Rangers pitching shuts down Tigers
DETROIT (AP) - Alexi Ogando outpitched Justin Verlander before leaving with a finger problem and the Texas Rangers won with a bold strategy, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 Monday.
The AL champions improved to 9-1, the top record in the majors and matching the best 10-game start in team history.
Rangers closer Neftali Feliz retired the first two batters in the ninth inning before Ryan Raburn doubled. The Rangers then intentionally walked slugger Miguel Cabrera, bringing four-time All-Star Victor Martinez to the plate as the potential winning run.
Martinez grounded out on a 2-0 pitch to end it.
Michael Young and Mitch Moreland hit RBI doubles in the seventh inning as Texas equaled the start of its 1989 club.
Ogando (2-0) gave up just two hits, walked one and struck four over seven innings in his second start in the majors. The converted reliever had his outing cut short by fluid under a callus on his right index finger - he pitched six scoreless innings last week with a developing blister on the same finger.
Verlander (1-1) lost despite pitching a six-hitter. He also struck out four and walked one in his 119-pitch performance.
Detroit fell to 3-7, needing victories in the next two games to win its first series this season.
Texas reliever Darren Oliver gave up a hit in the eighth and Feliz finished for his fourth save in as many chances.
Verlander was perfect until Josh Hamilton hit a two-out single in the fourth inning. Hamilton walked with one out in the seventh, scored on Young's double off the right-field wall and Moreland followed with a two-out double off the same wall to make it 2-0.
Detroit had its best chance to score in the fourth when Cabrera became the second player younger than 28 to hit his 300th double, according to STATS LLC. The hit put two on with one out, but Martinez's bloop to shallow left field turned into an inning-ending double play when shortstop Elvis Andrus caught the ball and the 27-year-old Cabrera couldn't beat the throw back to second base.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland planned to give slumping center fielder Austin Jackson the day off, but used him as a pinch-hitter in the eighth when Magglio Ordonez came out of the game with tightness in his right Achilles' tendon. Ordonez earlier missed a game with a stiff surgically repaired right ankle.
Jackson hit a leadoff single, but was stranded after Oliver got Jhonny Peralta to foul out, Alex Avila to strike out and Brandon Inge to fly out.
NOTES: The Rangers expect to use a by-committee approach on the mound in Wednesday's series finale. "It's going to be the bullpen," manager Ron Washington said. "We just haven't decided how to do it yet." ... Joe Medwick had 305 doubles at the end of the 1938 season when he was 26 and had 48 more the following season before his 28th birthday. Since 1946, Albert Pujols (298), Robin Yount (289), Alex Rodriguez (276) and Vada Pinson (273) came close to the 300-doubles mark before turning 28, according to STATS LLC.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)