Rangers, Gagne sweep twinbill

7-24-07 -- The bottom of the batting order and the back end of the bullpen made sure the Texas Rangers completed a doubleheader sweep of the Seattle Mariners.

No. 9 hitter Travis Metcalf was 4-for-4, his last hit an RBI double in the eighth inning, and Eric Gagne worked the ninth for his second save of the day as the Rangers beat the Mariners 4-3 in the nightcap Tuesday.

Gagne also pitched the ninth in the opener, which the Rangers won 2-1 after John Rheinecker allowed only an unearned run over seven innings in his second start of the season.

The two saves in the same day for Gagne came after he gave up three runs in the ninth inning of the Rangers' 8-7 victory in the series opener Monday night. He has 16 saves this season.

Gerald Laird led off the eighth in Game 2 with a single before a sacrifice bunt by Ramon Vazquez. Metcalf then doubled off the left-field wall off Chris Reitsma (0-2).

Seattle has lost five straight games since getting within one game of the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.

Raul Ibanez went from an apparent strikeout to a two-run double on the next pitch that put the Mariners up 3-1 in the fifth. Even Ibanez appeared to think he had struck out on his swing until home plate umpire Jim Reynolds ruled a foul tip.

Seattle could have scored more if Yuniesky Betancourt hadn't been picked off by Laird at second base after consecutive hits to start the inning. Ichiro Suzuki struck out before Jose Vidro's RBI single preceded Ibanez.

The Rangers got even in the bottom of the fifth when Mark Teixeira had a broken-bat RBI single and Michael Young scored on a wild pitch. Young's RBI double in the third plated Metcalf, who had a leadoff triple.

C.J. Wilson (2-1) struck out three batters in 1 1-3 innings in relief of Loe.

Both Game 2 starters left tied 3-3 after throwing a lot of pitches. Seattle's Jarrod Washburn threw 112 (63 strikes) in 5 2-3 innings. Loe, who had a 9.35 ERA his previous two starts since the All-Star break, threw 77 of 117 pitches for strikes.

Rheinecker (1-0), meanwhile, struck out four in the opener and his only walk was to Jose Lopez, the second batter of the game who scored on a groundout after an error.

"It puts me in position to go out and do it again, hopefully," said Rheinecker, recalled Monday from a long trip with Triple-A Oklahoma to make his second start of the season.

"He just pitched pretty darn good," Washington said. "Right now, he's not taken off the roster, so we'll see how that goes."

Although the Rangers won't need a No. 5 starter again until Aug. 4 because of two days off in the next week, Washington said Rheinecker could pitch out of the bullpen.

The Rangers turned a pair of two-out doubles into runs off Ryan Feierabend (1-4), who was sent back to Triple-A Tacoma after being recalled earlier in the day to make the spot start.

Sammy Sosa had a double in the fourth and tied the game when Marlon Byrd hit a triple, his third in four games. An inning later, Metcalf had a two-out double and came home on Young's single.

"They didn't tell me when I would be sent down, but I knew this would only be one start," said Feierabend, a 21-year-old left-hander. "But having an outing like this before going down was great."

After coming to spring training as a candidate to be the Rangers' No. 5 starter, Rheinecker instead began the season on the disabled list because of a back strain.

His only other start for Texas came June 5 at Detroit, when the overly excited left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in three innings. He had a different approach this time.

"I definitely took care of the energy problem I had in my first outing. I was definitely too amped when I went out there and was trying to throw through the catcher's chest protector," he said. "When situations get into crunch time, it's not throwing hard, it's easing off. ... It started when I woke up. I was consciously thinking about it."

Lopez scored on Adrian Beltre's grounder after moving to third when All-Star shortstop Young booted Jose Guillen's grounder.

Rheinecker got three of his strikeouts in the fifth, including Ichiro and Lopez with two runners on to end the inning. After Betancourt's leadoff single snapped his 0-for-14 slump in the seventh, Rheinecker got a double-play grounder before Ichiro's inning-ending comebacker.

"That was the ultimate for me," Washington said about how Rheinecker got Ichiro twice.

GAME 2:

The bottom of the batting order and the back end of the bullpen made sure the Texas Rangers completed a doubleheader sweep of the Seattle Mariners.

No. 9 hitter Travis Metcalf was 4-for-4, his last hit an RBI double in the eighth inning, and Eric Gagne worked the ninth for his second save of the day as the Rangers beat the Mariners 4-3 in the nightcap Tuesday.

Gagne also pitched the ninth in the opener, which the Rangers won 2-1 after John Rheinecker allowed only an unearned run over seven innings in his second start of the season.

The two saves in the same day for Gagne came after he gave up three runs in the ninth inning of the Rangers' 8-7 victory in the series opener Monday night. He has 16 saves this season.

Gerald Laird led off the eighth in Game 2 with a single before a sacrifice bunt by Ramon Vazquez. Metcalf then doubled off the left-field wall off Chris Reitsma (0-2).

Seattle has lost five straight games since getting within one game of the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.

Raul Ibanez went from an apparent strikeout to a two-run double on the next pitch that put the Mariners up 3-1 in the fifth. Even Ibanez appeared to think he had struck out on his swing until home plate umpire Jim Reynolds ruled a foul tip.

Seattle could have scored more if Yuniesky Betancourt hadn't been picked off by Laird at second base after consecutive hits to start the inning. Ichiro Suzuki struck out before Jose Vidro's RBI single preceded Ibanez.

The Rangers got even in the bottom of the fifth when Mark Teixeira had a broken-bat RBI single and Michael Young scored on a wild pitch. Young's RBI double in the third plated Metcalf, who had a leadoff triple.

C.J. Wilson (2-1) struck out three batters in 1 1-3 innings in relief of Loe.

Both Game 2 starters left tied 3-3 after throwing a lot of pitches. Seattle's Jarrod Washburn threw 112 (63 strikes) in 5 2-3 innings. Loe, who had a 9.35 ERA his previous two starts since the All-Star break, threw 77 of 117 pitches for strikes.

Rheinecker (1-0), meanwhile, struck out four in the opener and his only walk was to Jose Lopez, the second batter of the game who scored on a groundout after an error.

"It puts me in position to go out and do it again, hopefully," said Rheinecker, recalled Monday from a long trip with Triple-A Oklahoma to make his second start of the season.

"He just pitched pretty darn good," Washington said. "Right now, he's not taken off the roster, so we'll see how that goes."

Although the Rangers won't need a No. 5 starter again until Aug. 4 because of two days off in the next week, Washington said Rheinecker could pitch out of the bullpen.

The Rangers turned a pair of two-out doubles into runs off Ryan Feierabend (1-4), who was sent back to Triple-A Tacoma after being recalled earlier in the day to make the spot start.

Sammy Sosa had a double in the fourth and tied the game when Marlon Byrd hit a triple, his third in four games. An inning later, Metcalf had a two-out double and came home on Young's single.

"They didn't tell me when I would be sent down, but I knew this would only be one start," said Feierabend, a 21-year-old left-hander. "But having an outing like this before going down was great."

After coming to spring training as a candidate to be the Rangers' No. 5 starter, Rheinecker instead began the season on the disabled list because of a back strain.

His only other start for Texas came June 5 at Detroit, when the overly excited left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in three innings. He had a different approach this time.

"I definitely took care of the energy problem I had in my first outing. I was definitely too amped when I went out there and was trying to throw through the catcher's chest protector," he said. "When situations get into crunch time, it's not throwing hard, it's easing off. ... It started when I woke up. I was consciously thinking about it."

Lopez scored on Adrian Beltre's grounder after moving to third when All-Star shortstop Young booted Jose Guillen's grounder.

Rheinecker got three of his strikeouts in the fifth, including Ichiro and Lopez with two runners on to end the inning. After Betancourt's leadoff single snapped his 0-for-14 slump in the seventh, Rheinecker got a double-play grounder before Ichiro's inning-ending comebacker.

"That was the ultimate for me," Washington said about how Rheinecker got Ichiro twice.


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