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Rookies shine in rout, as Rangers win seventh straight

Bonilla holds Halos hitless through four, earns second big league win

Rookies shine in rout, as Rangers win seventh straight play video for Rookies shine in rout, as Rangers win seventh straight

ANAHEIM -- The Angels were able to wrap up the AL West title early this week, fortuitous timing considering baseball's hottest team just came to town.

That would be the Rangers, and they extended their winning streak to seven games with a 12-3 victory over the Angels on Friday night. Lisalverto Bonilla earned his second victory in his second Major League start, holding the Angels to two runs in five innings.

"We're just rolling right now," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We're not really thinking, we're just going out there and playing good baseball and being aggressive. When we do that, we usually win. That's the way we're playing right now."

The Angels, who had won 12 of their last 13 against the Rangers, may have the division title wrapped up but they still want home-field advantage guaranteed for the ALCS and they had their full lineup in the game Friday with the exception of injured outfielder Josh Hamilton.

They also had left-hander Hector Santiago on the mound and he was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five outings against the Rangers this season.

The Rangers lineup wasn't quite as inexperienced as usual. They have started as many as six rookies in a game but had just four in the lineup along with the one on the mound. But, once again, the rookies were particularly destructive as Jake Smolinski, Ryan Rua, Rougned Odor and Daniel Robertson were a combined 8-for-18 with six runs scored and five RBI.

"We're playing good baseball and we're playing together as a team," Robertson said. "We still have a great group of guys and we come to the field expecting to win every day and expecting to play well. If it ends up as seven in a row, so be it."

Leonys Martin got the Rangers started in the first. He led off with a single, stole second, went to third on Andrus' slow grounder and scored on a single by Adam Rosales.

After Adrian Beltre flied out, Smolinski smashed a two-run home run to left-center. It's his second home run in four games after being activated off the disabled list Tuesday. Smolinski missed six weeks with a fractured bone in his left foot and hadn't played since July 21.

Rua, Odor and Robertson opened the second with consecutive singles to make it 4-0. With runners on first and second, Martin dropped a bunt that he beat out while Santiago threw the ball over first baseman Albert Pujols' head. A run scored while the Rangers were left with runners at second and third. After Vinnie Pestano took over in relief for the Angels, a wild pitch scored one run and Andrus' sacrifice fly gave the Rangers a seven-run lead.

The Rangers kept scoring all night and have scored six or more runs in five straight games. The last time that happened was Aug. 12-16, 2011. The Rangers have also had 10-plus hits in five straight games and are hitting .320 during the winning streak. Their pitchers have a 1.86 ERA during the streak, including 2.09 from the starters.

"They are excited about being out there and they are having fun," manager Tim Bogar said. "They have a little cohesiveness and they are feeding off each other. It helps to get great starting pitching and that's what we've been getting lately."

Bonilla did not allow a hit through four innings. That ended when David Freese led off the fifth with a double and Brennan Boesch hit a two-run home run. That was all the Angels got off Bonilla, who walked four and struck out four while throwing 85 pitches.

"He was little erratic but effectively wild," Bogar said. "You can do that when you're not giving up hits. The [Angels] lineup is pretty impressive so he might have been trying to be a little more fine and do too much rather than getting the ball over the plate."

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.

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Lewis initiates contract talks with Rangers

Lewis initiates contract talks with Rangers play video for Lewis initiates contract talks with Rangers

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers' two most prominent free agents this winter will be outfielder Alex Rios and pitcher Colby Lewis.

The Rangers are not expected to pick up their $14 million option on Rios for 2015. But they have already had informal conversations with Lewis about re-signing with the Rangers in 2015.

"I initiated it," Lewis said.

Lewis said he broached the subject with general manager Jon Daniels.

"He gave me a maybe yes," Lewis said.

Daniels said the Rangers expect to have more serious discussions with Lewis after the season. Lewis missed 18 months because of hip replacement and flexor tendon surgery but has shown that he is close to being the pitcher he was in 2010-11. He 10-13 with a 5.12 ERA in 27 starts this season but 4-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break. He has two more starts: Saturday against the Angels and Thursday against the Athletics.

"I'm hoping they will put together some kind of offer that will make me want to come back," Lewis said.

The Rangers are going into the off-season looking for starting pitching, which is one reason they are expected to decline the option on Rios. The Rangers would like to re-sign Lewis and bring in at least one more veteran starter for depth.

Rios, who is sidelined with a bruised right thumb, has likely played his last game for the Rangers although he is still attempting to swing a bat. If the thumb feels 100 percent, he will try to play in the final week.

"I'm more concerned about my health," Rios said. "I want it to heal completely and I'm going to stick to that approach."

Rios has been bothered by the thumb and a sprained right ankle for much of the second half, which is why his numbers have fallen off since the All-Star break. He hit .305 with a .440 slugging percentage before the break and .211 with a .281 slugging percentage since then. His last home run was on July 6. He is tied for third in the league with eight triples but hasn't hit one since July 6.

"I'm not worried about the power numbers," Rios said. "I'm not a home run hitter but I can drive the ball. I think people know what I'm capable of bringing to the table."

Rangers manager Tim Bogar said Rios was having a "pretty decent season" before the injuries started limiting him.

"Everybody looks at Alex and says he should be driving the ball and hitting home runs," Bogar said. "But he was hitting for average, hitting in the middle of our lineup and helping out [Adrian] Beltre. He was doing the things he needed to be doing. He stayed out there [playing] longer than he should have with the thumb and that says a lot about Alex.

"I don't think it's fair to say Alex has to carry a team with power. There is more to Alex than that. I believe Alex can still drive the baseball once his physical ailments heal. The power is still there. He had to do some different things to protect himself with the thumb and ankle. But if you watch in batting practice, it's still there."

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.

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Lewis hopes to keep Rangers' winning streak alive

Rangers counter with Lewis as they try to extend winning streak

Lewis hopes to keep Rangers' winning streak alive play video for Lewis hopes to keep Rangers' winning streak alive

With the American League West title already in hand, the Angels have now turned their focus to securing the AL's best record -- but not at the risk of tiring out regulars.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia sat his normal starters Thursday against Seattle but returned them to the lineup Friday. He said they would play the rest of the season as the Angels try to lock down the league's best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Angels lead Baltimore by 2 1/2 games for the AL's best record, which would also guarantee the Halos hosting the AL Wild Card winner.

"There's probably a larger weight on how you're playing as opposed to home field, but if you have your druthers, of course you'd rather have home-field advantage," Scioscia said. "It's just a matter of weighing where your players are."

Scioscia gave Jered Weaver an extra two days of rest before his start Saturday against Texas. Weaver was supposed to start Thursday, and was scratched in favor of Wade LeBlanc, in order to line up Weaver to start Game 1 of the ALDS. He will make each of his next two starts on five days' rest.

"I think it helps your body out," Weaver said. "Going every five days is obviously the normal routine, but now that you're allowed to sort of rest up a little bit towards the end of the regular season, it's a good thing."

Weaver posted one of his most impressive performances of the season last time out, twirling seven one-run innings while striking out 12 Astros on Saturday. It was his highest strikeout total in 41 months.

This season, he has a 1.80 ERA and 0.867 WHIP in two starts against Texas.

Colby Lewis, who is 4-7 with 3.51 ERA in 11starts since the All-Star break, will oppose Weaver. Two of those losses are against the Angels and he is 1-3 with an 8.57 ERA in four starts against them. But he allowed three runs, two earned, in seven innings against them on Sept. 9.

"They are in the position they are because they're a good ballclub," Lewis said. "They want to win out and do all the right things to get on a roll into postseason."

Brennan Boesch is 5-for-23 against Lewis but with three home runs. He is one of six players who have three home runs off Lewis in their careers.

Rangers: Baker hoping to pitch again
Scott Baker is sidelined with triceps inflammation and hasn't pitched since Sept. 5, but is hoping to get one more start before the season ends. Baker threw in the bullpen Friday at about 65-70 percent and said his arm is feeling good.

He is going to try to throw closer to game effort in the bullpen Saturday to see how that goes.

"After that, we'll see how I recover," Baker said.

Rangers manager Tim Bogar is less certain about Baker pitching again, especially since his absence from the rotation is allowing the club to look at Lisalverto Bonilla.

"The best thing right now is to get him back to 100 percent," Bogar said.

Angels: Young players get a look down stretch
While Thursday's game served mostly as an off-day for the starters, it also served as a proving ground for some of the Angels' bench players, who are trying to make the 25-man postseason roster.

Efren Navarro and Brennan Boesch will probably be fighting to be the Angels' left-handed bat off the bench while Gordon Beckham, C.J. Cron and Tony Campana hope to carve out playoff roles.

"I would hope that they know that we hope that they're thinking that they are [being evaluated]," Scioscia joked. "Without putting pressure on themselves, we want these guys to go out there and put their best foot forward."

Scioscia emphasized that the end of the regular season was not a week-long tryout "but anytime a guy's on the field, especially a young player, somebody's watching and we certainly are."

Worth noting
• To bolster their pitching depth, the Angels recalled right-hander Drew Rucinski on Friday. Rucinski spent most of the season at Double-A Arkansas, going 10-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 26 starts.

He made his Major League debut on July 10 against Texas, giving up two runs on four hits in one inning.

• Elvis Andrus is a career .319 hitter off of Weaver. That's the sixth highest by a right-handed hitter with at least 30 plate appearances against him.

• Weaver has 14 career wins against the Rangers. That's tied with John Lackey for the second most by an active pitcher. Bartolo Colon has 20 wins against the Rangers.

Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MDeFranks. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Angels lose challenge on play at plate

Angels lose challenge on play at plate play video for Angels lose challenge on play at plate

ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia lost his challenge in the bottom of the seventh Friday, when umpires ruled that the call on the field would stand and C.J. Cron was out at home plate.

Trailing by seven with two outs, Efren Navarro lined a single up the middle and Cron tried to score from second, but Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin fired a strike home to barely get Cron on a swipe tag from catcher Robinson Chirinos.

Chirinos had his left foot on home plate, which might have caused Cron to slide around him and try to scrape home plate with his left hand, but umpires deemed he was not in violation of Rule 7.13.

The Angels are now 20-for-35 in getting calls overturned this season.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rangers ride huge first inning to sweep over A's

Smolinski goes 4-for-5, tallies RBI in four-run frame to back Martinez

Rangers ride huge first inning to sweep over A's play video for Rangers ride huge first inning to sweep over A's

OAKLAND -- After 5 1/2 disappointing months, the Rangers have turned themselves into something resembling a juggernaut as they keep doing perhaps irreparable damage to certain teams' playoff hopes.

The sinking Athletics are certainly finding themselves in dire straits after Texas completed a three-game sweep with a 7-2 victory on Thursday afternoon at O.co Coliseum. The A's, who once appeared a sure thing to make the postseason, now are in danger of dropping behind in the American League Wild Card race and spending October doing the same thing as the Rangers: watching at home and wondering what went wrong.

The Rangers have now won six straight, their longest winning streak of the season and the longest current streak in the Majors.

"You always want to play well and finish on a great note," Adrian Beltre said. "It's just nice that we're playing really good baseball."

During the winning streak, the Rangers are hitting .310, including .379 with runners in scoring position. Their pitchers have a 2.00 ERA with opponents hitting .217 off them. They have committed just four errors defensively.

"We're playing well together," infielder Adam Rosales said. "We have good team chemistry. We're all excited to show up to the field and compete. We have a lot of young guys and they bring energy. They're playing well. These are good teams we're beating. But our team can beat any team if we play the way we're capable of playing."

The Athletics were hoping right-hander Sonny Gray, who was 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA against the Rangers this season, could prevent the sweep. But the Rangers scored four runs in the first inning off him after just six runs in 29 2/3 innings over the four previous outings.

But some of those other lineups didn't have Jake Smolinski and Ryan Rua in them. Smolinski, making a mockery of pitchers on his rehab assignments, was 4-for-5 on the afternoon and is 6-for-13 since coming off the disabled list without having played in a game in six weeks. Rua was 2-for-4, including the final of four straight two-out singles in the first inning against Gray.

The Rangers had 15 hits, and they had five rookies in the lineup combine to go 9-for-22.

"They are getting some serious time under their belts and getting some at-bats and seeing what they can do," manager Tim Bogar said. "There have been a lot of positives to look at."

Rangers starter Nick Martinez earned the victory by holding the Athletics to two runs on three hits, three walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. It was his first win since Aug. 20 against the Marlins, and he is now 4-11 with a 4.85 ERA on the season.

"Every win is big for a starter, especially when they have been a little scarce this year," Martinez said. "I did a good job today of getting some quick outs, and getting some quick innings and getting the team back in the dugout."

Elvis Andrus got the Rangers started with a one-out single, and was forced out at second on Rougned Odor's grounder. Texas then came up with four straight singles by Beltre, Smolinski, Tomas Telis and Rua to take a 3-0 lead. Telis scored the fourth run of the inning on catcher Derek Norris' passed ball.

"Left some pitches up and they jumped on them and put good swings on them," Gray said. "Unfortunately for us, I just dug us in a hole a little bit too deep. If you give up four in the first, nine times out of 10 you're not going to recover."

Martinez walked two in the third and Sam Fuld responded with a two-out triple. But that was all the A's would score. The Rangers added one in the fifth as Beltre walked, went to third on Smolinski's single and scored on Telis' fielder's choice.

In the sixth, after Dan Otero relieved Gray, Rosales singled and scored on a double by Leonys Martin. A single by Andrus drove home Martin, and now the Rangers juggernaut rolls on to Anaheim for a three-game series with the Angels.

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.

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Beltre sets record for hits by Dominican-born player

First-inning single boosts Rangers star past Guerrero for first place

Beltre sets record for hits by Dominican-born player play video for Beltre sets record for hits by Dominican-born player

OAKLAND -- Adrian Beltre, serving as the Rangers' designated hitter, achieved a significant milestone in Thursday afternoon's 7-2 victory with a first-inning single off of Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray.

Beltre's single was the 2,591st hit of his career. That is the most hits ever by a native of the Dominican Republic. He passed Vladimir Guerrero, who spent the final year of his career with the Rangers in 2010. Former Rangers second baseman Julio Franco is third with 2,586.

"It means a lot," Beltre said. "I had no idea what was going on until I was told in the middle of the game. To be up there with one of the greatest hitters I have ever seen in Vladdy, I'm proud of that."

Overall, Beltre is tied with Luis Gonzalez for 80th all-time. But since 1900, he is fifth all-time among players who were primarily third basemen in their careers.

"I never think about those kind of things," Beltre said. "I love the game, I love to play hard, but thinking about leading all Dominican players in hits, I never thought about it."

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.

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Rangers set at second base with 'hard-nosed' Odor

Profar's potential return in 2015 could give Texas plenty of depth

Rangers set at second base with 'hard-nosed' Odor play video for Rangers set at second base with 'hard-nosed' Odor

OAKLAND -- The Rangers have a lot of questions for next season. Second base may not be one of them.

Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor may have provided a convincing answer to that question. He has handled himself well at the plate, improved significantly on defense and impressed people with the fire that he plays with as a rookie.

"He's got a great grit about him," manager Tim Bogar said. "He's a hard-nosed player who wants to win and compete in everything he does. That drives him to win and be better than the other guy. He has baseball [smarts] and applies the things he learns to his craft. That's why he's going to be a good player."

Odor, a left-handed hitter, has struggled against lefties this season, hitting .228 against them. But he had a big hit off a left-hander on Wednesday. With the Rangers down to the A's, 1-0, Odor came to the plate in the ninth inning with Elvis Andrus on first and one out. Facing left-hander Sean Doolittle, who has held lefty-swinging hitters to a .127 average, Odor belted a double to deep left-center that tied the game.

"I faced him before," Odor said. "I know he throws a lot of fastballs. I was looking for it and hit it good."

The Rangers' injuries have forced some of their young players into tough positions. Odor is starting to be used in the No. 3 spot in the order, a place normally reserved for a team's best hitter. Prince Fielder was Texas' No. 3 hitter at the beginning of the season.

But Odor is finishing strong. He went into Thursday's game hitting .333 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 16 games.

"I think he's starting to feel better about his at-bats," Bogar said, "When you do that, you feel good about yourself. Every at-bat he has had in the last 3-4-5 games has been a quality at-bat, and that gives you confidence going forward."

Jurickson Profar was supposed to be the Rangers' second baseman this season, but he has been sidelined with a torn muscle in his right shoulder. Texas is hoping he'll be at full strength next season, but he may find a road block at second base. Odor is showing that he belongs in the big leagues, even though he had to make a quick jump from Double-A.

"They've known me for four years," Odor said. "They know how I play. They know everything. They know I play hard every day, I'm a good teammate and I help my team win."

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.

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Washington reveals reason for his resignation

Washington reveals reason for his resignation play video for Washington reveals reason for his resignation

IRVING, Texas -- Almost two weeks after he abruptly resigned without explanation, former Rangers manager Ron Washington broke his silence in a brief, apologetic statement Thursday, saying only that he left the team because he "was not true" to his wife, Gerry.

In a hotel ballroom filled with more than 50 media members, Washington strode to a podium while his wife of more than four decades took a seat at the side of the room. Washington then delivered a three-minute, 30-second statement and didn't take questions.

"I made a mistake and I'm embarrassed more than I've ever been in my life," said Washington, who resigned on Sept. 5. "I don't run when I make mistakes. When you put yourself in situations, you own it. Those are the types of things that my wife always says to me.

"I was not true to my wife after 42 years. I broke her trust. I'm here today to own that mistake and to apologize to her and to those I disappointed and those who have trusted in me. I let them down. ... Today I'm at a very low time in my life. I'm sorry for breaking the trust that I had with my wife and for disappointing my players, for disappointing my coaches, for disappointing Major League Baseball and for disappointing the Texas Rangers."

Washington was the most successful manager in Rangers franchise history, going 664-611 (.521) in 1,275 games over almost eight seasons. He led Texas to back-to-back American League championships in 2010 and '11. Prior to managing the Rangers, Washington was an assistant coach for the A's for 11 seasons. As a player, he appeared in 564 games over 10 seasons.

Washington, 62, said he hopes to be back in baseball soon.

"I was born to be a baseball player -- I'm a baseball lifer," Washington said. "The Rangers gave me a home, and I'm thankful for that and also thankful for the experience to have the opportunity to manage here in Texas. I look to the future and getting back in the game and continuing my career."

The Rangers did not elaborate Thursday on their original statement regarding Washington's departure.

"Ron Washington resigned as Rangers manager in order to turn his full attention to addressing an off-the-field personal matter," the Rangers' latest remarks read.

In his short statement, Washington talked about going to the Mexican League as a young player and sharing his progress with Gerry.

"I remember calling my wife and letting her know that I feel like I have arrived and I have figured this game out," Washington said. "... I did tell her to quit her job. It was a really proud moment for me and it was something that I'll always remember and she's always stood by me."

Washington closed his statement with a "final thanks to the fans" in Texas.

"You've been good to me, and I will miss the Metroplex and I will miss you," he said.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rangers stun A's with wild ninth-inning rally

Arencibia belts go-ahead HR; Texas collects fifth straight win

Rangers stun A's with wild ninth-inning rally play video for Rangers stun A's with wild ninth-inning rally

OAKLAND -- J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning that helped lift the Rangers to a 6-1 victory over the Athletics on Wednesday night.

The Rangers' six-run ninth stretched their winning streak to five games. The A's loss -- combined with the Angels' 5-0 victory over the Mariners -- also clinched the American League West title for the Halos.

The Rangers have won six of eight games in Oakland this season and will go for their second three-game sweep at the Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.

The Rangers' ninth-inning rally came after Derek Holland pitched 6 1/3 innings but left trailing, 1-0.

"Those guys did a great job of picking me up," Holland said. "It was very awesome to watch. We have had a tough season to begin with, but the way we're finishing up strong, I'm very impressed with the way guys are carrying themselves. Nobody is quitting."

The Rangers still trailed going into the ninth after being held scoreless for eight innings by starter Jeff Samardzija. Closer Sean Doolittle took over not having allowed a run in his last 15 games. But the left-hander had also just been activated off the disabled list Friday after being sidelined with a strained rib-cage muscle.

"It was a tough game for us against Samardzija," Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. "He's a great pitcher and he had our number. But our guys never gave up."

Doolittle started out by getting Leonys Martin on a pop to right before Elvis Andrus singled. Rougned Odor followed with a double into the left-center-field gap, and Andrus raced around to score, beating shortstop Jed Lowrie's throw to the plate.

"I just don't think it was my night," Doolittle said. "I felt good. The ball Odor hit, give him credit, I thought it was a pretty good fastball away. He didn't try to pull it. He went with it the other way,"

Odor went to third and easily beat the throw from catcher Geovany Soto. Athletics manager Bob Melvin challenged the call because it appeared that Odor overslid and possibly stepped off the bag while third baseman Josh Donaldson was applying the tag. The safe call was upheld on review.

Adrian Beltre was then intentionally walked. Arencibia, who had struck out three times against Samardzija, fell behind 0-2 to Doolittle before hammering a 1-2 fastball over the left-field wall.

"When I got down 0-2, I thought, 'Let's go, you got to get this run in,'" Arencibia said. "This is an opportunity against a tough pitcher, we worked our way into this chance. I was looking for a ball down because he strikes out a lot of guys like that, and do something with it."

"I missed my spot a little bit, and he made me pay for it," Doolittle said.

Bogar said he considered pinch-hitting Luis Sardinas for Arencibia but decided against it.

"Sardinas is a contact guy, maybe squeeze or hit and run, stay out of the double play," Bogar said. "But I felt J.P. was a good matchup against Doolittle. Sometimes your stomach is smarter than your head."

The Rangers scratched out two more runs before the inning was over. The Rangers had six hits in the ninth after just four in eight innings against Samardzija.

Robbie Ross Jr. earned the victory as he and Phil Klein combined to keep it a 1-0 game by escaping a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the eighth. Klein retired Lowrie on a fly ball to shallow center then Ross got Alberto Callaspo on a popout and Soto on a fly ball.

"Obviously it has been an up-and-down year, so to have a little successful like that, I'm grateful," Ross said. "To get out of a jam like that and keep us in the game makes you feel good."

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.

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Daniels' managerial search sure to be thorough

Texas GM sought advice from around the Majors when hiring Washington in 2006

Daniels' managerial search sure to be thorough play video for Daniels' managerial search sure to be thorough

OAKLAND -- When Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was considering hiring Ron Washington back in 2006, he was concerned about bringing on a manager who might have a tendency to speak his mind on almost any subject. So Daniels sought the counsel of White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, who had his own loquacious manager in Ozzie Guillen.

The details of the conversation are not pertinent eight years later. The salient point is that in seeking out Williams, it shows that when it comes to a managerial search, Daniels is going to be as thorough as possible.

Daniels is in that same mode now as he begins the search for a permanent replacement for Washington. Tim Bogar is serving as interim manager to the end of the season and is a strong candidate to come back in 2015.

But nothing is guaranteed. Daniels made it clear that the search will include outside candidates.

"Tim is a real good candidate," Daniels said. "But if he is our manager, it will be a lot more meaningful if we went through a thorough search first."

The search has begun.

"We were not anticipating looking for a manager so we weren't really prepared," Daniels said. "We are doing a lot of due diligence, talking to a lot of other people in the game and getting a lot of incoming calls recommending people. We're in the stage of vetting those names and see who we want to talk to."

Bogar is not the only internal candidate. Pitching coach Mike Maddux and Triple-A manager Steve Buechele will also get consideration. First-base coach Bengie Molina has managerial aspirations but this is only his second year as a big league coach after retiring following the 2010 season. He probably hasn't built up the experience needed, although one of the latest trends in baseball has been hiring former players -- Brad Ausmus, Mike Matheny -- with no experience.

Daniels could be unpredictable. In 2006, he quietly inquired with the Twins about the possibility of Tom Kelly coming out of retirement. Daniels dropped the matter when told Kelly, who led the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, preferred to stay retired.

Daniels ended up interviewing five candidates: Don Wakamatsu, Trey Hillman, Manny Acta, John Russell and Washington.

At the time, Wakamatsu was the clear favorite. He had been on previous manager Buck Showalter's staff and had a tight relationship with Daniels. The search appeared perfunctory although Hillman, who had spent a year as the Rangers' farm director, was considered the candidate who might beat out Wakamatsu.

Washington was perceived as a long shot, included in the process to satisfy Commissioner Bud Selig's edict that minority candidates be considered for any significant leadership opening. By the way, that edict is still in force today.

The perception of Washington's candidacy was completely wrong. Washington gave a strong interview. Daniels was impressed by his force of personality and felt he was just what was needed to change the Rangers' clubhouse atmosphere.

Washington had a rough first two years and was close to being dismissed in the first month of the 2008 season by then-owner Tom Hicks and club president Nolan Ryan. Daniels stood behind his managerial choice and won the day. Two years later the Rangers were in the World Series.

Now, Daniels wants to get it right one more time and find the right person who can help get the Rangers headed back in the right direction. He wants a partner who will invest himself in the organization.

Bogar could be that person, but the search will be thorough and nothing there is guaranteed.

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.

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Two replays go Rangers' way during six-run rally

A's lose challenge on Odor's slide; Smolinski awarded single upon review

Two replays go Rangers' way during six-run rally play video for Two replays go Rangers' way during six-run rally

OAKLAND -- During a nightmare of a ninth inning for the A's at the Coliseum on Wednesday night, a pair of challenges both went the Rangers' way.

With one out, Rougned Odor hit a game-tying double off A's closer Sean Doolittle and advanced to third on the throw home. Odor's foot momentarily came off the bag on the popup slide as third baseman Josh Donaldson applied a tag, prompting A's manager Bob Melvin to challenge the safe call. 

The call stood after a replay review, and Odor later scored on J.P. Arencibia's go-ahead three-run homer.

Later in the inning, the Rangers challenged a call at first base on Jake Smolinski's grounder to second base that was deflected by A's right-hander Jesse Chavez. This call was overturned, awarding Smolinski with an infield single. He came around to score the final run in Texas' 6-1 victory.

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

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Plate umpire replaced after foul ball hits face mask

Ripperger slides over from 2B spot as Danley exits before sixth inning

Plate umpire replaced after foul ball hits face mask play video for Plate umpire replaced after foul ball hits face mask

OAKLAND -- Wednesday night's game between the A's and Rangers was delayed for nearly 10 minutes between the fifth and sixth innings as Mark Ripperger replaced Kerwin Danley as the plate umpire.

Danley was hit in the face mask by Nick Punto's foul tip in the bottom of the fifth, and Danley completed the inning before exiting.

Ripperger began the game manning second base, leaving Gary Cederstrom and Lance Barksdale as the lone base umpires after Danley departed with the A's leading, 1-0.

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

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Rios' time with Rangers could be winding down

Choo expected to shift from left to right field coming off ankle surgery

Rios' time with Rangers could be winding down play video for Rios' time with Rangers could be winding down

OAKLAND -- Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday. It's the latest sign that right fielder Alex Rios most likely won't be back with the Rangers next season.

The Rangers have a $14 million option on Rios for 2015, but it appears increasingly likely they will not pick it up and instead pay the $1 million buyout.

One reason is that Choo, after his injury-ravaged season, is expected to shift from left to right field next season under the theory that it is less taxing physically. It is also his most comfortable position. The Rangers would then either go with one of their internal options for left -- rookies Michael Choice, Ryan Rua, Jake Smolinski or Daniel Robertson -- or look for a cheaper alternative on the free-agent market.

The Rangers would then be able use the $14 million due Rios to help reinforce their battered pitching staff. General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers have a good idea of what they want to do but won't make a final decision until after the season.

"I'm just waiting to see what will happen," Rios said. "The team has to make the decision. You don't know if they are going to try going the free-agent route or go with a farm product. It's tough to tell."

Rios was hitting .280 with four home runs, 54 RBIs, a .311 on-base percentage and a .398 slugging percentage in 131 games. But he hasn't played since Sept. 4 because of a bruised right thumb that became infected. He has been dealing with that and a sprained ankle for most of the second half, which may explain why he has gone from hitting .305 with a .440 slugging percentage before the All-Star break to .211 with a .281 slugging percentage after.

Rios is with the Rangers on this road trip but is not sure if he will play again this season. He will test the thumb at some point to see if he is capable of swinging the bat. There may not be any reason for him to play again this season other than to prove to other clubs that he is healthy.

"I like to be on the field," Rios said. "It's something I really take pride in. I like to be on the field playing as much as I can. If I can play 162 games, I'm for it. But you have to look at the whole situation and see what's best."

Rios has had down years before. In 2011, he hit .227 with 13 home runs, 44 RBIs and a career-low .348 slugging percentage. He came back strong in 2012, hitting a career-high .304 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. His .516 slugging percentage was also a career high.

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.

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Beltre represents Rangers as Clemente nominee

Beltre represents Rangers as Clemente nominee play video for Beltre represents Rangers as Clemente nominee

OAKLAND -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has been selected as the Rangers nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

The annual Award recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. The overall winner will be announced during the World Series.

"Just the fact to be nominated is an honor," Beltre said. "We all know what Roberto Clemente was about and the great things he did on and off the field. To be selected from our team means a lot. I wish I could have watched him play and see what everybody was talking about."

Beltre has been involved in many community activities during his four years with the Rangers, including financial contributions to the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation that have had a significant impact on Dallas-Fort Worth RBI programs.

This year, a Fort Worth RBI program was started and teams in the Dallas RBI program increased by approximately 20. The Foundation was also able to provide support to RBI in Lancaster, Shreveport and Austin. Because of his generosity, the Texas Rangers were able to show their commitment to RBI and secure the bid to host the RBI World Series.

Beltre is heavily involved in the Foundation's major fundraiser of the year, the Park Place Dealership Triple Play. Through his leadership and example, his teammates become involved each year in this important event and largest Foundation fundraiser.

Beltre has provided financial support over the last several years to the I Love Baseball program in the Dominican Republic.

Beltre is also supportive of his former and current teammates' charitable endeavors, making donations to David Valle's Ezperanza International, the Robinson Chirinos Foundation to assist with backpacks and school supplies for underprivileged children in the DFW Metroplex, the Michael Young Family Foundation in its efforts to assist pediatric cancer patients, the Eddie Guardado Foundation in its efforts to provide funds for Autism Speaks, the Joakim Soria Foundation to provide relief efforts in Mexico and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive.

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.

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Smolinski's first big league homer starts scoring

Tepesch's solid six innings lead Rangers to fourth straight victory

Smolinski's first big league homer starts scoring play video for Smolinski's first big league homer starts scoring

OAKLAND -- Jake Smolinski's timing was off after being activated off the disabled list Tuesday. He struck out against Athletics pitcher Scott Kazmir in his first at-bat.

By his second at-bat, he was back in the swing of things. Smolinski hit a two-run shot -- his first big league homer -- in the fourth inning to get the Rangers started and they went on to a 6-3 victory over the Athletics at the Coliseum.

Nick Tepesch went six innings to get the victory and the Rangers have now won four straight. It's their second longest winning streak of the season. They won five straight on April 15-19.

"Another great pitching performance," Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. "It all revolves around the starting pitcher and they have been good for four days in a row."

Tepesch earned his first win since Aug. 6, allowing three runs on five hits, two walks and one strikeout. He was 1-4 despite a 3.97 ERA in his last eight starts while the Rangers were averaging 1.70 runs of support per nine innings when Tepesch was on the mound.

For the season, the Rangers were averaging 2.57 runs of support when Tepesch was on the mound, second lowest among Major League pitchers with at least 100 innings.

But Smolinski, playing in his first game since July 21, helped change that in the fourth inning. Ryan Rua led off with an infield hit. After Robinson Chirinos flied to left, Smolinski crushed an 0-1 fastball deep over the left-center field fence.

"His first at-bat he struck out on a changeup but he had some good swings," Bogar said. "You could see he wasn't overmatched and he got a pitch he could handle. It's nice to see him do something and feel he is a part of it his first day back."

Smolinski had been sidelined with a fractured bone in his left foot. Because the Minor League seasons are over, he was not able to get any at-bats on medical rehabilitation assignment before being activated.

"I felt well…I felt comfortable," Smolinski said. "The first at-bat, it was a matter of seeing more pitches and getting used to the strike zone again. I felt my timing was good. I felt comfortable. I just need to get more at-bats and more pitches under my belt."

The inning did not stop with Smolinski. Rougned Odor then reached on an infield single. Daniel Robertson singled to right, moving Odor to third. Robertson was thrown out at second by right fielder Josh Reddick trying for a double but while doing so, Odor raced home to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

The Athletics scratched out two runs in the bottom of the inning on a double by Adam Dunn, a couple of walks, Reddick's sacrifice fly and an infield single by Derek Norris. But Tepesch was able to escape with the Rangers still leading.

"Just kind of lost my command in that one inning," Tepesch said. "Other than that I felt like I was commanding my pitches and mixing my pitches well. I felt good. I was really struggling to find them and get back to where I was earlier in the game and the last two innings, too. I made an adjustment and got out of the inning."

The Rangers struck back for three runs in the top of the fifth.

Adrian Beltre doubled with one out and scored on shortstop Jed Lowrie's throwing error off of Rua's grounder. Rua went to second and scored on a single by Chirinos. After a wild pitch moved Chirinos to second, he scored on a two-out single by Odor.

Tepesch gave up a home run to Brandon Moss in the sixth before turning it over to the bullpen. The Rangers have now won five of seven against the Athletics in Oakland this season.

"It's disappointing,' Lowrie said. "Obviously this is a team that isn't really playing for a whole lot and it's a bunch of new guys we don't know a whole lot about. We gotta learn quick. I think that they just played with nothing to lose. They were really, really aggressive, and it worked out in their favor."

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.

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Rangers promote Dayett, add to Levine's duties

OAKLAND -- The Rangers have promoted Minor League special assignment coach Brian Dayett to the Major League coaching staff. He becomes the Rangers seventh coach now that Tim Bogar is serving as manager.

The Basic Agreement required the Rangers to fill the position.

A former outfielder for the Cubs and the Yankees who once played for Johnny Oates in the Minor Leagues, Dayett has spent 10 seasons in the Rangers farm system as a hitting and special assignment coach.

He has worked with many of the Rangers young players currently on the team. He has Parkinson's Disease and the promotion allows him to be covered by Major League health insurance through Opening Day. That is a significant benefit.

"He is a guy as an organization we feel strongly about," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's a small gesture of our appreciation. It's about showing respect for what he has meant to the organization, especially with the young guys that he has worked with."

In other front office news, assistant general manager Thad Levine has withdrawn from consideration for the D-backs GM opening. He will remain with the Rangers and will add director of international scouting to his list of duties.

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.

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Rangers lose Myrtle Beach affiliate to Cubs

OAKLAND -- The Rangers have lost their Class A Advanced affiliation with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Cubs and the Pelicans reached a two-year working agreement Tuesday.

The Rangers have five options to consider: Lynchburg and the Carolina Mudcats in the Carolina League, Daytona in the Florida State League and Bakersfield and High Desert in the California League.

The Mudcats, located just outside Raleigh, are a strong candidate. Clubs in general prefer the Carolina League. The California League is considered an extreme hitter's league and the Florida State League is more prone to weather delays and postponements.

The Cubs were in Daytona Beach. The Rangers were in Bakersfield until moving to Myrtle Beach in 2011. The drawback in Bakersfield is playing in Sam Lynn Park, which opened in 1941 and faces west. That means the setting sun ends up being in the hitter's eyes.

"Too much is made of the California League," general manager Jon Daniels said. "The ball definitely jumps out there but I can read you a long list of pitchers who have come through those parks."

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.

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Choo to have more surgery; Choice out for the year

Choo to have more surgery; Choice out for the year play video for Choo to have more surgery; Choice out for the year

OAKLAND -- The Rangers announced that outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will undergo surgery Wednesday on his left ankle to have torn cartilage removed. Choo will need six to eight weeks of recovery time.

Choo originally injured the ankle landing on first base wrong in a game against the Athletics on April 21. The original diagnosis was a sprained ankle and Choo tried to play through it during the season. He was finally shut down at the end of August so that he could have surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow.

The Rangers also announced that outfielder Michael Choice will miss the final two weeks of the season with a severely strained left hamstring. Choice sustained the injury running the bases Sunday against the Braves.

To replace Choice, the Rangers activated rookie outfielder Jake Smolinski off the disabled list. He has been sidelined since July 22 with a fractured bone in his left foot.

Other injury updates:

• General manager Jon Daniels said pitcher Yu Darvish has not been cleared to throw and is not expected to resume throwing before he returns to Japan at the end of the season. He was shut down with mild inflammation in his right elbow.

• Pitcher Miles Mikolas, who is sidelined with shoulder fatigue, did not make the road trip and the Rangers have all but ruled out the possibility of him pitching again this season.

• Outfielder Alex Rios is on the road trip but his infected thumb is not 100 percent and the Rangers aren't sure when, or if, he'll be back in the lineup.

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.

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Twenty-seven up and down: Evaluating Texas' position players

Twenty-seven up and down: Evaluating Texas' position players play video for Twenty-seven up and down: Evaluating Texas' position players

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have used 27 position players on a club that is going to finish with offensive numbers that haven't been seen in Arlington in more than three decades.

Some of those players are going to be with the Rangers for a long time. Some of them better be with Texas for a long time. Others will fade into footnote history.

As with the pitching staff, the Rangers have to decide this winter which ones to keep and which ones to discard. Some are not going to be difficult decisions either way.

A look at the 27 to this point, in no particular order.

Elvis Andrus: Three factors shaped the seaon for Andrus: being on a losing team, a different cast of characters around him and poor offseason preparation. But for the most part, Elvis is Elvis. What Andrus has done the past six years is pretty much what he is going to do for the next six seasons. A lot of time, effort and words have been wasted speculated on Andrus' potential and when he will reach it. The reality is he probably has. And it has been good enough in the past.

Adrian Beltre: The Rangers can void Beltre's $16 million contract for 2016 if he doesn't get to 1,200 plate appearances in 2014-15 or 600 plate appearance next season. He should have at least 600 plate appearances this season. Beltre's defensive numbers have improved from last season.

Prince Fielder: The Rangers are hoping the surgery to repair the herniated disk in his neck will help Fielder regain his power. The club has millions and millions riding on it.

Alex Rios: The Rangers have a $13.5 million option on Rios for 2015. The top free-agent outfielders are Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz, and then it falls off quickly: Michael Morse, Michael Cuddyer, Josh Willingham, Norichika Aoki. Tis not the offseason to be casually tossing aside productive outfielders on a manageable one-year contract.

Shin-Soo Choo: He had a difficult season because of his injuries. Thirty-something outfielders often do.

Leonys Martin: He has had hot streaks before, but Martin has started to take off since Tim Bogar took over as manager. It could be a coincidence, but it wouldn't be the first time a young player flourishes under a new manager.

Geovany Soto: It turns out Kurt Suzuki would have been the astute free-agent catcher to sign last winter.

J.P. Arencibia: He can't be a free agent for two more years unless he is non-tendered for the second straight offseason. That seems like a strong possibility.

Robinson Chirinos: This may be the most intriguing decision the Rangers make this winter. Chirinos will be one of Texas' catchers next season. The question is if the Rangers will commit to him as the No. 1 catcher, find someone to share the position with him or find somebody else to be a starter.

Mitch Moreland: A complete season remains an elusive goal for Moreland. But for every 700 plate appearances, he averages .252 with 80 runs scored, 31 doubles, 26 home runs, 84 RBIs, a .316 on-base percentage and a .430 slugging percentage.

Rougned Odor: Odor can play, it's too bad the Rangers had to find out so quickly.

Adam Rosales: Anybody find out who had Adam Rosales in the August Player of the Month office pool?

Luis Sardinas: None of the Rangers' young infielders -- Sardinas, Odor or Jurickson Profar -- has reached their 22nd birthday. There is no law anywhere that says any or all have to be in the big leagues next year.

Michael Choice: This seemed like a great trade for the Rangers in the offseason. In 253 at-bats, Choice is hitting .182 with nine home runs, 36 RBIs, a .250 on-base percentage and a .320 slugging percentage. In Dean Palmer's rookie season in 1990, he had 268 at-bats and hit .187 with 15 home runs, 37 RBIs, a .281 on-base percentage and a .403 slugging percentage.

Jake Smolinski: A malicious injury on the part of the baseball gods.

Daniel Robertson: Craig Gentry without the tremendous physical attributes. The question is if clubs are willing to look past the physical part.

Ryan Rua: Multipositional players who can swing the bat are priceless. Rua is the kind of guy the Rangers needed in May and June.

Jim Adduci: He got the biggest chance of his career, he played his heart out, broke his left pinkie and suffered a concussion. Unbelievable.

Kevin Kouzmanoff: The highest batting average in Rangers history for a player with a minimum of 40 at-bats in a season is .362 by Kouzmanoff. That may the definition of irony or another indication of how Texas' season has gone.

Tomas Telis: He has handled himself well, but he probably needs more time in the Minors.

Josh Wilson: The Rangers' all-time most unlikely Opening Day starters: catcher Hal King (1972); designated hitter Kurt Bevacqua ('78); shortstop Mark Wagner ('82); pitcher Craig Lefferts ('95); left fielder Billy Hatcher ('95); third baseman Craig Worthington ('96); right fielder Warren Newson ('97); center fielder Bo Porter (2001); first baseman Ben Broussard ('08); second baseman Josh Wilson ('14).

Donnie Murphy: Anybody else notice he looks like Mark and Donnie Wahlberg?

Carlos Pena: As a parting gift, we have a home version of Beat the Clock.

Mike Carp: Were the Rangers really evaluating Carp for 2015 or just trying to tread water?

Chris Gimenez: He had a .280 batting average as a catcher for the Rangers. That's tied for the third-highest career average among Texas catchers with at least 90 at-bats, behind Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Napoli.

Brad Snyder: Want to be in the big leagues? Here's a first-base glove, you have 10 minutes to learn the position.

Guilder Rodriguez: Finally, a fun, positive story.

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.

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With Baker out, Bonilla likely earns another start

With Baker out, Bonilla likely earns another start play video for With Baker out, Bonilla likely earns another start

ARLINGTON -- After earning the victory over the Braves in his first Major League start on Saturday, Lisalverto Bonilla will likely get at least one more start for the Rangers.

Bonilla, who became the 22nd Rangers pitcher to earn a victory this season, tossed six innings Saturday, allowing two earned runs on four hits and four walks. He was filling in for Scott Baker, who was scratched with triceps tendinitis.

"It's kind of looking like Bonilla's going to get another chance," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "He faced a pretty good lineup with the Braves and if it comes to it, he's going to face the Angels [on Friday] and that's going to be a real big test. That would be nice to see."

Baker doesn't appear to be ready to return, Bogar said.

"I talked to him a little bit, he's still sore, he's still dealing with it, and at this point, he's got to get out there and be able to throw and that's in five days or six days, so you don't know what's going to happen," Bogar said. "I respect the way he's gone about his business this year. He's done everything for us so we need to take care of him as much as he needs to take care of us."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rangers' bats break out to finish sweep of Braves

Texas pushes across six runs in the fifth, giving Lewis plenty of room

Rangers' bats break out to finish sweep of Braves play video for Rangers' bats break out to finish sweep of Braves

ARLINGTON -- Before Sunday, the last time the Rangers swept a series, Alex Rios, Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland were the 3-4-5 hitters, Martin Perez threw a shutout and Texas improved to six games above .500.

That was five months ago. All those key players, and many more, have since been lost to season-ending injuries and the Sept. 14 Rangers look hardly anything like the April 23 Rangers who swept the A's in Oakland. Nonetheless, when Sunday's 10-3 victory over the Braves was over, the Rangers could finally celebrate a sweep again even if all it did was get them back to 35 games under .500.

The Rangers gave up just six runs in three games thanks to strong outings from starters Derek Holland, Lisalverto Bonilla and Colby Lewis, who allowed one run in seven innings Sunday.

"We haven't had a lot of positive to lay our hats on and this was a big deal for us," Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. "That's a good team over there and we ended up getting three great pitching performances in a row and it gave us the opportunity to get the sweep."

Second baseman Luis Sardinas -- who had been in the Majors all of three days when the Rangers swept Oakland -- went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, the first multi-RBI game of his career in his 36th big league contest.

"Of course it was a good day for me," Sardinas said. "The first thing is I was having a good day with my at-bats. It's been a long time since we've scored that many runs. For us to have men on base and bring them in was something we haven't done lately so that was a good day."

Lewis pitched admirably in seven innings, allowing only Ryan Doumit's seventh-inning solo homer. Lewis scattered five hits, walked one and struck out two.

"He wanted to keep going and he was strong enough to do that," Bogar said. "Watching Colby go out there and pitch the way he was capable of just makes you really understand what kind of guy he is and how important he is to this team."

The Braves left seven men on base Sunday and had men in scoring position in each of the first five innings against Lewis.

"We had our opportunities," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "We hit balls hard, innings one through nine. It was just one of those things that seemed like they were in the right place… I felt like we had pitches to hit all day and we just didn't hit them today."

The Rangers scored three runs or less in 13 of the past 14 games, a stretch in which they averaged just 2.1 runs per game. So a double-digit offensive outburst was a welcome surprise.

Texas got production out of the bottom of the lineup, with the combination of Adam Rosales, Sardinas and Michael Choice reaching base the first nine times they came to the plate. They scored a combined five runs in the first five innings before Choice departed with a strained left hamstring sustained as he headed to second on a two-run double.

Sardinas scored the game's first run after reaching on a fielder's choice. No. 9 hitter Choice, who entered Sunday hitting .176, ripped a ball to the gap in left field; left fielder Justin Upton kicked it toward center trying to field it on the run and Choice was credited with an RBI triple.

Rosales singled and scored from first in the fourth inning, barreling home on Sardinas' double to right. Sardinas added a two-run double in the sixth in his final at-bat.

"It was really nice to see him swing the bat well," Bogar said. "Right-handed it looks like his swing's a little bit stronger, so it was really nice to see him get that left-handed base hit up the middle at the end of the game and give him some confidence left-handed. He's got survival skills. He's a kid that can go up there and battle and battle and maybe get a little bit abused early, but he makes adjustments really fast."

In the fifth, Robinson Chirinos drove in Ryan Rua, who had doubled, with a broken-bat single. Atlanta starter Mike Minor departed after walking Chirinos, the next batter, and the Rangers piled on relievers David Hale and James Russell for five more runs in the inning to put the game away.

"It's easy to go out there and throw strikes after that," Lewis said.

In the end, the combination of an effective Lewis and a prolific offense gave the Rangers the kind of win they haven't had in a long time.

"It's been awhile," Lewis said.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Bogar believes club can finish strong against contenders

Bogar believes club can finish strong against contenders play video for Bogar believes club can finish strong against contenders

ARLINGTON -- Coming off a rare series win over the Braves, the Rangers are beginning to see some positives at the end of a relentlessly negative season.

As his team prepares to embark on a road swing against playoff contenders in Oakland and Anaheim, interim manager Tim Bogar believes the Rangers are capable of a decent showing in the final 13 games of the year -- 10 of which are against playoff-contending teams.

"I think we can finish strong, I really do," Bogar said. "I think we can play well from here on out."

Bogar felt like his team played reasonably well despite being swept by the Angels at home in the series before the Braves came to town.

"The Angels are the best team in baseball … It's quite obvious their lineup's a little bit better than ours, but our guys aren't approaching it like we're just going to lay down and die for them," Bogar said. "We feel like if we play well and we don't make mistakes, we've got a chance to win."

With such a young, inexperienced group on the field every night, Bogar is looking beyond the scoreboard to evaluate his club.

"I don't think at this point, that's the true judge of this team," Bogar said, "I think it's when you watch the quality of baseball that they play every night. We might not win a game, we might win a game, but how do we win it? Do we do the things right like we've talked about -- the situational hitting, the bullpen has been fantastic … the starting pitching's been really good."

The Rangers went 3-5 in Bogar's first eight games, batting .233 as a team with a 4.13 team ERA.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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After Rangers miss on review, Braves get call overturned

After Rangers miss on review, Braves get call overturned play video for After Rangers miss on review, Braves get call overturned

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers unsuccessfully challenged a play at first base in the second inning Sunday, when Leonys Martin was picked off by Braves pitcher Mike Minor for the third out. Two innings later, the Braves had a call overturned as Andrelton Simmons threw out Luis Sardinas trying to advance from second to third base after Sardinas was originally called safe.

Martin dove back behind the bag and reached out to tag the bag with his right hand, but was called out by first-base umpire Adrian Johnson. Interim Rangers manager Tim Bogar challenged the ruling, but after a review of 2 minutes, 8 seconds, the ruling on the field stood.

The play ended a potential rally as the Rangers would have had men on first and third had the call been reversed.

The Braves' challenge was a much quicker one, lasting just 47 seconds. Michael Choice hit a routine ground ball to Simmons at shortstop, who fired to third baseman Phil Gosselin. Sardinas was called safe at third before Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez successfully challenged the play.

Instead of having runners on the corners with one out and the top of the Rangers' lineup coming up, they had just the man on first with two out. Braves left-hander Mike Minor got out of the inning without allowing the Rangers to extend their 2-0 lead.

Christian Corona is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rangers fend off no-hit bid to down Braves

Bonilla allows two runs over six innings to pick up first MLB win

Rangers fend off no-hit bid to down Braves play video for Rangers fend off no-hit bid to down Braves

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Tim Bogar said on Friday that he would be "ecstatic" if Lisalverto Bonilla could go five innings in his first Major League start on Saturday.

So what's the next level of emotion beyond ecstatic, after Bogar watched Bonilla go six innings and earn his first Major League win in a 3-2 victory over the Braves at Globe Life Park?

"I don't know ... amazed," Bogar said.

That's one way to describe it. Bonilla simply stated the obvious after his first big league start.

"It was something that was big for me," Bonilla said after the Rangers won their second straight game and put themselves in position for their first series sweep since April 21-23.

"He threw a tremendous game," reliever Neal Cotts said. "I don't know what the expectations were, as far as pitch counts. But he competed and kept us in the game. The offense came through and he got a win."

Cotts, with Neftali Feliz unavailable after working two straight games, retired the side in the ninth for his first save of the season and third of his career. He did so on an afternoon in which rookie pitchers retired 23 of 27 outs for the Rangers. Rookies also accounted for two of their three hits.

"They are doing a lot better," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "By now, they have a little more experience and they are starting to figure it out in the field. That's what we want. It has been a tough year, but as long as we keep playing hard to the last day of the season, that's what you want."

Bonilla, who had made just two relief appearances in the Majors since being called up on Sept. 2, did most of the work, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked four, struck out three and threw just 78 pitches in place of Scott Baker.

"I saw him, at first, being a little erratic trying to get comfortable, trying to settle in," Braves outfielder Jason Heyward said. "Obviously, he settled down and made some pitches. I would say he was wild effectively today -- not in the worst way, though. He was around the plate enough and was off the plate enough."

Bonilla had to step it up because Braves starter Julio Teheran held the Rangers hitless through 5 1/3 innings. Then, the Rangers broke through with three unearned runs in the sixth inning and their young pitchers made it stand up.

The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the third inning with three straight two-out hits. Emilio Bonifacio singled, stole second and scored on a single by Phil Gosselin. Freddie Freeman then sliced a high fly ball down the left-field line that fell for a double, bringing home Gosselin.

That was it off of Bonilla, who allowed just one infield single over his final three innings and retired the last seven batters he faced.

"I was really happy with how he did," Bogar said. "He walked four left-handers, but, for the most part, he pounded the strike zone. It was a pretty exciting game for him. He was using his offspeed pitches to get the outs. He threw his slider very well and used his changeup. If he is locating his fastball and getting it over, it makes the other stuff better -- and he did that today."

Teheran took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, before Luis Sardinas broke it up with a one-out single. After Michael Choice popped out, Leonys Martin hit a fly ball to shallow left that Justin Upton dropped for an error. That left runners on first and second with two outs.

Andrus then singled to drive home one run and Rougned Odor doubled to deep left-center to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

"Teheran was pitching good," Odor said. "We had to make some adjustments, and we were able to get him."

Bonilla left after six. Roman Mendez took over and pitched a scoreless seventh. The Rangers retired the Braves in order in the eighth, as Mendez, Michael Kirkman and Spencer Patton each retired one hitter, leaving the ninth inning to Cotts.

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.

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Rangers set rotation amid pitching questions

Rangers set rotation amid pitching questions play video for Rangers set rotation amid pitching questions

ARLINGTON -- Lisalverto Bonilla started for the Rangers on Saturday, while Robbie Ross remained in the bullpen.

Manager Tim Bogar said people shouldn't read too much into that. The Rangers want to look at Bonilla, and he was the logical choice to go when Scott Baker was scratched. If Baker, who has right triceps tendinitis, isn't ready to go next Friday against the Angels, Ross will get consideration for that start.

But the Rangers still have to decide this winter if they'll keep Ross in the bullpen -- where he has had the most success -- or continue to give him a chance to start.

"I like him as a bullpen guy -- and that's what, to me, we should focus on," Bogar said. "But we'll have those discussions when the season is over."

Ross was the Rangers' top left-handed reliever in 2012-13, before winning a spot in the rotation in Spring Training. He made nine starts and was 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA before being moved back to the bullpen. He was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, where he was used as a starter. He was 4-4 with a 4.39 ERA in nine starts there, including 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA in his last six.

"Being in the bullpen is not a bad place to be, but I would like to start," Ross said. "I feel like going back to Triple-A and figuring it out, I took the right steps -- and I'd like to continue in that direction."

The Rangers have a long line of hopefuls for a rotation that begins with Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. Much depends on what happens with some of the injured pitchers -- including Matt Harrison and Miles Mikolas -- and if the Rangers will be serious bidders for the top free-agent starters.

This will be an unusually strong class of free-agent starting pitchers, including Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields and Ervin Santana. Colby Lewis is also a free agent, and is hoping to return. The feeling may be mutual.

"I would love to have him back," Bogar said.

Ross was 10-2 with a 2.62 ERA over 123 games as a reliever for the Rangers in 2012-13, with opponents hitting .245 off him. This season he is 2-6 with a 6.53 ERA, with opponents hitting .325 off him.

"We'll see what happens," Ross said. "I'd like to be a starter, but we'll see how the rest of the season goes. Take it a day at a time and see what happens."

Lewis will pitch on Sunday against the Braves. The Rangers are off on Monday, and Nick Tepesch will open the three-game series against the Athletics on Tuesday in Oakland.

The Rangers will then follow with Holland on Wednesday and Nick Martinez on Thursday. Texas is moving Holland ahead of Martinez and pitching him on five days' rest. Martinez, who pitched on Friday, is getting extra rest, but either way both should get three starts before the season is over.

Friday is open, but Baker is still the Rangers' first choice if the inflammation in his triceps subsides.

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.

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Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked

Verses that became National anthem celebrates 200 years, is part of baseball's fabric

Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked play video for Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked

Francis Scott Key never got to see a big league baseball game. He died in 1843, some 26 years before the first professional team was established. But you can imagine his joy if he did get that chance. These days, he'd probably sit in a shiny bleacher seat, waiting for a batting-practice homer with a soft, weathered glove raised high ... in his non-writing hand. Maybe he'd inhale a hot dog while jotting down a few pretty lines for his next song. That would come about an hour before he'd hear the iconic bars of his first one, which, contrary to American lore, does not end with the words, "Play Ball." Odds are he'd be pretty happy at the twilight's last gleaming.

This weekend, the celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," is on, and Key's memory is being rightly feted for his poetic description from the "dawn's early light" of Sept. 14, 1814, at the height of the War of 1812.

Hours after being stuck on a ship in Baltimore Harbor as the British pounded Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore, Key saw the skies clear from the smoke and the indelible image that "our flag was still there."

The verses were called "The Defence of Fort M'Henry," and it was put to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven," a British drinking song purportedly written by John Stafford Smith that had been composed more than 30 years earlier and served as the theme of the Anacreontic Society of London, a men's club of amateur musicians.

Soon after Key wrote the words, a local newspaper gave it the title "The Star-Spangled Banner," and in 1931, it became our official anthem. All the while, another grand tradition steeped in collective nostalgia and American togetherness -- the game of baseball -- was steaming along, gaining prominence in our country's conscience.

Not surprisingly, the national anthem and the National Pastime became stitched together forever, like red laces in white horsehide.

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, the playing of the national anthem before big league games did not become an everyday tradition until 1942. Taking that into account (and including a slight margin of error based on the lack of documentation regarding split doubleheaders in the earlier days), the Star-Spangled Banner has been heard right before the first pitch of at least the last 121,000 games. Oh, say can you see, indeed.

So with that in mind, 200 years after the night a 35-year-old Washington, D.C.-based attorney known to friends as Frank found himself under a war-torn sky, with honor in his heart and a pen in his hand, we go around the horn with nine things to know about "The Star-Spangled Banner" and its now-eternal link to the national pastime.

1. A first for everything
The first time the song was played at a baseball game was May 15, 1862, at William Cammeyer's Union Grounds park in Brooklyn. It had been converted from an ice skating venue into a field for summer sports, including what, at the time, was known as "base ball." In the midst of the Civil War, a band played "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The first big league Opening Day to feature the eventual anthem took place in Philadelphia on April 22, 1897. The New York Tribune newspaper included a brief and lyrical account of the game: "Opening Day here was a great success. The weather was delightful and the attendance numbered 17,074. The players paraded across the field, company front, and then raised the new flag, while the band played 'The Star Spangled Banner.' "

In spite of all the pageantry, there had to be some accounting for the four errors that led the Phillies to a 5-1 victory over the Giants at the Baker Bowl.

"The game was rather dull and long-drawn out," the article read, "and on the part of the New-Yorkers was somewhat unsteadily played."

2. An unforgettable rendition
The first national anthem played at a World Series game occurred on Sept. 5, 1918, during World War I, when Major League players were in the midst of being drafted into service. The regular season was ordered by the government to be completed by Labor Day, hence the Fall Classic that year was played in September.

The Cubs borrowed Comiskey Park from the White Sox to take advantage of the larger seating capacity, but things got quiet in Game 1, a 1-0 shutout by Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth. But that game will be forever remembered for what occurred in the seventh inning.

That was when the military band on hand struck up "The Star-Spangled Banner," and the song took on a different meaning. Red Sox third baseman Fred Thomas, for example, was on furlough from the Navy, and he saluted the flag during the playing of the song.

And then the crowd caught on. The New York Times opened its account of the game by writing, "Far different from any incident that has ever occurred in the history of baseball was the great moment of the first world's series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, which came at Comiskey Park this afternoon during the seventh-inning stretch" and then continued with the play-by-play … of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"First the song was taken up by a few, then others joined, and when the final notes came, a great volume of melody rolled across the field. It was at the very end that the onlookers exploded into thunderous applause and rent the air with a cheer that marked the highest point of the day's enthusiasm."

The Cubs and Red Sox repeated the tradition for the rest of the Series.

3. Making it official
Even though the Secretary of the Navy in 1889 had designated "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the official song to be played at the raising of the flag, and even though President Woodrow Wilson, a huge baseball fan himself, treated it and referred to it as our national anthem, it had failed to stick in Congress after numerous attempts in the 1920s.

Baseball's increased use of the song prior to games, a petition with millions of signatures, and a nice little push from noted composer John Philip Sousa helped finally get the job done on March 3, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover signed into law the establishment of the song as the official national anthem of the United States of America.

4. A lasting tradition
"The Star-Spangled Banner" still wasn't being played before every baseball game in 1941, but on April 26, 1941, the ball got rolling in the Bronx. As The New York Times reported, "With more war new in the making, president Ed Barrow of the Yankees ordered that 'The Star-Spangled Banner' be played before all games at the Stadium.

"Meanwhile, all continued to go well for the Yankees and [Joe] DiMaggio. He singled home a run in the first and scored twice as New York beat Washington 8-3 for its fourth straight victory."

By the following year, with the country deep in World War II, the anthem became the daily staple of baseball that we know today.

And DiMaggio was still hitting.

5. Controversy hits the field
It was October 1968, and the country was fighting in Vietnam and had already lived through the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that year. Protests were boiling over in the streets at home, and the Detroit Tigers were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Jose Feliciano was a 23-year-old blind folk singer from Puerto Rico who had scored a hit on the U.S. charts with a cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire," and Tigers radio legend Ernie Harwell invited him to sing the national anthem at Tiger Stadium prior to Game 5.

Feliciano was accompanied in left field by his acoustic guitar and his guide dog, Trudy, and he launched into an emotional, heartfelt, and, well, different version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." He strummed the guitar in a slightly syncopated, Latin-influenced rhythm, careened back and forth from the traditional vocal melody to something more adventurous, and offered the finishing flourish of "Yeah, yeah."

It was bold and innovative and fresh, but it was also many years ahead of its time. Feliciano was booed heartily by the crowd and caused a public uproar that took years to live down.

"Back then, when the anthem was done at ballgames, people couldn't wait for it to be over," Feliciano told The Guardian last month. "And I wanted to make them sit up and take notice and respect the song. I was shocked when I was booed. I felt, 'God, what have I done wrong?' All I was trying to do was create a soulful rendition. I never in my wildest dreams thought I was going to have the country against me, radio stations stop playing me.

"But in part, it was good -- because I ended up meeting my wife. She couldn't understand the injustice and started a fan club, even though we'd never met. We fell in love and the rest is history."

On Oct. 14, 2012, prior to Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, the same stylized, heartfelt version of the national anthem was performed by Feliciano on his acoustic guitar.

This time the crowd roared.

6. "O"-dience participation
The anthem itself is a tradition, and at Oriole Park in Camden Yards in Baltimore, there's a tradition baked into the tradition. When the song rounds third base and heads for home with, "O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave," the crowd screams the "O" together, celebrating their beloved O's.

This started at the old Memorial Stadium in the club's pennant-winning season of 1979. Out in Section 34 of the upper deck, Orioles superfan Wild Bill Hagy would lead fans in chants of O-R-I-O-L-E-S, with the emphasis on the "O." Mary Powers sat nearby and took the inspiration to another level.

"We would accentuate the 'O' in any word that would have an 'O,' and one night when they were playing the anthem, I thought, 'There's an 'O!' in this song,' and the first time I did it, I remember people turning around and looking like, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe she just did that,' " Powers recently told WBAL-TV.

"Well, Wild Bill had a little grin on his face, so the next night, he did it with me, and once he put his blessing on it, everybody started to do it."

Orioles fans still do it -- loudly -- and will likely be doing it in October this year.

7. Setting the (low) Barr
We all know now that Feliciano's rendition was eventually respected, if not appreciated. We all also know now that the version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" performed by comedian Roseanne Barr before a Padres-Reds doubleheader at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego on July 25, 1990, was not.

Barr screeched a fast, off-key rendition of the anthem that drew loud boos midway through, and when she was finished, she grabbed her crotch and spit, as if to mimic a ballplayer. The joke bombed, she was lambasted all over TV and in the newspapers, and she inspired President George H. W. Bush to call the whole act "disgraceful."

Bush's comment was met with bipartisan approval.

8. A hymn of healing
The horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the United States forever, but not only in tragic ways. The courage, brotherhood and human decency shown that day in New York, Washington, D.C., and on a hijacked airplane that would crash in a Pennsylvania field showed our country's strength and will to persevere.

The emotion was palpable 10 days later when the Mets played the Braves at Shea Stadium in the first professional sporting event in New York City since the attacks. Marc Anthony delivered a somber rendition without musical accompaniment and the game was played quietly until the eighth inning, when Piazza's two-run home run gave the Mets the lead and got the crowd going again.

"I remember standing on the line during the national anthem -- actually when the bagpipes and band came out -- I said to myself, 'Please, God, give me the strength to get through this,' " Piazza told the New York Daily News in 2008. "I was fortunate to find the strength to hit a home run in that situation. I'm flattered, I'm honored that people put that moment as a time where it helped the city at least have a little bit of joy in a really tough week."

9. 200 and many more
Every year now, we're treated to incredible musical talent on the baseball field. From the seasoned operatic pipes of longtime Yankees national anthem singer Robert Merrill to commercial acts James Taylor, Paul Simon, Sammy Davis Jr., John Legend, Lyle Lovett, the Grateful Dead, Slash from Guns N' Roses, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, Idina Menzel, Kelly Clarkson and countless others, it's now a grand American tradition to bring out the best in the business to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the biggest baseball games.

But Sunday, the song itself will shine.

At Fort McHenry in Baltimore, a real-time anniversary program will kick off, with artillery salutes, a reading of the song's four stanzas and a replica 15-star, 15-stripe flag raising at precisely 9 a.m. to commemorate the history that Key had witnessed.

And MLB teams playing at home will show a special video montage of "The Star-Spangled Banner." In conjunction with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the program Great Performances, Maryland Public Television has provided the montage originally seen in the PBS production Star-Spangled Banner: The Bicentennial of our National Anthem to the ballparks and to MLB.com and all 30 club websites and official MLB social media channels.

Fittingly, the last game on Sunday will be played at Camden Yards, about three miles away from Fort McHenry, and fittingly, the Orioles will play the Yankees.

We all know what song we'll hear right before the first pitch.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Holland twirls gem as Rangers edge Braves

Chirinos' single in eighth deals blow to NL Wild Card hopefuls

Holland twirls gem as Rangers edge Braves play video for Holland twirls gem as Rangers edge Braves

ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Derek Holland had to hang a Notre Dame flag from his locker and wear a Fighting Irish T-shirt with the familiar leprechaun to his postgame news conference. Turns out outfielder Daniel Robertson is a Notre Dame football fan and won a bet when the Irish beat Holland's beloved Michigan Wolverines last week.

That was the only sporting event Holland has lost in the past seven days. On the baseball field, everything continues better than anybody could have hoped for in his long-awaited knee surgery. The left-hander allowed one run over seven innings for the third straight outing and put the Rangers in position to pull one out in the eighth inning for a 2-1 victory over the Braves on Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Rookie right-hander Phil Klein, one of three relievers used in the eighth, retired two of three batters faced to get out of a jam and ended up getting his first Major League victory. Neftali Feliz set down the side in order in the ninth for his ninth save.

"It was fun. The crowd was really into it," Klein said. "I just tried to make my pitches and get out of the jam. Derek threw a great game, I wanted to see if I could get us out of it, have us score and turn it over to Neftali."

He did, and Feliz has been successful on six straight save opportunities. He has also not allowed a run in his last seven appearances.

"Derek threw a very good game," Feliz said. "I just came in, threw all of my pitches and kept the ball down. The more I throw … I'm getting better and better."

The Rangers put the winning run across in the eighth on three straight two-out singles by Adrian Beltre, Ryan Rua and Robinson Chirinos off Braves reliever David Carpenter. Chirinos delivered his game-winning single in his first game after missing 12 days with a stiff neck.

"We were having some pretty good at-bats," Chirinos said. "I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit and hit a line drive. It's good to be back. … Thank God I had a chance to win the game."

Rua was 2-for-4 with a double and a single, and he also drove in the Rangers' first run with a grounder in the sixth inning, He is 9-for-23 with five RBIs in his last seven games and has seven of the Rangers' last 24 RBIs.

"It has been good so far," Rua said. "I'm getting more and more confident with every single game. I haven't seen these pitchers before, so I'm trying to take short quick swings and barrel up the ball."

Holland had to pitch out of some jams as he allowed eight hits while striking out six. The Braves were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and much of that came with Holland getting out of trouble in the middle innings.

"He just got more intensity," Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. "He realized right there that he had to make pitches. That just shows how Derek goes after things every day. We weren't probably going to score a lot of runs off [Braves starter Alex Wood] and he stepped up and did what he had to do."

Holland did not walk a batter for the third straight start and has gone 21 consecutive innings without allowing one. The club record is 29 by Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in 1977. 

Holland is also the second Rangers pitcher to have three straight starts of seven or more innings and no walks. Ferguson Jenkins did so in 1978 while compiling a streak of 28 consecutive innings without a walk.

"That's the thing I'm most happy about is no walks," Holland said. "I'm making my pitches and letting my guys behind me make the plays."

Wood also went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out nine.

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.

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Rangers remain shorthanded in the outfield

Rangers remain shorthanded in the outfield play video for Rangers remain shorthanded in the outfield

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers went into Friday's game against the Braves without a healthy outfielder on the bench. That's unusual in June, it's almost unprecedented in September when the rosters are expanded.

The Rangers' chances of changing that depend on how soon Alex Rios, Jake Smolinski and Jim Adduci come back from the injuries. Right now, Smolinski is the closest, Adduci remains literally in the dark and Rios may have played his last game of the season.

Rios has been dealing with a badly bruised thumb for most of the second half and has been sidelined for a week because of an infection that developed. Rios had the thumb drained last week and had the sutures removed Friday. It will still be at least a few days before Rios can start swinging a bat again.

"It all has to do on how I feel, if it feels completely healed or not," Rios said. "There is the issue of preventing the infection. It's tough. … It's frustrating. I'm a guy who likes to be on the field every day. Not being able to do that is frustrating."

The Rangers aren't sure if Rios will be able to join them on the final road trip to Anaheim.

"I'd like for him to make the trip and if it feels good, take batting practice," manager Tim Bogar said. "It would be nice to get him out there but we're not going to push him. He needs to get it healthy and make sure it doesn't get infected again."

Adduci has been sidelined since Aug. 28. He suffered a concussion when he banged his head on the warning track at Houston's Minute Maid Park and is not yet completely recovered. He has not resumed baseball activities.

Adduci said the headaches have subsided but he is still dealing with some whiplash. He has also been "resting" his brain, which means no extra stimulation.

"No reading, no Jeopardy!, no television," Adduci said. "I'd go back to my room and it would be completely dark. It was like The Shawshank Redemption, going into the hole. I'm going back into the hole."

Adduci made a terrific running catch in foul territory and then fell over second baseman Rougned Odor, who was sliding to get out of the way. Adduci hit his head on the warning track and then slid into the padded wall in front of the stands.

"It was my fault. … I should have called it earlier," Adduci said. "He did his best to get out of the way, like he's taught. He did it the right way. I just called it too late."

Smolinski hasn't played since fracturing a bone in his left foot. But he is taking batting practice and getting close to running full speed. He is planning to run the bases on Sunday, which is usually the last test before a player is ready. He will be on the next road trip and could be ready to play.

"So far the progression hasn't had any setbacks," Smolinski said. "As that keeps going, I should be able to play."

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.

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Baker scratched with sore triceps

Baker scratched with sore triceps play video for Baker scratched with sore triceps

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have scratched pitcher Scott Baker from Saturday's start against the Braves because of tendinitis in his right triceps. Rookie right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla will start in his place at Globe Life Park.

Baker has made seven starts and 17 relief appearances for the Rangers. This is his first full season since missing almost two years while recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. He last pitched on Sept. 5 against the Mariners.

"His arm is a little sore," manager Tim Bogar said. "He has been getting treatment on his triceps. We're going to skip him and see how long it takes. There are no plans other than to let him get his triceps healthy."

Bonilla was one of two pitchers acquired from the Phillies two years ago for infielder Michael Young. The Rangers acquired him as a reliever but turned him into a starter this season while he was pitching at Triple-A Round Rock. He was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts for the Express.

He made his big league debut on Sept. 4 and has made two relief appearances, but this will be his first start in the Majors.

"I'm very proud to get to start a game," Bonilla said.

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.

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Jones honored with Bronze Star

Jones honored with Bronze Star

ARLINGTON -- Before Thursday's game with the Angels, bench coach Bobby Jones was formally awarded his Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.

Jones, who is in his 40th season as a player, Minor League manager and coach in the Rangers organization, is a U.S. Army veteran who served 14 months in Vietnam, from December 1969 to February 1971.

"It's pretty special," Jones said. "I didn't expect any of this, but it's pretty cool that they're doing it."

Then-Corporal Jones was section chief in a 105 millimeter howitzer battery, providing fire support for the infantry. During his tour of duty, Jones suffered significant loss of hearing in his right ear. Over his 14 months at Fire Base Siberia, in a remote section of Vietnam, Jones said, there were no more than eight days in which they did not see combat action.

"We were under attack, and things had happened," Jones said. "I was in charge of a gun pit with six or seven guys under me -- saw a lot of action."

Upon his return from Vietnam, Jones was handed the Bronze Star in a casual manner. He never had the medal officially presented to him from a senior military officer in a ceremony, as is customary, and did not receive the official citation that goes with it.

"I wasn't presented the medal," he said. "The commanding officer pins it on your chest. Well, I never got any of that. I actually got the medal, but it wasn't presented to me. Not sure why it wasn't presented. I got out and came back in February and was discharged. My first wife had [the medal], and then we got divorced and I never saw it. About four or five years ago, my daughter found [the medal], brought it home and gave it to me."

On Thursday, Jones was officially presented the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement while engaged in conflict with an opposing foreign force. Col. R.J. Muraski, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division, headquartered in Dallas, presented the medal along with the accompanying citation.

"I think it's awesome. Incredible," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "People need to see what Bobby's done for this country and the service that he gave. Bobby and I sat today, and he reminisced about his story when he was over there, and it just makes you realize how fortunate we are that we have people to go over and do the things they do so we can live the lives we do."

The ceremony was part of the Rangers' pregame Sept. 11 ceremonies. The Sheppard Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors. and United States Airmen, joined by members of the Arlington Fire and Police Departments, unfurled a large American flag in the outfield. The 531st United States Air Force Quintet performed the national anthem, which was preceded by a moment of silence.

The reception Jones gets now as a veteran is a little different from when he returned from Vietnam in 1971.

"It's cool now, you get on the airplane and everyone claps," he said. "Back then you come back and everyone's spitting and cussing at us; [you're] ashamed to wear your uniform, basically. This honor is awesome. I really appreciate what everyone is doing.

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.

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