Rangers break out, back Feldman in victory

Rangers break out, back Feldman in victory

Rangers break out, back Feldman in victory
ARLINGTON -- On the same day the Rangers lost one of their best starting pitchers for the rest of the season, they may have found one to replace him.

Scott Feldman, in what may have been his unofficial audition to take over for Colby Lewis in the Rangers' rotation, turned in his best performance of the season, holding the Red Sox to one run on seven hits over seven innings in a 9-1 victory Monday at the Ballpark in Arlington.

The Rangers announced Monday that Lewis needs surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. In his longest outing in more than two years, Feldman threw a season-high 105 pitches, 66 for strikes.

"We're looking at a lot of guys for [Lewis'] spot," manager Ron Washington said. "We're very fortunate that we have a veteran like him, that, when an opportunity presents itself, he can go out there and keep us in the ballgame. Tonight, he gave us one run in seven innings. That was really big, especially the way we're starting to lose pitching."

The Rangers, who scored more than four runs in just two of their previous 15 games, pushed four runs across in the third inning and five in the sixth. Entering Monday, the Rangers had scored a Major League-worst 47 runs this month.

One pitch after Craig Gentry -- who led the third inning off with an infield single -- and Ian Kinsler pulled off a double steal, Elvis Andrus hit a chopper up the middle. Dustin Pedroia backhanded it, but his throw to Adrian Gonzalez went over the first baseman's head, and Gentry and Kinsler scored to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

"Craig was trying to get to third, it seemed, for the whole at-bat," Kinsler said. "When you get a double steal, it kind of changes the whole inning. First and second is a lot different than second and third to a pitcher and a hitter. When Craig was able to do that, it definitely helped us."

Josh Hamilton, batting .111 over his previous 12 games, brought Andrus home with an RBI double down the left-field line, and Michael Young added an RBI single to extend the Rangers' lead to 4-1. Hamilton drove in Kinsler with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, giving him a Major League-leading 80 RBIs this year.

"We were very pleased," Washington said of his offense. "We did a good job of staying inside the baseball and keeping the ball in the big part of the field. That was big. That was huge what Kinsler and Gentry pulled off on that double steal. Elvis put the ball in play, his speed forces quickness by the infielder. From that point on, we just took it over."

That was more than enough run support for Feldman, who was making his 11th start of the season while filling in for the injured Roy Oswalt, who was scratched with back stiffness. Feldman, pitching on more than two weeks of rest, struck out five without walking a batter and retired 12 of the last 15 hitters he faced. After going 0-6 with a 6.50 ERA in his first 12 appearances, Feldman is 4-0 with a 3.81 ERA in his last five.

"My mechanics felt pretty good," Feldman said. "[Catcher Mike] Napoli would throw something down, and I would try to have confidence in it and execute it and keep the ball down. I just try to go about it the same way."

"He had a good cutter, was pitching the cutter away, came up with a sinker in the middle innings and threw pretty hard," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "His curveball was pretty effective. He threw a couple of pitches out of the zone that he got us to swing at in big situations."

Napoli, batting .182 in his previous 29 games before Monday, provided the Rangers with a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning with his 15th home run of the year, a two-run shot that sailed 416 feet over the left-field fence. It marked his fourth home run in three games against the Red Sox this year.

"I'm feeling better," Napoli said. "Players have teams that they hit well against. It just happens that I hit kind of good against [the Red Sox]. I try to do the same thing every game."

It was also the first of four consecutive hits for the Rangers, who followed with a double from Brandon Snyder and two singles by Gentry and Kinsler, whose base hit rolled past the glove of left fielder Carl Crawford and all the way to the wall, allowing Gentry to score and Kinsler to reach third.

The Rangers had an attendance of 44,132 Monday night, giving them a season total of 2,006,489 in 46 home games this year. That's the fastest the Rangers have gotten to an attendance mark of 2 million in club history.

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.