© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
06/09/07 12:41 AM ET
Rangers relentless in pursuit of win
Teixeira leaves the game late with a sore quad
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington talked before Friday's game with the Milwaukee Brewers about possible internal strife that might be created on a team that has the worst record in baseball. If the Rangers have it, Washington wasn't admitting to it. "I don't sense tension," Washington said. "I sense an urgency to get this thing turned around. Nobody is happy about where we're at. But there's not much you can do when you're down four or five runs in the third inning. Nobody likes that." Washington was suggesting that good starting pitching can relieve much tension and frustration, and Robinson Tejeda provided just that for much of the evening on Friday. A bad seventh inning cost him an official "quality start," but the first six innings were more than quality, and the Rangers were able to hold on for a 9-6 victory over the Brewers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Tejeda held the Brewers to one run over six innings and earned only the second victory by a Rangers starter in their last 16 games. Rangers starters were 1-10 with a 10.69 ERA in their previous 15 outings before Tejeda took the mound on Friday. "That's the sort of outing we need from Roby and we'd like to have that from everybody else, too," Washington said. "He did a good job, he just ran into trouble with two out in the seventh when he started getting his pitches up. Other than that, he did an excellent job." First baseman Mark Teixeira drove in three runs with a single and a double before leaving the game after six innings with a sore quadriceps muscle. The Rangers led 7-1 at the time. Teixeira, who has played in 507 consecutive games, is expected to be in the lineup in Saturday. "He was trying to beat out a grounder and on that last step, he strained his quad," Washington said. "Right now, he'll be re-evaluated [Saturday] and see where he stands." Sammy Sosa, Michael Young and Marlon Byrd all had three-hit nights and Ian Kinsler hit his 11th home run of the season, although just his second since the end of April. The Rangers are now 16-2 when they score seven or more runs. "I think when Robbie came out throwing strikes, the batters carried the momentum from there," catcher Chris Stewart said. "It was a simple game plan: get him to throw strikes." Tejeda held the Brewers to one run on four hits through six innings while striking out seven and his offensive teammates staked him to a 7-1 lead. "He pounded the strike zone and used all his pitches," Washington said. "He used all of his pitches, changed speeds and moved his fastball around." The strange thing is the starting rotation's ERA still went up simply because of what happened in the seventh inning. Tejeda gave up five runs in the inning, four coming after two were out. Corey Hart and Ryan Braun both hit a pair of two-run, two-out home runs off Tejeda, who left having given up six runs in 6 2/3 innings. "I felt great," Tejeda said. "In the seventh inning, I just felt a little tired and I had a little blister on my finger that was bothering me. I was trying to get through the inning with just the fastball." He is now 5-6 with a 6.47 ERA on the season and the rotation ERA is now 7.00. But for once the Rangers don't have to agonize over that, not after C.J. Wilson, Akinori Otsuka and Eric Gagne combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings. "I still feel very happy," Tejeda said. "It was still a very good game besides one inning and a couple of pitches. But I feel good because we got the win. That's what we needed." Good starting pitching can ease much tension and frustration.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.