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Rangers earn series split with 4-1 win over Twins

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz put the poor performances earlier this week behind him and answered his manager’s challenge.

Feliz pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save, two nights after his fifth blown save of the season, and helped starter Matt Harrison cap his unbeaten July as the Rangers beat Minnesota 4-1 Thursday night for a series split.

“What happened last time I always forget it. I never gave it a thought to look back on what happened. I just came in 100 percent sure I had to do my job and do my best,” Feliz said through a translator. “That’s what I think. I never worry about last time.”

The AL West-leading Rangers had lost two straight against Minnesota after opening the series with a 20-6 win Monday night when they had the most runs and hits (27) in the majors this season.

Feliz gave up two runs in the ninth inning Tuesday night in the Rangers’ 9-8 loss. In the blowout opener, Feliz gave up a run in the ninth when he was in to get some work after not pitching for a week.

In the aftermath Tuesday night’s blown save, manager Ron Washington said he wanted to see more fire from Feliz. The hard-throwing right-hander already has two more blown opportunities than all of last season, when he set a major league rookie record with 40 saves as the Rangers went to their first World Series.

On Thursday night, Feliz struck out Jim Thome and got Danny Valencia on a popup before Delmon Young grounded out to end the game.

“He was good, he threw the ball well, threw it over the plate,” Washington said. “He probably responded because he’s a competitor. I don’t think I had much to do with it, because I’m not the one out there toeing the rubber trying to get outs.”

Harrison (9-7) allowed one run over 7 1-3 innings with two strikeouts and a walk. The left-hander won all three of his decisions in his five starts this month with a 2.04 ERA.

Yoshinori Tateyama and Arthur Rhodes retired the only batters they each faced before Feliz took over.

“Harry got us as deep as he could get us, and we needed them right there,” Washington said. “They got us an opportunity to give the ball to Nefty.”

Michael Young and Chris Davis had RBI singles early that put Texas ahead to stay. The Rangers maintained their two-game division lead over the Los Angeles Angels, who won earlier Thursday at Detroit.


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Posted by on Jul 29 2011. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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