Catalanotto’s pinch single leads Rangers to win

6-22-08 -- Frank Catalanotto helped the Texas Rangers to a rare kind of win—one that put them above the .500.

Texas has found it easy to get even, but getting over the hump has been a challenge. Even after Catalanotto sparked Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Washington Nationals, the Rangers (39-38) are just 4-15 when trying to reach a winning record this season.

“We’re a game over .500 right now,” Marlon Byrd said. “On Tuesday, we’ll be two games over.”

Vicente Padilla (10-3) gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings to win for the eighth time in nine decisions since April 27. He struck out five and walked two, but wasn’t in line for the win until the Rangers rallied in the eighth.

“He’s been out there, hanging in there,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He certainly gave us a chance today.”

Brandon Boggs reached on a walk off Luis Ayala (1-4), and after Joel Hanrahan came on in relief, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton struck out. Boggs stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and after a walk to Byrd, Catalanotto dribbled an RBI grounder to left.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a base hit to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead.

Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect eighth and C.J. Wilson worked the ninth for his 15th save in 17 chances, sending Washington to its 15th loss in 21 games.

Washington is well aware of his team’s struggles to get into the black.

“We’ve been here before. We’ve got to continue to play good baseball,” Washington said. “And that will take care of itself.”

Texas took a 2-0 lead on leadoff home runs by Boggs in the fourth and Ian Kinsler in the sixth. Kinsler’s was his 12th of the season and second in two games.

Padilla allowed just one hit in the first five innings—an infield single to Washington starter John Lannan. Willie Harris, who was batting for Lannan, hit a homer to center field with one out in the sixth, his third of the season.

Texas added a run in the seventh on Ramon Vazquez’s RBI single off Ayala.

Lannan hasn’t won in his last six starts, but kept Washington in the game. He allowed two runs, four hits and struck out six over six innings, without walking a batter.

Lannan bruised his right wrist when Saltalamacchia lined a ball back at him in the fifth. He took his glove off when he was examined by the Nationals’ training staff, but he stayed in the game. After he left the game, his wrist was X-rayed, and manager Manny Acta said he expected him to make his next start.

“I didn’t see it,” Lannan said. “I got my glove on it. I took my glove off, just because it was kind of like pins and needles. So I kind of gave it a squeeze, found the ball and just threw it to first. It’s just tight right now, just a little bruised.”

The Nationals have scored just four runs to support him in his last six starts.

“I don’t feel bad for him,” Acta said. “He knows that everybody here is paying attention of how good he’s pitching and how he’s doing. Would I want him to have six, seven more wins than he has? Yes, I do.”

It looked as if Lannan was going to lose his fifth straight decision, but Ronnie Belliard hit a tying two-run homer—his fifth of the season—with one out in the seventh.


Texas OF Milton Bradley did not start for the fifth straight game. Washington said there were no plans to place him on the disabled list. Washington expects him to be ready to play in Houston on Tuesday. … RHP Steven Shell made his major league debut for Washington, pitching a scoreless ninth. … Max Ramirez made his debut for the Rangers at 1B, going 0-for-3. Ramirez was recalled from Double-A Frisco on Saturday.