ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers pitcher Wandy Rodriguez set a club record by retiring 34 straight hitters over two games. The record came against the Rays on Sunday as Rodriguez retired the first 15 hitters he faced.
The streak ended when Tim Beckham led off the sixth with a line-drive single just beyond the glove of third baseman Adrian Beltre. Rodriguez ended up going six innings and received a no-decision as the Rangers earned a 2-1 win at Tropicana Field.
Rodriguez pitched much of the day with pain in his lower back that almost forced him out of the game in the third inning.
"Just a gutsy performer by a veteran pitcher," manager Jeff Banister said. "He has been through battles before, that's why we went out and got him. He is a guy I've seen pitch through a lot of different things. When he is on, he is really good."
The streak started on Tuesday in Houston when Rodriguez retired the last 19 batters he faced in a 7-1 victory over the Astros. Rodriguez retired the side in order in the first and second innings on Sunday, putting the streak at 25.
In the third inning, Rodriguez seemed to hurt himself on the third pitch to Beckham leading off the inning. Rodriguez was seen grabbing his back, causing a medical convention on the mound that included trainer Kevin Harmon, pitching coach Mike Maddux, Banister and home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook.
"When I tried to make a pitch, I was out of position," Rodriguez said. "That was the problem."
Rodriguez went through an extensive series of stretching exercises, plus eight warmup pitches, before declaring himself ready. His fourth pitch was a ball, running the count to 3-1. But Rodriguez came back with a strike and then got Beckham on a fly ball to center.
Rodriguez finished the inning by getting Kevin Kiermaier on a flyout to left and Rene Rivera on a popout. That tied Rodriguez with the 28 in a row that Kenny Rogers retired in 1994, including his perfect game against the Angels.
When Rodriguez retired the side in order in the fourth, it tied him with Ken Hill for the previous mark of 31 set in '96. Rodriguez set the record by striking out Logan Forsythe to start the fifth.
"I wasn't thinking about anything except making pitches," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez then struck out Joey Butler on a 2-2 curve. Estabrook ruled that Butler went around on a check swing. Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton was ejected from the dugout and manager Kevin Cash was also tossed after going out to express his feelings on the subject. Rodriguez finished the fifth by striking out Asdrubal Cabrera.
The left-hander's day ended after six innings. The Rays scored a run off him but shortstop Elvis Andrus, with the bases loaded, turned a diving catch into an inning-ending double play.
After the game, Rodriguez was still feeling pain in the back.
"It's not as bad as it was before," Rodriguez said.