Ogando's shutout ball lifts Texas to 9-1
The Texas Rangers are making all the right moves.
Alexi Ogando outpitched Justin Verlander before leaving with a finger problem and Texas won with a bold strategy, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 Monday.
Rangers manager Ron Washington chose to have closer Neftali Feliz intentionally walk slugger Miguel Cabrera, putting two on with two out in the ninth inning, to bring 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, validating the decision.
''Had to pick your poison,'' Washington said. ''I didn't want to let Cabrera tie the game.''
The defending AL champions improved to 9-1, maintaining the majors' top record and matching the best 10-game start in team history.
Michael Young and Mitch Moreland hit RBI doubles in the seventh inning - giving Ogando enough support - 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 after pitching six scoreless innings last week with a developing blister on the same finger.
Does Ogando expect to make his next start?
''Of course,'' he said in Spanish.
Texas reliever Darren Oliver gave up a hit in the eighth. Feliz finished for his fourth save in as many chances after retiring two batters and allowing Ryan Raburn to double, bringing up Cabrera.
Verlander (1-1) lost despite pitching a six-hitter. He struck out four and walked one in his 119-pitch performance.
He 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.
''(Verlander) was great,'' Young said. ''He's always a handful.''
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, but that didn't mean much to him after another defeat.
''We lost the game,'' Cabrera said.
His hit in the fourth 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 missed games earlier this season with a stiff surgically repaired right ankle.
Leyland plans to sit him out at least a couple games.
''We're not going to go day to day and get him right,'' Leyland said.
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.
Detroit fell to 3-7, needing victories in the next two games to win its first series in a season that started with relatively high hopes, after failing to make Washington's gamble backfire.
''That's the good thing about Wash - he goes with what his gut says,'' Young said. ''You've got two great hitters. Miguel's one of the best in the game and Victor has obviously had a very accomplished career.
''Fortunately, it worked out.''
NOTES: Texas pitchers have combined for two straight shutouts for the first time in nearly two years and have pitched 25 straight scoreless innings. ... The Rangers expect to use a by-committee approach on the mound in Wednesday's series finale. ''It's going to be the bullpen,'' 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. ... Hamilton has a seven-game hitting streak.