August 10, 2012

One pitch spoils Rangers' day

Scott Feldman's winning streak comes to a halt as the Tigers and Prince Fielder show their muscle.

ARLINGTON -- It changed so suddenly for Scott Feldman and the Texas Rangers.

Feldman had allowed one run through five innings and seemed to be cruising to his seventh consecutive victory by getting two quick outs to start the sixth.

But then the Tigers put together a two-out rally.

Andy Dirks reached on a dribbler that rolled past Feldman and into the hands of a charging Ian Kinsler, who made a wide throw. Miguel Cabrera followed with a soft single to right.

Things unraveled for good in the next at-bat, when Prince Fielder roped a three-run homer into the right-field seats. That ended Feldman's night and put the Tigers in line for a 6-2 victory Friday at Rangers Ballpark.

Texas maintained a 5 1/2-game lead in the American League West over Oakland, which lost to the White Sox.

"We didn't win the game, so it's not a pleasing performance," said Feldman, who had a six-game winning streak snapped and suffered his first loss since June 14.

"I was close to getting out of the [sixth] inning a couple times and ultimately it was a big inning. We had a lead and I was trying everything I could to protect the lead. Just made a mistake to Fielder and he did some damage with it."

That pitch to Fielder, a 2-1 changeup, is the only pitch Feldman would like back. He didn't regret the pitch selection, simply the location.

"One bad pitch to a good hitter and that was a big part of the game," Rangers designated hitter Michael Young said. "We have a ton of confidence in Feldy; he's been throwing the ball extremely well. They had that one big inning and that was the difference."

After Fielder's shot, the Tigers added another run in the sixth for a 5-2 lead. Rangers reliever Robbie Ross walked Brennan Boesch, who scored on a double by Delmon Young.

Detroit made it 6-2 in the seventh when Austin Jackson had an inside-the-park home run, as Nelson Cruz gambled and misjudged the ball while trying to make a diving catch. He injured his back on the play, and then dropped a routine popup two batters later. Cruz left the game after the inning with low back stiffness.

"That's a lot of poundage hitting the ground," manager Ron Washington said. "He got some treatment, feeling better. I think he'll be OK [today], we'll just have to wait and see."

Until the sixth, the Rangers had been in the lead. Josh Hamilton swatted a solo home run in the first, and Texas extended its lead to 2-0 on Elvis Andrus' RBI single in the third.

But the offense didn't capitalize on its other opportunities.

The Rangers had a chance to score in the second with a runner on third and less than two outs, but Mike Napoli struck out looking and Mitch Moreland grounded out. They had a chance to score in the third, but Andrus was thrown out trying to turn his single into a double. With the bases loaded and two outs later in the inning, David Murphy flew out.

In the sixth, Young led off with a single, but Detroit starter Max Scherzer struck out Murphy, Napoli and Moreland to end the threat.

The Tigers' bullpen did the rest. Octavio Dotel allowed one hit over two scoreless innings, and Jose Valverde worked around a one-out single to close out the ninth in a non-save situation.

"There were some chances against Scherzer and all we have to do is put the ball in play in those situations," Washington said. "We didn't and it came back and it got us."

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