Texas Rangers

Rangers rally to top Tigers, but concern about Matt Moore lingers after another uneven performance

Matt Moore improved upon his start Wednesday at Cleveland, but still allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Matt Moore improved upon his start Wednesday at Cleveland, but still allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Associated Press

The news Monday from the ballyard was mostly positive for the home team.

Adrian Beltre tested his left hamstring by jogging around the bases, taking batting practice and fielding grounders, and afterward played coy for when he might return from the 10-day disabled list.

At Houston? At Seattle? At Chicago? One of the next two days against the Detroit Tigers, as improbable as it seems?

"I've done it before," Beltre said.

Rougned Odor (strained left hamstring) could be back Wednesday, though Friday seems like the more cautious play.

That all served as the undercard to the main event. Believe it or not, Matt Moore's start against the Tigers that was the biggest thing happening for the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.

Ultimately, Moore received a no-decision after allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings in the Rangers' 7-6 come-from-behind victory.

There is no doubt that Moore was better than he was last week at Cleveland in allowing 10 runs in four innings, but it wouldn't have taken much to top that. Imagine the concern if he hadn't.

"I think it's hard to get worse than my last time out," Moore said. "It does feel like it was a good step in the right direction. I felt like I was able to keep command of the game. I didn't feel like we were on our heels too much. It's definitely something to build going forward."

But some concern remains despite improvement, and somewhere in baseball purgatory — the weeklong wait once a player is designated for assignment — Matt Harvey waits for a new team to hire him.

Club sources denied that the Rangers were attempting to acquire the right-hander, who was designated for assignment Saturday by the New York Mets. Assistant pitching coach Dan Warthen, who worked with Harvey the past several seasons as the Mets' pitching coach, is among those who are lobbying for general manager Jon Daniels to pull the trigger.

Part of the reasoning is Moore's shaky performance to start the season. His ERA climbed slightly from 7.67 to 7.71, though he was an out away from a posting only his second quality start of the season.

Former Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin took care of that with a two-out, two-run homer that gave the Tigers a 5-1 lead in the sixth.

"That wasn't my best curveball," Moore said.

The game got interesting thereafter.

The Rangers countered with four two-out runs in their half of the sixth, which Delino DeShields opened with a walk. He was still at first three batters later when Nomar Mazara, who homered in the second, singled.

Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa followed with doubles to make it 5-4, and Kiner-Falefa hustled home from second on an infield hit by Ronald Guzman to tie the game. Guzman hustled to first to beat the throw to first.

"We not only pushed the envelope, but we ran hard down the line," manager Jeff Banister. "There were a couple different times getting down the line in good pace [made a difference]. That's why you respect the first 90 feet."

After a Mazara error in right field led to an unearned Tigers run in the seventh, DeShields wowed with his leg as he scored from first on a Shin-Soo Choo single that trickled into shallow right field after grazing the glove of second baseman Dixon Machado.

Jurickson Profar followed with an RBI triple that served as the game-winning hit.

Jake Diekman worked an interesting but scoreless eighth inning that included a running grab by DeShields to rob Martin, a dropped pop-up by Kiner-Falefa, and an inning-ending double play in which Kiner-Falefa snagged a low throw from third baseman Renato Nunez.

"I was just trying to catch the ball and let my baseball instincts to go work there," Kiner-Falefa said. "I got a little bit lucky."

Keone Kela, who had allowed five runs in his last two appearances, nailed down the save.

The Rangers' lack of pitching depth and their apparent lack of interest in Harvey will likely buy Moore some time. He did improve in terms of putting more hitters away once he jumped ahead of them in the count, striking out five, but still has room to improve.

His changeup and curveball were more effective, and he tried earnestly to throw his fastball inside more.

And the Rangers didn't lose. That will probably help Moore, too.

"I like how he battled through it," Banister said.

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