One for history: Padilla powers Rangers
Three homers support remarkable start by right-hander
CHICAGO -- It all came together at the end of a seven-day, seven-game road trip.
Vicente Padilla made history, becoming the first pitcher in Rangers history to allow one hit in back-to-back starts. Hank Blalock backed him up with two solo homers, and the Rangers left Chicago as a first-place team after Sunday's 7-1 victory over the White Sox.
Padilla allowed just the one hit over seven strong innings. The right-hander walked four, and a wild pitch led to one run, but that was all the White Sox could generate. Last week, Padilla gave up one hit over eight frames in Seattle. With this stretch, he has lowered his ERA from 7.43 to 4.97.
"[Maybe] three starts ago there were questions about his velocity -- and the thing about Padilla, you don't know if that's by design or if that's him," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He can pitch. He can manipulate the baseball. He can do some good things. It just took him a while to get going."
As Blalock said, "Hats off to Vicente -- he threw a great game today, [and] he's been a horse out there."
The Rangers (17-14) jumped on Bartolo Colon, who had earned a victory in 12 straight starts against Texas, a streak that ended abruptly. The right-hander unraveled in a fifth inning that started with a solo shot from Chris Davis.
The Rangers then began manufacturing runs. Elvis Andrus singled to center, and Ian Kinsler bunted for a hit. Omar Vizquel next lined an RBI double down the right-field line, making it 3-1. Colon later walked in a run, ending his outing. David Murphy added an infield single off White Sox reliever Clayton Richard to push the lead to 5-1.
"Those guys grind it out, man, especially those at-bats in the fifth inning against Colon," Washington said. "[We] had a couple walks there, and then we chopped some balls and we made some things happen, which is what you have to do."
The previous night, White Sox closer Bobby Jenks buzzed a fastball behind Kinsler in the ninth inning of a one-run game. Both teams received warnings, and Jenks bragged about sending a message after the game.
The Rangers had hit White Sox batters six times in the previous four games, and this was the final regular-season meeting between the two teams, but nobody reached a boiling point. Everyone remained on their best behavior on Mother's Day.
The White Sox (14-16), indeed, were quiet on Sunday, managing only two hits all afternoon.
"I was keeping [my pitches] low, and they were swinging at it," Padilla said through an interpreter. "My fastball was moving a lot."
Meanwhile, Blalock submitted the seventh multihomer game in his career and his first since April 11, 2006. With the victory, the Rangers completed a 5-2 road trip through Seattle, Oakland and Chicago.
"Winning five out of seven for us is big, especially staying in first place," Blalock said. "We got a deserving off-day tomorrow, and we'll get them on Tuesday."
Patrick Mooney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.