ARLINGTON, Texas – Justin Grimm put himself in contention for Rangers Pitcher of the Month despite lasting just five innings Wednesday.
He doesn’t have a lot of competition so far. Grimm became the first Rangers starter to earn a win in June with his 75-pitch performance in a 9-4 defeat of Oakland.
“It was a traditional five-and-dive,” Grimm said, somewhat sheepishly. “I would have loved to have gone out there and get a couple more innings under my belt.”
Grimm wasn’t asked to do more because the offense staked him to a 4-3 lead by the time he was replaced by Jason Frasor to start the sixth.
The Rangers actually trailed, 3-2, when Grimm stepped off the mound after the top of the fifth. Grimm has struggled with throwing one bad inning in many of his starts and Wednesday it was the fifth.
Grimm walked Josh Reddick and No. 9 hitter Eric Sogard, then gave up a three-run homer to Chris Young who was hitting all of .186 coming into the game.
“Can’t take that pitch back, just simply I didn’t execute it,” Grimm said. “I left a fastball over the plate, 3-1. It doesn’t matter whether a hitter in the league’s batting less than .200 or .500, he’s going to hit it pretty good.”
Grimm executed enough pitches to get the Rangers in position to reclaim the lead. He allowed just three hits and struck out three.
Grimm became the first Rangers starter to earn a win since Derek Holland won on May 31. Grimm’s last win was May 30.
“I’m happy for Grimm that he got the win,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’s been working hard, he’s been battling. It’s always been one inning for him, and tonight it was one inning but we were able to come back, take the lead and hold onto it.”
Grimm became the fourth Rangers starter to win without completing six innings. He improved his record to 6-5 and has the most wins among American League rookies.
“I think if you talk to him it’s the two walks that upset him more than anything else. It’s not the solo home run,” Washington said. “Those guys are capable of doing that, but if he didn’t walk those other two guys, if Young comes up and hit a home run it wouldn’t have mattered.”
But Washington said Grimm did what he asks of all his starters: give him five innings and keep the team in the game.
“Every start to me right now is important,” Grimm said. “I just want to get out there, compete with guys and look to come away with wins for the team. I did that tonight, but I’d like to have gone deeper in the game and save the bullpen.”
Grimm said breaking the winless streak for Rangers’ starters was not something he focused on.
“It crosses your mind when you read about it, but it’s something you don’t worry about,” Grimm said. “Every starter in here looks to do their job every time they go out. I believe in every one of our starters that we’ve got right now. They do their work through the week and they’re prepared. They’re more than capable of getting that job done every time.”