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05/06/07 12:36 AM ET
Padilla strong as Rangers down Jays
Righty goes seven innings to earn first win of season
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Vicente Padilla finally has his first victory and no longer has the worst run support in the American League. His teammates took care of both against a pitcher who had given them such fits just five days ago in Toronto. The Rangers pounded Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay for nine runs over 5 1/3 innings and went on to an 11-4 victory before 27,471 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday night. The Rangers have now won two straight. They had lost six straight starts for Padilla while averaging 2.57 runs for him. That was the lowest in the league until White Sox pitcher John Danks surpassed him earlier this week. But the Rangers scored six runs off Halladay in the third inning and Padilla did the rest, holding the Blue Jays to two runs on six hits in seven innings. "Padilla pitched a great game," said shortstop Michael Young, who had three hits, including a home run, and five RBIs. "We really fed off him tonight." Padilla walked one, struck out three and is now 1-4 with a 4.93 ERA. "I was a little more relaxed tonight," Padilla said. "I have been pitching good lately but tonight was a little better. The team backed me up at the plate." The Rangers finished the night with 15 hits, three times as many as they did against Halladay on Monday when he pitched a five-hit complete game against them. The Rangers have 26 hits in the past two games, which may be a sign that they are starting to come out of their early-season slump. "I hope so," said first baseman Mark Teixeira, who had two hits and thee RBI and is 7-for-15 in his last four games. "We have to if we're going to try and contend. We can't play like we did the first month of the season." The Rangers were also 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and are 11-for-21 in their last two games. They hit .231 with runners in scoring position in their previous 14 games. "What you guys are seeing is what you saw before I got here," manager Ron Washington said. "Now I'm just beginning to see it. Maybe it's beginning to fall into place. We don't have to beat up people to win, but if we can get consistent, I like what we have." If nothing else, the Rangers got a big break in the third inning, the kind they had been pining for over the past month. The Rangers trailed 1-0 going into the third inning but tied it up on three straight singles by Gerald Laird, Matt Kata and Kenny Lofton. Young then hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Troy Glaus' right. He tried to make a backhand stab and missed the ball completely. It could have been an inning-ending double play but instead it got past him for what was officially scored as a two-run double and a 3-1 lead for the Rangers. Manager Ron Washington said that in the first month of the season, "They make that play. Maybe our luck is changing." The inning quickly changed on Halladay. Teixeira singled home Young and, after taking second on the throw to the plate, scored on Hank Blalock's two-out single. Victor Diaz followed with a single and Brad Wilkerson doubled to give the Rangers a 6-1 lead. "If they get hot, they're a tough team to face," Halladay said. Kata, who had three hits on the night to raise his average to .387, singled with one out in the sixth to start a three-run rally against Halladay. Teixeira had the big hit in that inning with a two-run double. "Last time, Halladay left very few balls over the plate," Kata said. "This time, he left a few more pitches over the plate; we put good wood on them and did things with them. More than anything, when you face a guy of that caliber, the few mistakes he does make, you have to take advantage of them." The six-run third inning was the biggest against Halladay since April 25, 2002, when the Rangers scored seven off him in an 11-9 victory in Arlington. The nine earned runs matched the second-worst start of Halladay's career. He gave up 11 in his eighth big-league start back on April 29, 1999 against the Angels.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.