Texas blasts possible trade target Oswalt
Led by Hamilton, Rangers knock Houston ace out in fifth
ARLINGTON -- Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt, who asked to be traded in May amidst the Astros' struggles this season, pitched against one of his possible suitors Sunday night in the Rangers.But the outing was one he soon would like to forget.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
The Rangers roughed up Oswalt for eight runs in just 4 2/3 innings on their way to a 10-1 win at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the club's 13th win in the past 14 games.The Rangers have reportedly expressed interest in adding another starting pitcher, and Oswalt has seemingly been at the top of the list. And looking at the numbers of his start Sunday night, he might want to pitch for the Rangers instead of against them. The Rangers scored in all but one inning against Oswalt en route to his sixth loss against Texas in 12 starts. "We battled Oswalt," manager Ron Washington said. "We got him out of there before he could finish five. We got his pitch count up in the heat. But even though we got him up to 100 [pitches] through 4 2/3, he still looked like he had something left." The Rangers got on the board in the second inning when Vladimir Guerrero led off with a double before scoring on Josh Hamilton's two-run home run to right field. The homer, the second longest in the history of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington at 468 feet, extended Hamilton's hitting streak to a career-high 21 games, seven off the Rangers record. "I think the biggest thing is making a pitcher throw strikes," Hamilton said. "[Oswalt] wasn't really having control problems, but he was nibbling a little bit more than he normally does. We laid off those, the guys battled and [I] got a good pitch to hit and got it done." The Rangers added two more runs in the third, as Michael Young tallied a solo home run to left and Ian Kinsler scored on third baseman Chris Johnson's fielding error. Oswalt gave up another run in the fourth -- pushing the lead to 5-0 -- on Elvis Andrus' bloop single to left, scoring Matt Treanor, who reached on a double. Texas followed with a three-run fifth. After fouling off five consecutive pitches, Treanor drilled a pitch into center field for a two-run single after Oswalt had issued consecutive two-out walks to Nelson Cruz and Justin Smoak. That marked the end for Oswalt. Reliever Chris Sampson replaced him amd promptly gave up an RBI single to Julio Borbon, although the run was credited to Oswalt. Oswalt gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts and gave up at least one run in four of the five innings he pitched. "Just kind of missed my spots pretty much and threw it over the middle of the plate," Oswalt said. "It doesn't matter really who you throw to. You throw it over the middle of the plate, you're going to get hit. They're a pretty good offensive club, but if you miss over the plate it doesn't matter if you're throwing against a Double-A team, you're going to get hit." It was a far different performance for a pitcher already wearing a Rangers uniform. Right-hander Tommy Hunter picked up his fourth win after allowing only one run on five hits in six innings. He struck out two and walked one. "He's unbelievable, he's great," Hunter said of Oswalt. "His numbers prove that. The win-loss doesn't, but he's an unbelievable pitcher. To go out and compete against someone like that is always fun." For Hunter, it was his fourth quality start in five opportunities, with the lone exception being his injury-shortened start June 14 against the Marlins. But Hunter doesn't credit that as much to himself as he does to his offense. "That's our game plan as starters -- get these guys in the dugout as quickly as possible," Hunter said. "It's only a matter of time before these guys put up runs. "The game plan pretty much stays the same no matter who is on the other side. These guys are still going to hit."
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.