Rangers Win 2-0 Behind Matt Harrison, Carry 7-Game Win Streak Into All-Star Break

The Rangers are set to end the first half with a four game series against the Athletics.

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Rangers Carry 7-Game Win Streak Into Break

A little dip in their quality of schedule didn’t hurt, but the Rangers used sweeps of the Orioles and A’s to carry a seven-game winning streak into the all-star break. That streak was good enough to hold a one-game lead over the Angels, as the Angels held serve by sweeping the Mariners in their own four-game series. With the divisional sweeps, the AL West race is – for all practical purposes anyway – down to the Rangers and Angels.

The hot finish also allowed the Rangers to finish just one game behind their pace at the break last season. Their current pace puts them on track to win 90 games, the exact number they won in 2010. They did hold a 4.5 game lead one year ago, thanks to the Angels’ struggles.

Their final victory of the first half can be credited to Matt Harrison’s pitching and Adrian Beltre’s hitting. Harrison threw 7.2 very strong scoreless innings before Mark Lowe took the mound and saw Mike Napoli throw out Jemile Weeks trying to steal second.

Beltre’s two-run home run accounted for all of the runs in the game, as Neftali Feliz closed the door in the ninth. Feliz’s blown save in the last game before the break last season was the low point in his season. His recent performance could have him on the upswing in a much more challenging season.

The Rangers will start the second half in Seattle Thursday and will look to continue both teams’ current streaks.

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Rangers Can Enter All-Star Break On 7-Game Win Streak With Victory Sunday

After a dream June and a dream trade (for Cliff Lee), but then a bit of a nightmarish final first-half series, in what seemed like a dream 2010 season, the Rangers entered the MLB All-Star break with a record of 50-38. That July sweep at the hands of the Orioles aside, almost everything had seemed to go right for the Rangers. They were winning close games and coming back late, and they had a 4.5-game lead in the AL West despite what was already a nightmare ownership transfer process.

The 2011 season has seemed to be the antithesis of 2010 for the Rangers in many respects. Despite leading the division for most of the first half, the Rangers could not gain separation on the Angels. They sit with a one game lead entering Sunday’s games, so they will have at least a share of the lead, but they also won’t possess anything resembling a safe division lead either.

The back half of the bullpen, a strength in 2010, has struggled this time around, starting with Neftali Feliz and continuing through every setup candidate aside from Darren Oliver. The lineup regressed from their 2010 resurgence under Clint Hurdle, as they’ve already fired his replacement, Thad Bosley, and replaced him with Scott Coolbaugh. They’ve already missed Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz for long stretches.

But through all of that, a win Sunday would give them a record of 51-41 entering the break, just one back of last season, thanks to a late rally that has allowed them to carry a six-game winning streak into this final game.

Matt Harrison (6-7, 3.28) will take on Trevor Cahill (8-6, 3.17).

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C.J. Wilson, Rangers Look To Extend Winning Streak Against A's

The Texas Rangers take the field in Arlington on Friday, undoubtedly in a somber mood, looking to extend their winning streak to five. Derek Holland pitched the Rangers to victory on Thursday night, but the win and Holland's brilliant performance were rightfully overshadowed by the tragic death of a fan, who was reaching over past the railing in left field to catch a ball thrown to him by Josh Hamilton. The fan fell over the railing and landed headfirst from a 14-to-20 foot fall, eventually causing his tragic death. 

It's something that certainly puts sports into perspective. 

As tragic as it is, the Rangers still have a game to play on Friday. C.J. Wilson will take the mound as the Rangers look for their fifth straight win, while the All-Star Wilson looks for his ninth win of the season. Wilson is enjoying another fine season, with an 8-3 record, 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 109 SO in 125 innings of work. 

The Rangers will be opposed by a lefthander for the A's - Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez is 8-5 on the year with a 2.31 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Gonzalez is holding opposing batters to a .214 average against.

First pitch in Texas is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT - but I'd expect a moment of silence for the fan and his family, so it might be a bit after 7:05.

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Derek Holland Shuts Out A's, Rangers Win 6-0

Derek Holland seemed to get the message that it was time to perform or be ready to be demoted to the bullpen or even Round Rock. After one of the worst appearances in his career – a four-hit, two-walk, five-run performance in which he didn’t survive the first inning – outsiders really started to speculate on who is most likely to replace Holland in the rotation. Thursday night was his night, however, as he took the eye of the tiger to the mound and shut out the A’s, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out seven for his seventh win.

The offense chipped away at A’s starter Rich Harden for five runs in his five innings and another on the Oakland pen. Ian Kinsler led the way with two hits – which finally rose his batting average to .250 – and a walk. Endy Chavez added a pair of his of his own, and Michael Young homered and walked.

The Rangers and A’s will play game two of their four game set Friday with all-star lefties C.J. Wilson and Gio Gonzalez squaring off.

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Tragic Accident In Rangers Ballpark In Arlington Costs Fan His Life

A fan at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington died Thursday night after tumbling 20 feet from the left field stands. After Josh Hamilton retrieved a foul ball hit into the left field corner by Conor Jackson in the top of the second inning, he tossed the ball toward the stands.

The fan ran forward to snag the ball but fell over the rail. He was reportedly conscious after parametics reached him, but passed away afterward.

The Rangers have had several other falling incidents in Rangers Ballpark, including a 30-foot fall last season that resulted in a fractured skull, but that fan survived.

For quotes on the tragedy from Rangers and A’s representatives, see Richard Durrett’s story for ESPN Dallas.

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Rangers Open Four Game Set With Oakland To End First Half

Fresh off of a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles, the Texas Rangers are set to open up a four game series playing host to the Oakland Athletics

The Rangers head into the series with an eight game lead over the last place Athletics, but they only hold a one game lead over the Angels and three and a half game lead over the Mariners

Texas will send Derek Holland to the mound on Thursday night as he looks to correct his recent woes. Holland has been extremely inconsistent this year - and simply awful as of late. Holland has given up 16 hits in his last two starts, and failed to escape the first inning in his most recent start against the Florida Marlins. While Holland's record sits at 6-4, his 5.10 ERA and 1.54 WHIP are much, much more indicative as to the pitcher he has been this season. If Holland scuffles again tonight against Oakland, he could lose his spot in the rotation to Scott Feldman, who has been rehabbing in the minors.

Texas' offense will face a familiar face: Rich Harden. Harden spent some time with the Rangers last year and was for the most part ineffective. He's made just one start for Oakland this year, so it's tough to really gauge which Harden will show up tonight - the ineffective Harden, the dominant Harden, or the injured Harden. I'll put my money on all three in the same game.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT.

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