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Rangers strike early and often in rout of Mariners

Odor leads charge with historic grand slam; Lewis goes the distance

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SEATTLE -- The Rangers' nine starting offensive players on Wednesday were averaging 4.5 home runs and just over 24 RBIs per man this season. Take Adrian Beltre out of the equation and ...

Well, they had three starters batting in the .170 range, another batting .190 in his last 23 games and yet another playing in just his second Major League game. In other words, just another everyday lineup put out by the Rangers in this extraordinary season. It's been a long time since Texas was seriously out-manned offensively by the Seattle Mariners.

Turns out they weren't -- at least on Wednesday. Every player in the Rangers' lineup scored a run and all but one had a hit in a 12-4 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field. Colby Lewis went the distance for his second complete game this season and the Rangers ended up taking two of three from the Mariners.

"You never know what happens in this game," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I wish it was that easy to predict, but you have to play. We made good things happen today. We executed, we dropped bunts, we hit the long ball ... just played a solid game."

The big blows for the Rangers were a three-run double in the second inning by Tomas Telis in his second Major League game and a grand slam in the third by second baseman Rougned Odor, who was the one hitting .190 in his last 23 games. Leonys Martin celebrated his return to the leadoff spot by going 3-for-4 with a two-run home run.

"Timely hitting today, a big hit by Odor and Telis had a big hit," shortstop Adam Rosales said. "Everybody had good at-bats. Obviously we have a lot of missing parts but we all have the ability and talent. We are all big league players."

Odor, at 20 years and 205 days old, is the youngest player in Rangers history to hit a grand slam. Roy Howell was 21 years and 230 days old when he hit his first grand slam on Aug. 5, 1975, against the Athletics. Odor is the youngest Major League player to go deep with the bases loaded since Jose Reyes (20 years, four days) with the Mets in 2003.

Odor is the first Rangers player to hit a grand slam on the road since Michael Young on Aug. 4, 2010, at Safeco. The Rangers' last 11 grand slams had been in Arlington.

"I'm always trying to do the best I can to help the team win," Odor said. "Sometimes you do good, sometimes you struggle. I feel good right now. I don't look at the numbers, I just go out and play the game."

The Rangers did most of their damage against Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez, who allowed 10 runs in three-plus innings. This is the first time this season the Mariners' pitching staff has allowed at least 10 runs in a game. It had gone 144 games without doing so, the seventh-longest stretch in American League history, and the longest since a 194-game streak by the Yankees in 1975-76.

Lewis took advantage of the support and beat the Mariners for the first time since Sept. 17, 2011. He allowed seven hits, walked just one and struck out seven to raise his record to 9-11 with a 5.44 ERA.

"It's easy to go out and pound the strike zone when the guys give me the opportunity like that," Lewis said. "It's real easy to throw strikes when we score that many runs. You just try to get ahead and throw strike one."

Ramirez retired the side in order in the first, but the Rangers loaded the bases in the second on a one-out walk to James Adduci, a single by Rosales and a two-out hit by pitch to Michael Choice. Telis followed with a high drive into deep right that outfielder Logan Morrison got his glove on and dropped as he crashed into the wall. Three runs scored, and single by Martin drove home Telis.

"It just bounced out," Morrison said. "I don't know. That kind of sums up the day, I guess. I make that play and no runs score, we see what happens. I don't make that play and three runs scored and it's a different game. And, obviously, from there it got worse. That's a play I need to make. But it happens. It's baseball."

The Rangers started the third inning with singles from Mike Carp and Adrian Beltre. Adduci dropped a bunt and beat it out for a hit to load the bases. Adduci was bunting on his own, Washington said.

"I was trying to keep the pressure on," Adduci said. "Get them in scoring position and get some more runs. I was going for a hit, but in those situations there is a little more room for error."

Rosales popped out, but Odor hit a first-pitch cut fastball into the right-field seats to make it 8-0, and the inexplicable rout was on from the inexplicable lineup.

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Rios out of starting lineup to rest sore thumb

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SEATTLE -- A word about Alex Rios' right thumb: bad.

Rios was out of the Rangers' lineup on Wednesday to rest the thumb, which has been bothering him for five weeks. That and a sprained right ankle are two reasons why Rios is hitting .196 with no home runs and 10 RBIs in 30 games since the All-Star break.

"It's sore," Rios said. "It's causing me to make adjustments in my swing that I don't want to do. Those things have implications, and I do things I'm not supposed to be doing. It affects you."

There are no plans to shut down Rios like the Rangers have done with Shin-Soo Choo (bone spur in his left elbow) or pitcher Yu Darvish, who is sidelined indefinitely with mild inflammation in his right elbow.

"That would be ideal to make it better," Rios said. "But even with this I can do a little bit. I like being on the field, and playing in pain is something you have to do. I like being on the field and challenging myself."

Rios sprained his ankle in the second game after the All-Star break and has been dealing with it ever since. Rios said the sprained ankle caused him to adjust his swing, forcing him to use more of his hands in his swing and less of his body. The outfielder said he thinks that's what caused the problem with the thumb.

Rios has pain and swelling, but X-rays taken last week in Miami showed no fracture. Manager Ron Washington said he checks with Rios every day to see if he can play. Most of the time the answer has been yes.

"He's a warrior," Washington said. "I'm going to keep running him out there. I'll give him a break today and see how he feels tomorrow. He is a part of this team. He wants to be there. That's admirable. It shows the young guys that things aren't always the way you want them, but you have to find a way."

Without Rios and Choo available, Washington has been scrambling to put together a lineup. On Wednesday, Mike Carp was hitting third with a .178 batting average, and Jim Adduci was hitting fifth with a .172 average. They were wrapped around Adrian Beltre, whose .327 batting average was 23 points less than the Nos. 3 and 5 hitters combined.

Michael Choice, hitting eighth, was hitting .173. Washington declined to use J.P. Arencibia, who is hitting .174, because he had Elvis Andrus at designated hitter and Adam Rosales at shortstop.

Rougned Odor, who is at .248 for the season but just .190 in his last 23 games entering Wednesday, started at second base. Robinson Chirinos, who is hitting .177 in his last 24 games, got the day off at catcher. Tomas Telis made his second Major League start at catcher.

"It's nobody's fault, we had to go find some bodies," Washington said. "It's an opportunity for those guys to show they are viable pieces. I know what the numbers say, but that's my team. I've got to put them out there. I'm behind them."

Rios' struggles in the second half have left him hitting .281 with four home runs and 52 RBIs on the season. When the campaign is over, the Rangers have to make a decision on Rios' $14 million option for next season.

"It is what it is," Rios said. "I can't do anything about it. It's in their hands to decide what to do with the team. I'm just playing baseball."

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Young bullpen arms impressing Washington

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SEATTLE -- The Rangers' seven-man bullpen includes four rookies who have all made their Major League debuts in the last two months.

So far, they are holding up. Jon Edwards pitched two scoreless innings and Alex Claudio pitched one in the Rangers' 5-0 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday. That left the bullpen with a 2.12 ERA for August -- the third lowest in the Major Leagues -- going into Wednesday's matinee.

"They have been real good," manager Ron Washington said. "These guys have been given an opportunity and they have taken advantage of it. At least we know we have some depth."

Entering Wednesday, Edwards and Claudio had yet to give up a run since being called up, Phil Klein had a 1.12 ERA in his last six games and Roman Mendez had seven scoreless innings over his last eight outings. Mendez has a 1.23 ERA overall since being called up on July 7.

The four have combined to hold right-handed hitters to a .101 batting average (8-for-79), while left-handers are hitting .250 (14-for-56) off them.

"It's definitely a growing experience," Edwards said. "It's all new, but you still play the game the same way, you just continue to make adjustments."

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Rangers, Astros to resume tussle for Silver Boot

Tepesch, McHugh tabbed for opener of four-game set in Houston

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One of the constants for the Rangers since 2007 has been their continued possession of the Silver Boot.

The trophy is awarded to the winner of the season series between Texas and Houston, known as the Lone Star State Series. The Astros have won eight out of 12 against the Rangers this year -- and with seven games to play, this weekend would be a good time for Texas to make a move.

The Rangers must secure a series victory at Minute Maid Park in the four-game set that starts Thursday if they hope to extend their run of Silver Boot triumphs to eight years.

Tasked with getting the Rangers off on the right foot is Nick Tepesch, who's struggled on the road this year (2-4, 4.97 ERA in nine starts). The advantage he has, however, is that he's been effective in Houston, where the Astros have only scored two runs off him in 11 1/3 innings.

Plus, the right-hander has held the Astros to a .210/.269/.323 slash line in three career starts against them.

"I feel like from one outing to the next, since I have been in the big leagues, this is probably the best streak I've had," said Tepesch, who is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in his last four starts. "I just need to keep commanding my fastball and commanding my pitches and stay on the attack."

Collin McHugh will take the hill for Astros in the opener, and he could also benefit from fastball command, which seemed to elude him on Saturday. The right-hander battled through 5 1/3 innings against the Indians, allowing two runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out two.

"The fastball command wasn't great today and they had eight lefties in the lineup so I knew I'd be cutter-heavy going into it," McHugh said after the outing. "Ideally, you'd like to have a better mix of pitches, and I didn't really have my curveball. You battle with what you got, and that's what I had to do."

McHugh still has a 1.76 ERA in his last five starts, which puts him in a good place to help the Astros continue their success against their intra-state rivals. And since McHugh has held righties to a .193 average all year -- and the Rangers don't have many left-handed hitters for him to worry about -- Thursday presents an opportunity for him to string together the first three-game winning streak of his career.

It won't be easy, especially since he will have to face a team coming off a 12-run, 11-hit rout of the Mariners. The Rangers had scored 19 runs and hit .239 in seven games before their 12-4 win in Wednesday's finale at Safeco Field.

Rangers: Holland ready for final rehab start
Derek Holland is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday against Nashville. It will be the sixth and final start on his 30-day medical rehabilitation assignment. If all goes well, Holland could be activated by Sept. 1 and rejoin the Rangers' rotation.

Holland has been sidelined since undergoing offseason surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. He is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in his first five rehab starts.

He threw 87 pitches in his last start against Tacoma on Aug 19, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. This start was pushed back a couple of extra days because of some back spasms over the weekend that weren't serious.

Holland is expected to throw 90-100 pitches Thursday.

Worth noting
• Two batting title contenders will be going head to head this weekend: the Rangers' Adrian Beltre and the Astros' Jose Altuve. Beltre is hitting .385 against the Astros this season but has never faced McHugh. He has a career .325 average at Minute Maid Park. Altuve, meanwhile, has a .307 career average against the Rangers, including .348 this season. He is 3-for-9 against Tepesch.

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Choice eager for fresh start at big league level

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SEATTLE -- Rangers outfielder Michael Choice returned to the big leagues on Tuesday and manager Ron Washington had a chat with him before facing the Mariners.

"I talked to him today about this being a fresh start," Washington said. "He has made adjustments. He still has to clean it up a little bit, but his head is in the right place. He's not confused."

Choice is here because Shin-Soo Choo is on the disabled list with a bone spur in his left elbow that will require season-ending surgery. In 43 games at Triple-A Round Rock, Choice was hitting .267 with seven home runs, 31 RBIs and a .460 slugging percentage. He was hitting .333 with two home runs and nine RBIs in his last seven games.

Choice began the season with the Rangers but was optioned to Round Rock after hitting .177 with eight home runs, 28 RBIs and a .318 slugging percentage. Choice got off to a bad start and was never really able to find himself. He went to Round Rock and said it was almost like starting from scratch.

"I went back to the drawing board, looked at video and reinvented my approach and my mechanics," Choice said. "I cleaned up a lot of things that had created bad habits. Go back and understand what hitting is and be able to put yourself in a good position to hit and in position to be successful.

"I'm taking it as coming back up here with a clean slate. Obviously my stats will be on the board but I'm not going to pay attention to that. I'm taking the approach that we're starting from scratch and it is a whole new season."

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Williams among Texas' prospects set for Fall ball

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SEATTLE -- The Rangers are sending six players to the Arizona Fall League: catcher Patrick Cantwell, outfielder Nick Williams and pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla, Cody Kendall, Josh McElwee and Sam Wolff.

Cantwell, a third-round pick from SUNY Stony Brook in 2012, is hitting .255 with one home run, 31 RBIs and a .316 slugging percentage at Double-A Frisco.

Williams, a second-round pick in 2012 out of Galveston Ball High School, is hitting a combined .291 with 13 home runs, 73 RBIs and a .481 slugging percentage at three different levels. He played most of the season at Class A Myrtle Beach before being promoted this month to Frisco. He is ranked as the fourth-best Rangers prospect by MLB.com.

Kendall, an eighth-round pick in 2012 out of Fresno State, has a combined 1.21 ERA and seven saves at Class A Hickory and Myrtle Beach. McElwee, another reliever and a 20th-round pick in 2012 out of Newberry (S.C.) College, has a 2.63 ERA and six saves at Hickory, Myrtle Beach and Frisco. Wolff, a sixth-round pick in 2013 out of the University of New Mexico, is 8-5 with a 3.46 ERA at Myrtle Beach as a starter.

Bonilla is one of two players acquired from the Phillies for Michael Young two years ago. He is 3-1 with a 4.14 ERA in four starts and 33 relief appearances at Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers acquired him as a reliever but are giving him a chance to start.

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Gallo eclipses his own 40-home run mark

Rangers' No. 1 prospect breaks his personal record with a solo shot in ninth

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In 2013, Joey Gallo became the first teenager to hit 40 home runs in a season in 52 years. Now 20 years old, Gallo eclipsed that total Wednesday, hitting his 41st homer of the season in Frisco's 5-4 victory at Corpus Christi in 11 innings.

Gallo, ranked No. 8 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, hit a solo shot in the ninth inning to tie the game and then drove in the go-ahead run with a groundout in the 11th. He finished the game 1-for-4 with a run, a walk and three RBIs.

The home run was Gallo's first in 10 days and just his fourth in August. He has hit at least eight home runs in every other month this season.

Gallo, the Rangers' No. 1 prospect, began the season with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach. He hit 21 home runs in 58 games with the Pelicans and earned a promotion to the RoughRiders in June. In 64 games with Frisco, he is hitting .235/.328/.529 with 20 home runs. He still leads the Carolina League in homers and ranks second in the Texas League, one behind Corpus Christi first baseman Telvin Nash.

Among all Minor Leaguers, Gallo ranks second in homers, trailing only Cubs' No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant, who has hit 43. Gallo is the first player to hit 40 home runs in back-to-back Minor League seasons since Ron Kittle hit 40 home runs in 1981 and 50 in 1982.

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Rangers win challenge to erase double play

Texas doesn't capitalize after overturned call extends third inning

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SEATTLE -- The Rangers couldn't take advantage of an overturned call that worked in their favor on Tuesday night against the Mariners.

The play occurred with one out in the top of the third and the Rangers trailing, 2-0, against Mariners starter James Paxton. The Rangers had Robinson Chirinos at second and Daniel Robertson at first with Elvis Andrus at the plate.

Andrus hit a grounder back to Paxton, who threw to second to start the double play. The throw was low but second baseman Robinson Cano handled it and delivered the relay to first.

Andrus was signaled out by first-base umpire Tim Timmons, but the Rangers asked for an appeal and the call was overturned. That allowed Alex Rios to bat with runners at the corners with two outs. But he grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.

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Bats go quiet as Martinez struggles in Seattle

Rangers drop battle of rookie starters; Rios exits with thumb injury

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SEATTLE -- The Rangers' hopes of their first three-game winning streak since June 11-14 were snatched away by the Mariners and left-hander James Paxton on Tuesday night.

In a meeting of rookie starters, Paxton held the Rangers scoreless on four singles through 6 2/3 innings in the Mariners' 5-0 victory at Safeco Field. Paxton beat Rangers starter Nick Martinez, who allowed five runs in five innings.

"He just didn't command the baseball the way he has been earlier," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He couldn't get his fastball where he wanted it and he couldn't get his breaking ball over with any consistency and he left his changeup up a lot. He just didn't have his command."

Adrian Beltre had two of the Rangers' four singles. Alex Rios was 0-for-3 with three groundouts and was lifted in the eighth for pinch-hitter Jim Adduci. Rios is dealing with a bruised right thumb that showed considerable swelling after the game. He probably won't play in Wednesday afternoon's series finale.

"I'm having a little issue," Rios said. "It is what it is."

Against the Rangers' limited lineup, Paxton showed why pitching has pushed the Mariners into playoff contention in the American League. The Mariners have a team ERA of 2.92 and are trying to become the first AL team to finish under 3.00 in a full season since the 1974 Athletics.

"He was good," Washington said. "He is one of their promising young arms. He throws hard and drops some good breaking balls in there. He moved his fastball around with some velocity. He has a good arm."

Paxton, a fourth-round pick in 2010 out of the University of Kentucky, was making his 11th Major League start while Martinez, an 18th-round pick in 2011 out of Fordham University, was making his 18th start.

The much bigger difference between the two is Paxton has more than 300 innings of experience at the Double-A and Triple-A levels of the Minor Leagues. Martinez has just over 40, all at Double-A.

He has been forced to get his experience in the American League, and Tuesday's loss left him 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA on the season. He is the sixth Rangers rookie pitcher to lose at least 10 games in his first season.

"I didn't think it would be like this but that's how it turned out," Martinez said. "I would much rather learn going 25-0."

This is the most losses and highest ERA (minimum 100 IP) by a Rangers rookie since Derek Holland went 9-13 with a 6.12 ERA in 2009. Holland recovered from that to pitch in two World Series. Washington said Martinez's lack of experience has been evident throughout the season.

"It's hurt him," Washington said. "When things aren't going as well as he'd like, he's still trying to find out how to get back in sync. He was out there competing tonight, he just couldn't find a way to get back in sync. That's inexperience."

Martinez allowed six hits and walked four, the second most for him in a start this season. The walks figured prominently in the Mariners scoring.

"I was nibbling," Martinez said. "I was trying to make too fine of pitches and walks killed me. It comes from being over-confident ... confident that I can hit my spot and that's trying to be too fine."

Martinez retired the first two hitters he faced on ground balls before Robinson Cano hit a 1-1 curve over the right-field wall to give the Mariners the lead.

In the second, Martinez gave up a leadoff single to Kyle Seager and one-out walks to Chris Taylor and Endy Chavez to load the bases. Jesus Sucre followed with a grounder down the third-base line. Adrian Beltre made an outstanding play and strong throw to first for the out but Seager scored on the play.

Martinez started another Mariners rally in the fourth by walking Logan Morrison. Taylor followed with a single and both scored on a double by Chavez. The Rangers did get Chavez trying to go to third on the throw to the plate. But the Mariners added another run in the inning on a triple by Austin Jackson and a single by Dustin Ackley.

"I thought I was making good pitches," Martinez said. "But it all comes back to being too fine with the fastball."

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Baker preparing for Friday start in Houston

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SEATTLE -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said Scott Baker is staying in the rotation and will pitch Friday against the Astros. It will be Baker's sixth start of the season but the first time he makes back-to-back starts without a relief appearance since May 23 and 27.

Washington said that could change if Baker is needed out of the bullpen before then. But Baker also threw a 37-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday in preparation for Friday's start against the Astros. He allowed one run in five innings in a 3-1 victory over the Royals on Sunday.

Baker is in the rotation because Yu Darvish is on the disabled list with mild inflammation in his right elbow and may not pitch again this season.

The Rangers are still expecting Derek Holland back in the rotation in September. Holland, recovering from offseason knee surgery, is scheduled to pitch Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock on what is his last start on medical rehabilitation assignment. The Rangers plan to activate him and put him back in the rotation when the rosters expand in September.

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Telis catches shutout in Major League debut

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SEATTLE -- Rangers catcher Tomas Telis caught a shutout in his first Major League start on Monday. He is off to almost the exact same start to his career as Jim Sundberg.

Sundberg, who is now in the Rangers Hall of Fame, made his first big league start on April 6, 1974, with Ferguson Jenkins on the mound against the world champion Athletics. With Sundberg behind the plate for nine innings, Jenkins allowed one single and one walk while striking out 10 in a 2-0 victory in the Rangers' second game of the season.

Sundberg was 1-for-2 at the plate with a run scored. He also threw out the first two attempted base stealers in his long and highly decorated defensive career. They were the only two baserunners against Jenkins that day.

Former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez also had a successful Major League debut. He arrived in the big leagues on June 20, 1991, and was the starting catcher in a 7-3 win over the White Sox. He was 1-for-4 and also threw out two baserunners.

Telis was the first rookie to catch a shutout in his Major League debut since Jason Kendall for the Pirates on April 1, 1996, against the Marlins.

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Choo to have season-ending elbow surgery

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SEATTLE -- Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is expected to undergo surgery to have a bone spur removed from his left elbow as early as Friday and will not play again this season. The Rangers called up outfielder Michael Choice from Triple-A Round Rock to replace him.

Choo has been bothered by elbow problems since Spring Training although he has been trying to play through both that and a sprained right ankle. The Rangers were planning to shut him down at the beginning of September but moved that up a week because he came down with the flu this past weekend and has been running a fever. He did not travel with the Rangers to Seattle.

The Rangers want him to get the elbow cleaned up because the recovery time is two months. They want him back at full strength by Nov. 1 so he can go through a full, normal offseason conditioning program. That's why they had targeted Sept. 1 as the shutdown date.

"It cleared up for the most part after Spring Training," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It bothered him on long throws and hard throws. He was aware of it. We want to get it completely cleaned up."

Choo, who signed a seven-year, $130 million contract as a free agent this offseason, finished his first season with the Rangers hitting .242 with 58 runs scored, 13 home runs, 40 RBIs, a .340 on-base percentage and a .374 slugging percentage. All batting, slugging and on-base percentages were his lowest since he began playing regularly in 2008.

"More than anything, the ankle played a big part early," manager Ron Washington said. "Once that got rolling, he couldn't stop it. In this game when things go south, it's hard to correct."

Washington still suggested that in some ways, Choo had a "strong" first season with the Rangers.

"With all the adversity, he didn't shut it down," Washington said. "He kept fighting. I admire the way he went about his business through all the adversity. It was tough but he didn't complain."

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Mikolas sharp as Rangers collect 16th shutout

Telis earns praise for calling four-hitter in big league debut

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SEATTLE -- In a season of despair, the Rangers' pitchers are carving out their own esoteric spot in Major League history.

The Rangers have thrown 16 shutouts this season despite having a team ERA of 4.71. That's the most shutouts in a season in Major League history by a team with an ERA of 4.50 of higher.

That piece of trivia is brought to you by pitcher Miles Mikolas and rookie catcher Tomas Telis as those two led the way in the latest shutout, the Rangers' 2-0 victory over the Mariners on Monday night.

Mikolas ended with a career-high eight innings in his 10th Major League start before Neftali Feliz closed it out in the ninth. Telis -- making his Major League debut -- was the one calling pitches and seemed in control right up to the end, when he called the changeup that Robinson Cano flied to center for the final out.

"It was fun," Mikolas said. "I told [Telis] before the game, let's just go out and have fun. I'm a rookie too and I've never pitched against this team. We were both in the same boat, so we sort of bonded over that. I think I only shook him off a handful of times. We were definitely on the same page most of the game."

Telis also had a bunt single that helped the Rangers add their second run.

"It felt pretty good," said Telis, who was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday after Geovany Soto was traded to the Athletics. "My first big league game. I felt a little nervous in the first inning but after that I felt pretty good."

"Telis did a tremendous job," manager Ron Washington said. "He had a steady hand and caught every pitch where it was thrown. He didn't pull anything out of the zone. He was locked in tonight."

So was Mikolas, who allowed just three singles, walked one and struck out five. He is now 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six road starts as opposed to 0-4 with a 13.73 ERA in four starts in Arlington. Opponents are hitting .201 on the road and .385 in Arlington.

"He needs to work on his consistency, but tonight he was very good," Washington said. "He was executing all his pitches. He was right where he wanted to be and used all of his pitches. You have to give him a lot of credit against a team that has been playing very well. Tonight is a step in the right direction for him."

The Mariners entered the game having won 16 of their last 22 games before Mikolas cooled them. His forte is throwing strikes and changing speeds, and he gets in trouble when his location is off because he doesn't have tremendous stuff. But his location was pinpoint on Monday. He was also able to get a couple of double plays in key spots when he needed them.

"I was making good pitches inside the strike zone," Mikolas said. "Not just strikes but quality pitches, good pitches. I really controlled the fastball, that was a big key today. It was great, especially knowing coming in they were a hot team. I just ignored that fact and pitched my game and got us a win."

"I thought he had good stuff. His fastball jumps on you," Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison said. "He has a four-seamer and a two-seamer. His breaking balls were tight and kept us off-balance. I think he threw strikes and missed barrels. Even when we did hit him hard, we found gloves. I think we had a lot of hard-hit balls tonight. It's part of the game."

The Rangers gave Mikolas a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning against Mariners starter Roenis Elias. Elvis Andrus led off with a single, Adrian Beltre drew a one-out walk and J.P. Arencibia singled to left to drive home the run.

The Rangers scratched out another run in the seventh against reliever Brandon Maurer. Leonys Martin led off with a high chopper over the mound that Cano barehanded on the run but threw wildly to first base.

Martin ended up on second. Telis dropped a bunt that moved Andrus to third but also beat third baseman Kyle Seager's throw to first, giving him an infield single and his first Major League hit.

With runners at the corners, Rougned Odor hit a grounder at shortstop Chris Taylor and the Mariners could only get the force at second as Martin came across for the Rangers' second run.

"Tonight was all about pitching," Washington said. "They have pitching over there but we were able to take advantage of some of the things we created. We've got to continue to do those things. But tonight was about pitching on both sides and Mikolas did a tremendous job."

Mikolas ended up throwing 92 pitches but Washington was not tempted to send him out for the ninth. He called on Feliz instead.

"That's Neftali's inning," Washington said. "Neftali is the closer and I wanted to close the game."

Feliz preserved the shutout and the Rangers' place in baseball esoteric history.

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Clock ticking on Darvish's return this season

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Clock ticking on Darvish's return this season play video for Clock ticking on Darvish's return this season

SEATTLE -- The chances of Yu Darvish pitching for the Rangers again this season are all but vanishing completely. General manager Jon Daniels admitted that the calendar is starting to work against the Rangers at this point.

Darvish, who is on the disabled list with mild inflammation in his right elbow, has still not resumed throwing. He last pitched on Aug. 9 and the longer he goes without throwing, the harder it will be for him to pitch again this season.

"The way we left it is that once he is [without symptoms], and cleared by Dr. [Keith] Meister, he'll get another MRI," Daniels said. "If that MRI is clear, we'll let him get back out there. But once a guy is down for three weeks, he's not going to go right back into a big league game. So the calendar is not working in his favor."

The Rangers arrived in Seattle with 33 games left to play in the season. Darvish did not accompany the Rangers to Seattle.

"I want to finish strong," Daniels said. "Nobody wants to lose. We're better when he is out there. But we're trying to step back and have perspective ... shame on me if this lingers into 2015. We have had a lot of guys hurt this year and it has not been fun. We don't want to go into the offseason with questions lingering.

"We might be better served to wait."

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Texas loses review on bases-loaded grounder

Out call stands on Rangers' challenge of force play at 1B in fourth inning

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Texas loses review on bases-loaded grounder play video for Texas loses review on bases-loaded grounder

SEATTLE -- The Rangers were hoping instant replay would deliver Tomas Telis' first Major League hit and RBI. That didn't turn out to be the case.

Telis, called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday to make his Major League debut, came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning. The Rangers were leading 1-0 at the time.

Telis hit a slow grounder to the right side that Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano fielded going to his left on the outside grass. He did a full turn and fired to first baseman Logan Morrison, who appeared to adjust his feet reaching for the bag, to get Telis for the third out of the inning.

Manager Ron Washington challenged the call, but it stood upon replay.

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Up from Triple-A, Telis to share catching duties

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Up from Triple-A, Telis to share catching duties play video for Up from Triple-A, Telis to share catching duties

SEATTLE -- Catcher Tomas Telis, called up from Triple-A Round Rock, went right into the lineup on Monday night, getting his first Major League start against the Mariners.

"It's a dream come true since I was a boy," Telis said. "It has been a long time, seven years as a Minor Leaguer."

Telis was called up after the Rangers traded Geovany Soto to the Athletics and Chris Gimenez to the Indians over the weekend. Manager Ron Washington said Telis and Robinson Chirinos will share the catching duties for the remainder of the season with J.P. Arencibia available in an emergency.

"We haven't really sat down to see how it will all play out but both will play," Washington said.

Telis has been overshadowed as a catcher in his Minor League career by Jorge Alfaro, who is considered one of the Rangers top overall prospects. But Telis has always been considered to have substantial offensive potential, and his defensive game has made significant progress since he underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in 2010.

"The best thing he does is his throwing," said Hector Ortiz, the Rangers' Minor League catching coordinator. "He has very quick feet and a strong arm. His blocking is good. His receiving in the past had some issues but [lately] it has been very good. He is not the best receiver in the world but he gets it done."

Telis, a switch-hitter, hit .318 with 23 doubles, five home runs and 50 RBIs over 106 games between Double-A Frisco and Round Rock this season. He was hitting .345 in 36 games at Round Rock.

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Daniels: Holland to make rehab start Thursday

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Daniels: Holland to make rehab start Thursday play video for Daniels: Holland to make rehab start Thursday

ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland simply reached down to pick something off the ground in the dugout during Friday's game before feeling a sharp twinge in his back.

A team trainer took him behind the dugout but couldn't put much pressure on Holland's back without him being in serious pain. He couldn't sit down or turn around, much less pitch.

"I didn't realize how fragile I am," Holland said. "A freak thing, as always… I was just like, 'You've got to be kidding. Is this seriously happening?'"

The back spasms kept the Rangers' left-hander from making his sixth rehab start in Las Vegas for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, although general manager Jon Daniels said he'll make it Thursday -- the last day of his 30-day rehab assignment.

"He'll go out and play catch tomorrow, do some flat-ground work on Tuesday and, if all goes well, he'll start Thursday for Round Rock," Daniels said.

Holland says his back pain is a thing of the past and that he is ready to pitch. He has missed all of this season while recovering from left knee surgery, but is itching to take the mound as a big leaguer again.

"There's no doubt I'm ready. That's for sure. It's just now, are they ready for me to come back?" Holland said. "I'll take whatever they give me. I'm happy to be playing after what I've been through."

"Derek's been saying he's been ready to go since we've had him out there," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "Now we've just got to wait and see how he recovers from the back spasms and go from there."

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Baker gives Rangers a boost, bullpen finishes off win

Righty allows a run in five innings; relievers deliver four scoreless

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Baker gives Rangers a boost, bullpen finishes off win play video for Baker gives Rangers a boost, bullpen finishes off win

ARLINGTON -- Last season, Scott Baker and Shawn Tolleson spent most of the year recovering -- Baker from Tommy John surgery and Tolleson from back surgery.

The year before that, Neal Cotts was wondering whether he would ever play baseball again after undergoing Tommy John surgery himself, along with four hip surgeries that kept him out of baseball for three entire seasons.

After having Tommy John surgery in 2012, Neftali Feliz is still on his way to returning to pre-injury form.

Yet those four combined to turn in an outstanding pitching performance in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park. Baker, pitching on 11 days' rest, gave up just one run on five hits over five innings to earn his first win as a starter in more than three years while the bullpen allowed just one baserunner over four scoreless innings in the victory.

"We had all the confidence in the world that he would go out there and pitch his game and give us a chance," said Rangers manager Ron Washington of Baker. "He certainly went beyond the call of duty to have not been out there in 11 days and throw strikes the way he threw them and move the ball the way he did."

The Rangers scored a run in each of the first three innings. Daniel Robertson, batting leadoff in place of an ill Shin-Soo Choo, doubled to right to begin the home first before Elvis Andrus singled and moved him to third. Adrian Beltre doubled down the left-field line, but Alex Gordon threw Andrus out at the plate to keep the score 1-0.

"There's no formula for it. If there was a formula for it, everybody would have it," Robertson said. "If we have guys on base, we have chances to score runs. The guys behind me drive in runs like they've been doing it for years."

Leonys Martin sparked the second-inning rally by laying down a bunt that Royals starter Jason Vargas threw into right field, allowing the Rangers center fielder to go to second with one out. Adam Rosales followed with an RBI double to left that made it a 2-0 Rangers.

"[Rosales] has certainly been getting us some big hits," Washington said. "He can grow on you. He got a chance to play and he got a chance to show you that he can play. He's been doing a tremendous job."

In the third, Alex Rios hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by Robinson Chirinos, a late addition to the lineup who went 2-for-3 after Geovany Soto was scratched from the lineup and later traded to the A's. The Rangers pounded out 11 hits off Vargas, who struck out three and walked four in six innings.

Outside forces impacted Vargas' performance, Royals manager Ned Yost said.

"When the strike zone is shrunk, it doesn't play to his advantage," Yost said. "I thought there were 10 or 12 pitches that could've gone his way and didn't. And that changes the whole at-bat. You look at 10 or 12 at-bats that get changed -- he went six innings and faced 25? That's half the batters."

Baker surrendered a 361-foot leadoff homer to Billy Butler in the fourth but it was all the Royals could muster against the Rangers' right-hander. After starting the season 0-3 with a 5.75 ERA in his first 20 appearances, Baker is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last two outings.

"For me, it's never been an issue, having that many days off from pitching, throwing the ball over," Baker said. "It's a matter of making good two-strike pitches. I think early on I wasn't doing that. I got away with a few pitches but as the game went on, I made the adjustment and started making some better pitches."

Thanks to a stellar performance by the Rangers bullpen, Butler was the only Royal to advance past second base. Tolleson and Cotts combined to retire all nine batters they faced, with Tolleson fanning two in his two innings of work and Cotts striking out a pair in a scoreless eighth. Feliz pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

"We all threw the ball well," Cotts said. "The whole group was outstanding. Baker threw the heck out of it in a spot start. That's about as much as you can ask for from a guy coming in like that."

That ensured that the three runs scored by the Rangers would hold up, unlike in a pair of 6-3 losses to the Royals the previous two days. The Rangers left the bases loaded in the fourth and stranded men at second and third in the fifth, but were able to pick up their fifth win in their last six series finales.

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Rangers deal Soto to AL West-rival A's for cash

Trade comes a day after Gimenez dealt to Indians; Telis recalled from Minors

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Rangers deal Soto to AL West-rival A's for cash play video for Rangers deal Soto to AL West-rival A's for cash

ARLINGTON -- Another day, another Rangers catcher traded.

This time, it was Geovany Soto getting dealt to the division-rival A's on Sunday for cash considerations -- less than 24 hours after the Rangers traded fellow catcher Chris Gimenez to the Indians. The Rangers have purchased the contract of Triple-A Round Rock catcher Tomas Telis, who will replace Soto on the roster effective Monday. Telis will team with starter Robinson Chirinos to handle the catching duties.

"We wanted to take a look at both of those guys. Plus it gives [Soto] an opportunity to go out and win," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "[Telis] is a guy we had to make a decision on this winter. He's really taken a step forward with his game."

Chirinos, who went 2-for-3 with a walk in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Royals, is batting .232 and slugging .409 this year. His 11 home runs are the third-most on the team and his 33 RBIs are the fourth-most on the squad despite playing in only 79 games this season.

"I knew at some point I was going to be an everyday guy in the big leagues," Chirinos said. "I've always believed I could be an everyday catcher in the Major Leagues, even when I was in the Minor Leagues."

Soto started the season on the 60-day disabled list with a torn meniscus in his right knee, an injury he suffered in Spring Training. He has spent most of the season on the DL, not making his season debut until July 18 -- only to be placed back on the DL four days later with a strained right groin.

After a second stint, this one only lasting a little longer than two weeks, Soto returned to the Rangers on Aug. 8 following a five-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock. Soto has hit .237 with one home run and three RBIs, striking out 11 times without a walk.

Soto spent the first 11 years of his career with the Cubs before they traded him to the Rangers the day before the 2012 Trade Deadline. In 111 games with the Rangers since then, Soto has batted .223 with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs.

Chirinos said that he was shocked upon learning that Soto had been traded, along with Soto himself.

"He was a great teammate, great clubhouse guy and I didn't think at this point he was going to be traded," Chirinos said. "You never know with this game. You can be here today and not know where you're going to be tomorrow."

Soto joins an A's team that boasts the highest batting average (.286), on-base percentage (.363) and slugging percentage (.457) by their catchers this season in the American League. Derek Norris is hitting .284 in 98 games with the A's, John Jaso is batting .264 in 99 games and Stephen Vogt has posted a .324 batting average in 63 contests.

But Jaso has been experiencing concussion-like symptoms that could put him on the disabled list and Vogt has a bruised right foot that will keep him from catching unless an emergency situation presents itself.

As for the Rangers, Chirinos is now the only catcher with Major League experience.

"He's a really good influence on all the guys and has a tremendous work ethic," Daniels said. "Defensively, he's really come into his own and I think offensively, he's shown some signs. He still has some growth. He's shown he can be one of two guys on a staff. Can he be more than a backup? That's something we'll continue to look at."

Telis, in his seventh year in the Rangers' farm system, is hitting .345 with three home runs and 17 RBIs for Round Rock since being promoted on July 17. Telis was a Texas League All-Star twice while playing for Double-A Frisco and batted .303 with two home runs and 33 RBIs in 70 games before going to Round Rock.

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Andrus seeing ball better

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Andrus seeing ball better play video for Andrus seeing ball better

ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus started this season in a slump, his batting average plummeting to .217 at one point in early May.

But the Rangers shortstop has hit .287 in the 98 games since, and was up to .271 on the season entering Sunday. Andrus is hitting .289 in August, and is close to doing something this month that he hasn't done all year -- walk more than times than he strikes out.

"I usually always get more walks in the second half than the first half," Andrus said. "Early in the year, I think everybody's figuring out how to throw you so I'm a little more aggressive. Usually in the second half, I know what their plan is going to be against me so I have a better idea on how to have better at-bats."

Andrus has walked 10 times this month, one shy of a season-high, and struck out 11 times. In his career, he has walked 8.1 percent and struck out 13 percent of his second-half plate appearances while walking 7.9 and striking out 13.5 percent of his first-half plate appearances. Andrus is also a better second-half hitter than in the first half, batting .280 after the All-Star break and .269 before it over his career.

"Early in the year, I was actually hitting a lot of ground balls to third and shortstop," Andrus said. "When I do that, I know my approach is not in the right place. Right now, I'm hitting the ball more middle and away and that means I'm seeing the ball, letting it travel a little longer."

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Tepesch can't hold down first-place Royals

Righty allows six runs in 6 1/3 innings; bats quiet after Choo's HR

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Tepesch can't hold down first-place Royals play video for Tepesch can't hold down first-place Royals

ARLINGTON -- For the first time in a month, Nick Tepesch struggled on the mound and the Rangers' bats -- as has usually been the case -- went cold after Shin-Soo Choo's leadoff home run in a 6-3 loss to the Royals at Globe Life Park on Saturday night.

Tepesch had posted a 2.45 ERA in his previous four starts, but could not keep the Royals at bay Saturday. He grooved a 91 mph first-inning fastball to Alex Gordon, who knocked it off the top of the right-field foul pole to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead.

Tepesch was cruising until the fifth inning, when he issued three four-pitch walks, the last of them to Jarrod Dyson, forcing in a run. Omar Infante then came through with a two-run single to center, putting the Rangers in a 4-1 hole.

"I couldn't find it. It was one of those bad innings I guess," Tepesch said. "I felt like I was a little all over the place all night. I think that inning was the worst of it obviously. But I was constantly trying to find my lanes and that inning, it was just one of those things where I really struggled to find it."

Choo sent the first pitch Jeremy Guthrie threw into the bullpen beyond the wall in left-center for his third leadoff homer this year and 14th since 2012, the most in the Majors. It was his fourth career home run on the first pitch of a game.

"The first pitch was actually a pretty good pitch," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "It was a fastball that was down. You're trying to get ahead on the first pitch of the game and it was down, it wasn't a bad pitch. But Choo did a good job of taking it out of the ballpark the other way."

Guthrie retired the next 12 Rangers hitters he faced and did not allow another run, surrendering just four more hits -- all singles -- over the eight innings he pitched. The Rangers had a runner on second with two out in the fifth and sixth innings but could not push any more runs across against Guthrie.

"There's nothing we can do about it," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We have to keep our heads up and keep fighting. Sooner or later, we're for sure going to put up runs and get the offense going. We've got to keep trying. There's another month of baseball."

The Royals tacked on a couple of runs in the seventh with another two-run single, this one from Dyson. Tepesch surrendered singles to Erik Kratz and Lorenzo Cain to start the inning before a sacrifice bunt by Alcides Escobar moved the runners to second and third. Alex Claudio replaced Tepesch but could not stop the bleeding and gave up the hit to Dyson.

"We're putting it all together at the right time," Yost said. "We're doing a great job offensively. We're getting clutch hits, we're getting big hits, we're getting runners on, we're taking advantage of mistakes -- and that's been the difference."

Leonys Martin nearly threw out Cain at the plate, prompting a challenge on the play from Rangers manager Ron Washington. But after a 35-second review, the call was confirmed and Cain remained safe.

That play closed the book on Tepesch, who allowed six runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking three -- all in the fifth inning. He fell to 4-8 on the year and is winless in all but one of his last nine starts.

"He didn't command much of anything tonight," Washington said of Tepesch. "He was out there competing. He just didn't have his best command tonight. … He didn't have the stuff he had in previous starts, but he made some pitches when he had to."

It wasn't until the Rangers were down to their last out that they got a hit with a runner in scoring position. Alex Rios drew a two-out walk in the ninth before Adrian Beltre singled to left and went to second base on catchers' indifference. Martin followed with a two-run single that made it a more respectable 6-3 deficit but it wasn't enough as J.P. Arencibia flied out to center to end the game.

The Rangers are now 30 games below .500 for the first time since 1985.

"When we get something going, we have to get the hits to cash it in," Washington said. "We just couldn't sustain anything. We'll get an inning going but hit into a double play and can't get two, three or four hits back to back. We put something together in the ninth but, once again, we just fell short."

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Schieffer gets moment with induction into Rangers Hall

Former team president had integral role in building of ballpark

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Schieffer gets moment with induction into Rangers Hall play video for Schieffer gets moment with induction into Rangers Hall

ARLINGTON -- Former team president Tom Schieffer was inducted to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame on Saturday, fittingly in the ballpark he was such an integral part of building.

Schieffer and his wife, Susanne, rode on to the field at Globe Life Park from the left-field fence in a white Lexus, waving to the crowd before stopping just outside the third-base dugout. After being introduced by Rangers broadcaster Tom Grieve -- the club's general manager when Schieffer was working to open what was first known as The Ballpark in Arlington -- the former executive and diplomat was officially inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame.

"Today I have received one of baseball's highest honors," Schieffer said. "For someone who had no arm, no speed and no power, being inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame is a pretty daunting event. To get here, you have to have a lot of luck and a lot of help. And I had an abundance of both."

Schieffer became the 17th member of the club's Hall of Fame and the sixth to be inducted in a non-playing capacity. He was a part of the ownership group led by George W. Bush and Rusty Rose that bought the team in 1989, and was tasked with the challenge of building the Rangers a new ballpark.

"More than any sport, love is handed down in baseball… for Tom Schieffer, this project was a true labor of love," Grieve said. "They selected the absolute perfect man for the job. His planning was meticulous and his attention to detail was remarkable… I can almost guarantee that his life's crowning achievement was building this magnificent ballpark."

Schieffer was named team president after securing funding for the ballpark through a 1991 bond election and The Ballpark in Arlington opened three years later. During his nine-year tenure, the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation was created in 1992, the Rangers hosted the 1995 All-Star Game and they made their first ever postseason appearance by winning the AL West in 1996.

"This ballpark and this franchise will always have a special place in my heart," Schieffer said. "The ownership group I was a part of was a tremendous group with a common goal to build a model franchise on and off the field."

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Schieffer graduated from Arlington Heights High School in 1966 before obtaining bachelor's, master's and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He also established himself as a distinguished diplomat, serving as the United States ambassador to Australia and Japan during Bush's presidency.

"I want to congratulate my dear friend Tom Schieffer for being inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame," Bush said in a video that played during the ceremony before Saturday's game. "Tom's a baseball fan, a loyal man and he sure knows how to build a ballpark."

Schieffer returned to baseball briefly when Commissioner Bud Selig appointed him to run the Dodgers in 2011 as the team went through an ownership dispute. When the team declared bankruptcy in June that year, Schieffer's time overseeing the Dodgers' operations was over after just two months. But Selig was grateful.

"He's one of the best executives I've ever known," said Selig, also via video. "One of my favorite people, as well as baseball executives. He just did a brilliant job… He has my undying gratitude and admiration and respect. Since he's come to help us at Major League Baseball, he's been tremendous."

Schieffer was also thankful for those who helped him along his baseball journey -- his family, Rangers fans, Arlington residents, the 200 full-time employees under him during his time as team president, the 2,300 part-time employees and the 5,500 people who helped design and construct the ballpark two decades ago.

"It was the most creative process I have ever known," said Schieffer, before referring to a plaque known to those working on the ballpark. "Part of the inscription said, 'When the many become one, all dreams can be fulfilled.' We were one when we built this ballpark."

Schieffer was especially appreciative to the game of baseball itself.

"Baseball can be magic. It can make a preacher cuss, an optimist cry and a pessimist believe," Schieffer said. "Baseball has been so good to me. I've loved it since I was a little boy throwing a rubber ball against a stone wall, pretending it was the seventh game of the World Series.

"There is a healing spirit in baseball that comes from the unwritten rules of the game. It is called respect," Schieffer continued. "You're expected to learn that and never, ever feel entitled to anything in baseball. If you do that, respect will follow. If you don't, respect will be lost. Respect can never be purchased with money, title or even talent. It must always be earned. There's not a better standard for a game or for life."

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Rangers, Royals each lose replay challenge

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Rangers, Royals each lose replay challenge play video for Rangers, Royals each lose replay challenge

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington lost his fourth straight challenge during the seventh inning of Saturday's game against the Royals.

With runners on second and third, Jarrod Dyson lined an Alex Claudio offering into center for a two-run single to give the Royals a 6-1 lead. Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin fired home, attempting to throw out Lorenzo Cain, who slid in safely.

Washington promptly walked out of the dugout to challenge the play, but the call was confirmed after just a 35-second review. It was the second-shortest review for a play challenged by Washington this year, eclipsed only by 20 seconds for a play Washington challenged in last Friday's loss to the Angels.

After getting the call reversed on 17 of his first 27 challenges, Washington is now 0-for-4 since his last successful challenge on Aug. 9.

Earlier in the game, Royals manager Ned Yost challenged a safe call on Elvis Andrus' stolen base in the Rangers' sixth inning and lost.

An instant replay review in New York confirmed that Andrus was safe on catcher Erik Kratz's throw to second baseman Omar Infante. That gave Yost a 19-12 record in reviews this season.

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Rangers trade Gimenez to Indians

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Rangers trade Gimenez to Indians play video for Rangers trade Gimenez to Indians

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers traded catcher Chris Gimenez to the Indians for future considerations Saturday. Gimenez, who accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock last Tuesday, will join Cleveland's big league team.

Gimenez batted .262 with a .331 on-base percentage, .355 slugging percentage and 11 RBIs in 33 games with Rangers. He made 29 starts, 26 at catcher and three at first base. Gimenez hit .284 with six home runs and 22 RBIs in 39 games with Round Rock, which is on the road in Salt Lake City while the Indians are currently hosting the Astros.

The 31-year-old began Spring Training this year with the A's before the Rangers claimed him off waivers three days before Opening Day. Needing depth at catcher with Geovany Soto beginning the season on the 60-day disabled list, Gimenez was one of three catchers to make the Rangers' Opening Day roster.

Gimenez was designated for assignment just one day after the Rangers' season opener and later released, only to be re-signed less than a week later on April 10. He spent more than a month with Triple-A Round Rock before being called up May 20. Five days after being placed on paternity leave Aug. 4 as his wife was preparing to give birth, Gimenez was again designated for assignment.

This time, he accepted his outright assignment to Round Rock, where he hit .400 with two homers and six RBIs in seven games before being traded Saturday.

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Lewis, Rangers can't hold down first-place Royals

Veteran righty allows four runs, including two homers, in six innings

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Lewis, Rangers can't hold down first-place Royals play video for Lewis, Rangers can't hold down first-place Royals

ARLINGTON -- Exactly a year ago, Colby Lewis had the second of two season-ending surgeries when he had an operation to repair a torn right hip flexor.

There was no guarantee Lewis would ever pitch on a big league mound again, much less at the high level he was pitching at before the elbow surgery two years ago. It's been an up-and-down season for Lewis, who didn't have a quality start until his 14th outing this year, but who also hurled a shutout earlier this month.

Lewis made his team-best 23rd start Friday night, but took the loss as the Rangers fell to the first-place Royals, 6-3, at Globe Life Park. He allowed four runs on six hits -- two of them home runs -- while striking out two in six innings. The Rangers offense began the night 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and was unable to give Lewis enough run support.

"It's kind of crazy. I didn't think that I would go up there and throw the most innings on this squad, having a hip replacement the year before," Lewis said. "I felt really good warming up in the bullpen but it didn't quite transfer. But I was able to go six innings and keep it as close as possible. Unfortunately, we didn't win."

Lewis' day began harmlessly enough as he retired the side in the first inning and took a 1-0 lead into the second, thanks to an RBI groundout by Adrian Beltre. But Lewis couldn't deliver a shutdown inning, starting the frame by serving up a 417-foot homer to left off the bat of Billy Butler.

Later in the inning, Lewis allowed singles to each of the last three hitters in the Royals lineup -- Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar -- to put the Rangers in a 3-1 hole.

"He just couldn't get the ball down," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "After that, he settled in. When he left the game, we were still in it. Just needed to get some offense going."

The fourth inning started the same way the second inning did for Lewis, with Josh Willingham leading off with a 408-foot blast to left-center, extending the Royals' lead to 4-1. Lewis retired the last eight batters he faced, but the damage had been done.

"He gives you fastballs to hit most of the time and if you can be on time and square it up, you've got a good chance of hitting it out," Willingham said of Lewis. "That's what happened tonight. He left me a fastball out over the plate."

Lewis fell to 8-11 on the year. The Rangers right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in his last three starts and 2-6 with a 5.59 ERA in his last eight.

"I wasn't able to locate very well with the fastball today," said Lewis. "The curveball and changeup kind of saved me in the later innings, getting some strikes when I needed to and pitching through the sixth."

After Elvis Andrus' single to center and Alex Rios' ground-rule double to left-center sparked a run-scoring rally in the first, the Rangers offense stalled against hard-throwing Royals rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura. They couldn't cash in on a leadoff double by Beltre in the fourth or when they put runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth.

"Some guys have good at-bats but can't find the holes," Beltre said. "I can't figure out why."

Adam Rosales and pinch-hitter Daniel Robertson led off the seventh with back-to-back doubles, trimming the Royals lead to 5-2. The Rangers made it a 5-3 game on Rios' RBI groundout later in the seventh, but would not score again.

Maybe this time next year, two years removed from the hip surgery, Lewis will be pitching for a healthy, playoff-contending Rangers squad. For now, the man who was once an invaluable piece to past pennant-winning puzzles is just grateful for the chance he has to take the mound.

"I'm really thankful for the opportunity the Rangers have given me to come back and take the mound every five days," said Lewis. "I don't know if anybody is ever like the way they were three, four or five years ago. I feel great. I feel healthy. I don't have any pain."

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Washington excited about Japan trip

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Washington excited about Japan trip play video for Washington excited about Japan trip

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has never been to Japan but he is looking forward to changing that this November.

Washington will manage a team of notable Major League players that will face Japan's national team, Samurai Japan, in a five-game series and play exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

"It was an honor to be asked, to go over there and get an All-Star team from over here," Washington said. "The relationship between the United States and Japan has gotten better. I'm just excited to be a leader for those guys."

So far, Washington has four players on his roster -- Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. While he doesn't know what the entire roster will be yet, he is looking forward to scouting Japan's premier baseball players.

"I'm going to have a chance to see some of the best Japanese players," Washington said. "Of course, in my mind I'll be evaluating and it's certain that I'll be putting something on paper, too. Also, it gives me an opportunity to see players that are over here."

Washington said he does not have complete control over who will be named to his coaching staff, but he will bring Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux to Japan.

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Father of Texas ballpark Schieffer set for Rangers HOF

Former managing partner, club president to be inducted into Hall of Fame on Saturday

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Father of Texas ballpark Schieffer set for Rangers HOF play video for Father of Texas ballpark Schieffer set for Rangers HOF

ARLINGTON -- There was never any doubt that Tom Schieffer was Chief of the Mission. That's a title bestowed upon the head of one country's delegation to another nation, and Schieffer held it as the United States' Ambassador to Australia and Japan during George W. Bush's administration.

But before Schieffer immersed himself in international diplomacy at the behest of his former business partner, there was no doubt he was the Chief of the Mission at the corner of Randol Mill and Ballpark Way.

Whether it was as a partner in charge of ballpark development, club president or managing general partner, there was never any doubt who was in charge of the Texas Rangers as long as Schieffer was there.

Certainly Bush brought great visibility to the Rangers and Rusty Rose brought substantial business acumen behind the scenes, but it was always clear that Schieffer was in charge from the moment he was introduced as the person who would "keep the beer cold, the nachos fresh and the bathrooms clean."

The Rangers will honor Schieffer by inducting him into their Hall Of Fame on Saturday before their game against the Royals. He was previously honored when the first-base entrance to the ballpark was renamed Schieffer Plaza in 2000.

But now and forever, the ultimate monument to Schieffer's time with the Rangers will be what opened in 1994 with a simple, elegant name: the Ballpark in Arlington. It seems appropriate that Schieffer is finally going into the Rangers Hall of Fame during the 20th anniversary of the park.

"I am really excited about it," Schieffer said. "I am amazed at the number of people who have commented on it. It is really heartwarming that people want to honor you."

There was more than just the ballpark on Schieffer's watch. In 1994, Schieffer dismissed general manager Tom Grieve and replaced him with Doug Melvin. A few days later, Melvin hired Johnny Oates as manager, and the triumvirate would take the Rangers to the first division title in club history.

There was also the 1995 All-Star Game, new television and radio contracts, a greater commitment to community involvement and new uniforms. In addition to the ballpark, Schieffer felt the club needed to move away from the old Dodgers imitations, and he introduced the iconic red uniforms that are still remembered fondly by diehard Rangers fans.

More than anything, though, Schieffer brought organization, stability and accountability. He was at the park every day, available to the media, always willing to answer questions and explain without any ambiguity the overall vision and plan for the club. Schieffer was out in front with a dedication, work ethic and passionate love for baseball that all could see every single day.

He was the Chief of the Mission.

"That's just management," Schieffer said. "People say baseball is different. Baseball is different in how you measure success, but it's not different as a business. You have to have a clear line of authority and a chain of command for things to work well.

"If you don't, things tend to go off in different directions, you end up with factions and people pulling against each other. Some tend to keep the baseball side and the business side separate, but you have to have one team. The success of the business side affects the baseball team, and the success of the baseball team affects the business side."

In the beginning, Schieffer was just another investor in the group that bought the team from Eddie Chiles in 1989. He didn't know Bush but was among those added to the group when Commissioner Peter Ueberroth insisted there be more local investors involved.

It wasn't long after the sale that Rose and Bush picked Schieffer to be in charge of the club's efforts to build a new park. Schieffer devoted five years of his life to the project, from securing financing and taxpayer approval to touring almost every other stadium in baseball. He oversaw every aspect of the design and construction, right up until the final dedication speech in which he said: "A ballpark is where sons remember their fathers, where mothers make their children's dreams come true."

Twenty years later, Schieffer didn't hesitate when asked about the highlight of his 10 years with the Rangers.

"It was building the ballpark," Schieffer said. "It was an unusual opportunity. I enjoyed it so much. Nothing gave me so much joy as that."

There have been 20 new ballparks built since 1991, and the Rangers' facility is one of only four that were not built by the Kansas City-based company formerly known as HOK.

David Schwartz was the official architect and Manhattan Construction was the lead contractor. But Schieffer was in charge beginning with the first meeting, when he told everybody he would not tolerate any unethical behavior.

"It was such a collaborative effort," Schieffer said. "It took a while to get a culture established, but once we did, things began to work well. People took pride in solving problems. Every Wednesday, we would meet -- architects, contractors, subcontractors, everybody -- and go over a list of problems or questions. Sometimes the list would be over 100 items.

"We never left until we solved every one of those problems. We would have food catered. We would stay until 10 or 11 at night. It was such a collaborative process and so creative. That's what made it so much fun. We used everybody's experience on previous jobs."

The project was completed on time, under budget and to rave reviews. The first Major League game was played on April 11 between the Rangers and the Brewers, and Schieffer brought a touch of majesty to the day when he arranged for renowned pianist Van Cliburn and the Fort Worth Symphony to perform the national anthem. It was a magical moment in Rangers history.

"When we moved to the ballpark, it changed the whole perception of the franchise," Schieffer said. "People realized we had a chance to go to the World Series. We had a better team and we started winning. It made everything different."

There have been changes since then: two different names, new scoreboards and sound systems, renovations in center field and behind home plate. But for the most part, it is still the Ballpark that Schieffer and Co. built 20 years ago.

"It's held up really well," Schieffer said. "It's still a beautiful ballpark with the ability to be there a long time."

Asked about the changes, Schieffer said, "I'm not the most objective. I thought the day it opened was the prettiest it has ever been. But things change. I understand that. But I loved the way we built it.

"My guess is if we could do it over, we would have made it a little smaller. The geometry of a baseball field is you are going to have 25,000 good seats and 15,000 pretty good seats. If you go above 40,000, people are going to see the game better on TV, unless you just want to experience being there. But if you don't want to experience it, you are better off at home.

"But it sure is nice to have that extra 10,000 for the World Series, All-Star Game or pennant race. It makes a big difference."

The Oakland Athletics wouldn't complain. They are in need of a new ballpark. Maybe they ought to steal Schieffer away from Texas and have him do it one more time.

"I would be glad to help out and give [the A's] some tips," Schieffer said. "But I'm a lot older than I was. But it was a lot of fun. I highly recommend it to anybody who has a chance to do it."

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Cotts happy to still be with Rangers

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Cotts happy to still be with Rangers play video for Cotts happy to still be with Rangers

ARLINGTON -- As much interest as Neal Cotts has drawn from other teams recently, it's hard to believe no one wanted Neal Cotts two years ago.

Recovered from Tommy John surgery and a torn labrum in his hip, Cotts missed the entire 2011 and 2012 seasons as an unsigned free agent. The Rangers took a chance on him before last year, giving the left-hander an opportunity to resurrect his career.

After being rumored as someone the Rangers were considering dealing before last month's Trade Deadline, Cotts reportedly was claimed off waivers this week before the Rangers pulled him back to ensure he would remain with the club.

"I guess it's a little bit gratifying," Cotts said. "I know the [waiver] process, but I don't know if [general manager] Jon [Daniels] is allowed to tell me. I was pretty much in the dark."

Out of Major League Baseball for the previous three years, Cotts went 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA in 2013 as one of baseball's best middle relievers. He's been solid again this year, going 2-7 while posting a 3.48 ERA and is on pace to break his career high of 65 1/3 innings, a mark he set in 2004.

"I've learned during that time off and through those trials that each day you need to flip the page," said Cotts. "Some of the struggles I had earlier in the season might have compiled into an awful, awful year. I might not even be here. You have to trust what you can do and things will pan out."

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Martinez's happy homecoming spurs Rangers in finale

After working into ninth-inning jam, Feliz comes through for big save

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Martinez's happy homecoming spurs Rangers in finale play video for Martinez's happy homecoming spurs Rangers in finale

MIAMI -- Rangers manager Ron Washington went to the mound with two outs in the ninth inning for one reason.

He was going to take closer Neftali Feliz out of the game. Feliz had given up two home runs in the inning to Marcell Ozuna and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and he had issued a two-out walk to Christian Yelich.

The Rangers' lead was down to 5-4, Donovan Solano was at the plate and Giancarlo Stanton was on deck. A tremendous effort by starter Nick Martinez in front of his hometown friends and family was in danger of going to waste. Washington had seen enough.

Washington was ready to take the ball away from Feliz with the game on the line. He had Scott Baker ready to come in.

"I told him that was I was about to take him out," Washington said. "He said, 'Let me have one more hitter.' He said it like he meant it, so I have him one more."

Feliz responded to the challenge by striking out Solano and preserving the 5-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park.

"I told him I wanted to finish the ballgame -- have confidence to let me finish the game," Feliz said. "It was my game. I put myself in that position. I wanted the opportunity to get out of it."

Feliz did so by adding a couple of extra ticks on his fastball. He started the inning at 92-94 mph and finished it at 95-96.

"I was trying to throw strikes," Feliz said. "I was not worried about how hard I was throwing. I just felt I needed to step up and let loose, and I did."

Feliz ended up with his fifth save since getting his old job back as the Rangers' closer. He was once the closer when they went to the World Series in 2010-11. Then he had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in '12, and he is still trying to work his way back. If he is to be Texas' future closer, he needs more moments of fire like he showed on Wednesday.

"He needed to do that," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "He needs to get in those situations. He was out of the league for a year; it's not easy to come back and see the old Feliz. I'm glad he's healthy. If he keeps pitching, he'll be better every day."

Feliz allowed Martinez to enjoy his homecoming in front of about 100 loud friends and family members sitting behind the Rangers dugout. They were into it from the moment that Martinez, sitting with a 3-0 lead, struck out Yelich to start the first and Stanton to end it.

Martinez, given a 5-0 lead after just two Rangers at-bats, ended up earning his third Major League win by holding the Marlins to two runs in six innings. The rookie right-hander allowed six hits, two walks and struck out seven while improving his record to 3-9 with a 5.13 ERA. He is 2-3 with a 5.18 ERA since the All-Star break.

"It was great," Martinez said. "It was very special, getting to pitch where it all started. That was cool and to come out on top, it was a great day for everybody."

Martinez was especially tough on Stanton, striking him out twice. The second one came in the third inning on three straight pitches with runners at the corners. The Marlins were hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"He had a good breaking ball and a good changeup and spotted his fastball really well early," Washington said. "I liked the way he attacked hitters and used all his stuff. He's a calm kid, he always looks calm. That's why he's still here."

Martinez was the first of three rookie pitchers used by the Rangers on Wednesday. Jon Edwards pitched a scoreless seventh and Roman Mendez set down the side in order in the eighth.

That left the ninth for Feliz to protect a 5-2 lead. He got ahead 1-2 on Ozuna, but then left a changeup over the plate and it ended up in the left-field seats for a home run. Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia crushed a 1-2 slider over the right-field wall to make it a one-run game.

"I just made mistakes," Feliz said. "The changeup stayed right down the middle and the slider to Salty was up."

Feliz struck out Jeff Baker, but he then walked Yelich. That's when Washington went to the mound with the intention of pulling Feliz, only to be talked out of it. Feliz went after Solano with five straight fastballs, finally getting him to swing and miss to end it.

"He hung a couple of pitches, that was it," catcher Geovany Soto said. "After the mound visit, you could feel the poise and you could feel the intensity in his eyes and his demeanor, the way he went after the next hitter."

That's something the Rangers want to see every time out.

"After I went off the mound, we saw something we haven't seen before," Washington said. "It let him know it's still in there. We saw 96 a couple of times. It's in there, it's a matter of trusting his arm and letting it do."

After Solano went down, Feliz danced off the mound pumping his fist. He knew it was an important moment.

"Of course it was important," Feliz said. "That's my job to close games. When I get the chance, I want them to have confidence in me in those situations."

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MLB stars commit to 'All-Star Series' in Japan

Cano, Jones, Pujols, Puig, Washington will participate in five-game exhibition set

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MLB stars commit to 'All-Star Series' in Japan play video for MLB stars commit to 'All-Star Series' in Japan

For some of Major League Baseball's best players, the games won't end in October this year.

All-Stars Robinson Cano, Adam Jones, Albert Pujols and Yasiel Puig will highlight a group of Major Leaguers, led by Rangers manager Ron Washington, who will travel to Japan in November to take part in a five-game All-Star Series against Japan's national team, Samurai Japan. The rest of the Major League All-Star roster will be announced at a later date.

The "All-Star Series 2014" marks the 11th such All-Star Series, though it's the first since 2006. It will be the 36th time overall, dating back to 1908, that a team of big leaguers has traveled to Japan for exhibition games.

The five-game format that will be used this fall was first introduced during that last All-Star Series in 2006, which was swept by a Major League team that included All-Stars such as Bronson Arroyo, Ryan Howard, John Lackey, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Jose Reyes, David Wright and Chase Utley.

The All-Star Series will feature three games in Tokyo (Nov. 14-16), bookended by one game each in Osaka (Nov. 12) and Sapporo (Nov. 18). In addition to the five-game All-Star Series, the Major League team will also participate in a pair of exhibition games -- one on Nov. 11 against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants in Koshien and the other on Nov. 20 versus Team Japan in Okinawa.

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