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04/11/07 1:06 AM ET
Offense powers Rangers over Rays
Lofton, Catalanotto lead 12-hit assault; Wright leaves early
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Jamey Wright had a hard time getting loose in his final start at Double-A Frisco last week. He had hard time getting people out in his first start for the Rangers. The question now is if the shoulder that couldn't get loose in Frisco was also a problem on Tuesday night. If so, it could be awhile before Wright makes another start for the Rangers. Wright allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings but the Rangers were able to overcome that by making life even more miserable for Tampa Bay Devil Rays starter Jae Seo, pounding out a 12-9 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers have won four of their last five games to pull back to .500. "We out-slugged them," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Sometimes in Texas, I guess that's what happens. We didn't get much out of Jamey so we had to piece it together. The bottom line is we won." Scott Feldman picked up Wright and the Rangers with 2 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up his first Major League victory in his 47th big-league appearance. "I'll always remember it, no doubt about it," Feldman said. "But the big thing is to work quickly and let our guys do their thing at the plate." Feldman came in and put a stop to a five-run rally in the third that had given the Devil Rays a 5-3 lead. The Rangers then struck back for seven runs in the bottom of the inning off Seo. Brad Wilkerson and Kenny Lofton had a pair of two-run singles, both coming with the bases loaded, and Frank Catalanotto finished off the rally with a three-run home run. "I figured if I kept it right there, I knew our guys would score more than five runs," Feldman said. "Everybody in the bullpen realizes that if we have to come in early and keep them where they're at, we'll score some runs." Lofton and Ian Kinsler also went deep for the Rangers. Lofton hit a home run to lead off the first inning, the 29th time in his career that he has done that, and Kinsler hit a two-run home run in the second inning. Lofton, hitting .115 coming into the game, and Catalanlotto, a .111 hitter before Tuesday, reached base in eight of 10 plate appearances at the top of the order. Lofton was 3-for-3 with a walk and hit by pitch and Catalanotto was 3-for-5 with a home run, triple and single. "Kenny and I, we feel like we need to get going to jump-start the offense," Catalanotto said. "We haven't been doing well lately and it would be nice for us to get on base. We've got to start the offense because if we do, those guys will drive us in." The home runs by Lofton and Kinsler gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead going into the third, but Wright couldn't hold it. He said the problem was not physical. "I feel fine," Wright said. "I'm just disappointed not to be able to go deep in the game, especially with the offense doing what they did. It would have been a good night to get a win." Asked if there was anything wrong physically with his pitcher, Washington said, "I don't know. I don't think there's anything wrong physically with him. It just looked like he was getting the ball up and they were centering it." Wright had retired five straight hitters going into the third, but Elijah Dukes and Dioner Navarro both doubled and B.J. Upton tripled to right-center. Carl Crawford walked but was thrown out for a second time by Gerald Laird trying to steal second. Ben Zobrist then lined hard to first baseman Mark Teixeira, giving Wright a chance to escape. Instead he walked Rocco Baldelli and Ty Wigginton cleared the bases with a three-run home run. Washington went to the bullpen after Delmon Young singled. Wright's short outing ended a streak of five straight quality starts by Rangers starters, who came into the game 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA in their last five outings. Wright is not going to start again for a while. The Rangers are off on both Thursday and Monday so they can skip his next turn in the rotation. The Rangers won't need their fifth starter until April 21, when they play the Oakland Athletics. The Rangers do have to make a roster move on Friday to add Eric Gagne to the 25-man roster. Bruce Chen seems to be the likely odd-man out and the Rangers aren't thrilled about that. If the Rangers let Chen go, they would have to put him on outright waivers, and there are a number of teams looking for starting pitching. Getting him through waivers could be difficult. But the Rangers don't have any other obvious moves that appeal to them. If Wright's troubles are being caused by physical problems, the Rangers would have to consider putting him on the disabled list to solve their roster dilemma. They aren't going there yet. But Washington was asked if anybody else besides Wright might be out there the next time there is a fifth starter. "We haven't assessed that yet," Washington said. "We'll see how the trainers check him out and we'll see how he checks out. He didn't complain of anything. He just got some pitches in the wrong spot." Fortunately for the Rangers, others were there to pick him up.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.