Oswalt wins impressive debut with Rangers

Oswalt wins impressive debut with Rangers

Oswalt wins impressive debut with Rangers
ARLINGTON -- The last pitch thrown by Rangers starter Roy Oswalt on Friday night was an 0-2 sinker that Marco Scutaro ripped into the gap in right-center for a run-scoring double in the seventh inning.

It was third hit of the night allowed by Oswalt on an 0-2 pitch, and he wasn't happy about it.

"I hate to give up hits on 0-2 pitches," Oswalt said.

That will give him something to work on before his second start for Texas. Otherwise, just about everybody else was thrilled or impressed with his first start for the Rangers in pitching them to a 4-1 victory over the Rockies at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"He was great ... having Roy Oswalt is a huge shot in the arm for our team," said infielder Michael Young after the Rangers won their seventh straight game.

"It was good," designated hitter Adrian Beltre said. "We expect him to be good, but he was spectacular tonight."

Oswalt, who signed with Texas on May 29 as a free agent and had made four starts in the Minors, allowed one run on nine hits and one walk while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings. Oswalt, who threw 110 pitches -- including 81 for strikes -- was making his first start in a Major League game since pitching for the Phillies against the Cardinals in the 2011 NL Division Series.

"I thought Roy Oswalt's performance was outstanding," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He was around the plate with his fastball, he had a good changeup working, a good breaking ball and he kept the defense engaged. For the most part, he kept the ball down. He did an outstanding job. He was ready."

Oswalt, despite the 0-2 hits, walked away feeling pretty good about what transpired in his first start for his new team.

"My command felt pretty good," Oswalt said. "I was able to keep the ball down in the zone. The command of all my pitches was there. If I can keep this kind of command all year, I'll be happy."

The Rangers have won 11 of their last 13, all against NL teams. During that stretch, their starters are 9-2 with 1.98 ERA, even though they have had to put two of them -- Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando -- on the disabled list.

"The pitching's been great," Young said. "You pitch well, you win. Simple as that. We're playing good defense behind them. We're finding ways to execute offensively. We still haven't really broken through offensively as a team, but at the same time we're playing good D and we're winning. It comes down to pitching. We're pitching well. We're finding ways to hold other teams down and the runs that we do score are holding up."

Texas drew 46,964 fans for Oswalt's debut. It was the 21st sellout of the season, tying the club record set in 1994. The crowd gave Oswalt a standing ovation when he left the game with two outs in the seventh after giving up the RBI double to Scutaro. Robbie Ross took over and got Carlos Gonzalez to ground out to end the inning.

"I wouldn't say I wasn't nervous," Oswalt said. "If you lose the butterflies, you need to stop playing. The biggest thing is I got here early and I had to sit around awhile, but once you get on the field, you calm down and you do your job."

The Rockies entered the game ranked third in hitting in the NL with a .263 team batting average, but that was skewed because of how well they hit at Coors Field. They have a .289 batting average at home, but entered Friday with a .231 average on the road, the third lowest in the NL. The Rockies are also without All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who underwent surgery on his left groin earlier this week and is sidelined for two months.

Oswalt took advantage of all that, and his outing on Friday night left him 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rockies.

"He was really good tonight, I'll tell you that, and he was making pitches," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "He was making quality pitches. He was painting the pitches. It was a really good command game for him, no question about that. He resembled pretty much the Roy Oswalt that I've seen over the last couple of years, from the standpoint of his velocity."

Beltre gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run home run off Rockies left-handed starter Christian Friedrich. Beltre, batting after Josh Hamilton drew a two-out walk, fell behind 0-2 and worked it full before hitting a fastball just over the right-field fence.

Texas added two more in the fourth, with the last one coming on Mike Napoli's 12th home run. But he was just 2-for-30 before going deep to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.