ARLINGTON -- When the Rangers took a 7-5 lead in the sixth inning of Thursday's series finale against the Yankees, it was Michael Kirkman who was charged with protecting it. And when the Blue Jays, trailing the Rangers, 2-1, loaded the bases in the seventh inning on Saturday, it was Kirkman who was sent in to get out of the jam.Kirkman came through on both occasions, not giving up a run in an inning of work in Thursday's 7-6 win and retiring the only two batters he faced in Saturday's 2-1 victory, leaving the bases loaded in that crucial seventh inning. He has not allowed a run in two weeks, tossing five scoreless innings in his last five outings. "He's throwing strikes," manager Ron Washington said. "It's never been Michael Kirkman's stuff. It's just been whether or not he can consistently throw the ball over the plate."
With Dempster reinstated, Rangers option Martin
ARLINGTON -- Ryan Dempster was reinstated from the restricted list on Monday after missing last week's series against the Blue Jays, and Leonys Martin was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.Dempster made his fourth start since being traded to the Rangers on July 31 in Monday's series opener after missing his scheduled start last Saturday. Roy Oswalt filled in for Dempster, holding the Blue Jays to one run on two hits over 4 2/3 innings in a 2-1 win. It was Oswalt's first outing in a week and first start since Aug. 2. Oswalt will return to the bullpen and get the next couple days off. The Rangers have 39 players on their 40-man roster and are working with a 13-man pitching staff, leaving manager Ron Washington with only three position players on his bench. "I'm trying to get used to it," Washington said. "Right now, we're going to try to ride this out, because removing somebody from that bullpen -- they're all doing the job, so we're going to try to ride it a little bit. ... Don't worry about what you don't have. Worry about you do have." Martin, who was called up from Round Rock when Dempster was placed on the restricted list for personal reasons last Friday, had two plate appearances during his most recent stint. He struck out in the eighth inning of Saturday's victory and walked in the eighth inning of Sunday's win.
Young's breakout game encouraging to Texas
ARLINGTON -- Before Sunday, it had been more than three months since Michael Young had homered and more than two years since he had five RBIs in a game.But Young did both in a 11-2 win in Sunday's series finale, going 3-for-5 with his first homer since May 7 and a double, marking the first time he had multiple extra-base hits in a game since April 15. He also snapped a career-long 88-game homerless drought spanning 349 at-bats, and he drove in a run for the first time in 12 games. "That was awesome," Josh Hamilton said. "Michael is the type of player that, at any moment, can turn it around pretty quick. It was exciting to see him hit the ball well and make solid contact, square the ball up and have fun." A seven-time All-Star, Young is one of 11 players with 100 hits in each of the last 11 seasons. He has 127 this year, fourth-most on the team, and is batting .272 with four homers and 50 RBIs in 117 games this season. "For me, my biggest strengths as a hitter are my hands and my bat speed," Young said. "Sometimes you put too much body into it. It's an adjustment I've been working on over the past couple weeks. It'll be something I'll continue to work on."
Texas skipper Washington receives Lacy Award
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was given the Sam Lacy Pioneer Award before Monday's series opener against the Orioles by the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force.The organization's highest honor, the award is named after Baseball Hall of Fame sportswriter Sam Lacy, and recognizes excellence in sports. It was presented to Washington by NABJ Task Force chair Marc Spears and Morehouse College Journalism and Sports Program director Ron Thomas, who also serves as the Lacy Pioneer award program's co-chair. Past recipients of the Sam Lacy Pioneer Award include former Grambling State football coach Eddie Robinson and Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson. "Pioneers set precedents, and Ron Washington certainly has done that as the Texas Rangers' most successful manger," Thomas said. "He has proven himself worthy of an award named after Lacy, a determined black sports columnist who was instrumental in Jackie Robinson integrating Major League baseball." Washington batted .261 over 10 seasons in the Major Leagues. He was an assistant with the A's for 11 years and is in his sixth season as the Rangers' manager, leading the team to its only two World Series appearances in franchise history. With three more victories, Washington would become the third manager in Rangers history to win 500 games, joining Johnny Oates (506) and Bobby Valentine (581).
Double-A Frisco third baseman Tommy Mendonca was named Texas League Player of the Week on Monday while teammate Nick Tepesch was named Pitcher of the Week. Medonca batted .533 with two homers and six RBIs last week. Tepesch allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings in a victory over Tulsa last Friday.
Colby Lewis began treatment Monday as he recovers from the Tommy John surgery he had last month to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. He was 6-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts before his season ended.
There is no timetable for Mike Napoli's return to the Rangers' lineup. He was placed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring Aug. 11 and took batting practice on the field before Monday's game against the Orioles.
Class A Spokane third baseman Joey Gallo went 3-for-5 with two homers and seven RBIs in a 16-4 win over Tri-City on Sunday, including a grand slam in the eighth inning. The 39th overall pick in this year's Draft, Gallo has 20 home runs since his pro debut June 20, the most of any player in baseball over that period of time.
Triple-A shortstop Luis Hernandez extended his hit streak to 15 games on Sunday, while Spokane outfielder Royce Bolinger extended his to 20 games.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.