(Sports Network) – Alexi Ogando tries to continue his amazing start to the season this afternoon when the Texas Rangers close out a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
In his first year as a starter Ogando has posted a 5-0 mark to go along with a 1.81 earned run average. The impressive start has followed up a spectacular rookie campaign in 2010 that saw him go 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 44 relief appearances.
Ogando’s most recent win over the Chicago White Sox was his best yet, as he tossed a five-hit shutout. He also struck out six, walked three and threw 115 pitches in the first complete game of his career.
“Ogando did an excellent job,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He did an excellent job controlling the [White Sox bats]. Those guys can swing the bats and he kept the ball in play and the defense made plays behind him.”
The gem was the first shutout by a Rangers pitcher at the Ballpark since 2008 and it was also just the fifth by a Texas pitcher at home in the past 12 seasons. Ogando has now yielded two runs or less in all but one of his starts, and his ERA ranks second in the AL.
“Sometimes I don’t know how to express things, but this is like a blessing from God,” Ogando said. “That’s what it is. Every inning I’m learning more, getting more experience and getting more comfortable on the mound.”
Ogando did not get a decision against the Royals the last time he faced them, but is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three games (two starts) against them.
Texas scored early and often on Saturday, as Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Endy Chavez hit consecutive home runs off Sean O’Sullivan in the second inning, all part of the Rangers’ 10-1 rout.
Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz also went deep off O’Sullivan (2-4), who was pounded for 15 hits and 10 runs over 5 2/3 innings. It was the third straight rough start for the right-hander. During that span he’s allowed 31 hits and 23 earned runs, raising his season ERA nearly three whole runs to a current 6.75.
“I tried to get as many outs as I could knowing how deep our bullpen had to go recently,” O’Sullivan said. “It was about as fun as it looked.”
Beltre finished with three RBI and Napoli drove in two for the Rangers, who bounced back from a 12-7 loss in 14 innings on Friday.
The strong offensive showing made a winner of Matt Harrison (5-4). He yielded five hits over six shutout innings and has won two straight starts after losing four consecutive decisions. He left the game, though, with a blister on his pitching hand.
“The last time I had a blister was probably five years ago,” Harrison said. “I don’t know if it had anything to do with it being so humid out there today. I kept touching my hat and finger’s getting wet, rubbing the on the seams it probably popped up.”
Matt Treanor drove in the lone run for Kansas City, which lost for the sixth time in its last seven games.
Kansas City will hand the ball to a young hurler of its own this afternoon in left-hander Danny Duffy, who will be making the third start of his career, but the second already against the Rangers.
In his big league debut on May 18 Duffy gave up two runs and four hits in four innings to the Rangers in his team’s 5-4 loss. He also surrendered two runs in 5 1/3 innings in Baltimore his next time out.
The Rangers have won 15 of their past 20 versus Kansas City, including a 5-2 mark versus the Royals this year.