Bradley had seven in right, including a terrific diving catch on a line drive by Pedro Feliz to start the seventh. "This outfield is amazing," Hurley said. "Not much goes up in the air they don't catch. If the ball gets hit in the air, there's a pretty good chance it's going to get caught."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.