ARLINGTON—Even as the Rangers keep an eye on the trade market for starting pitching, Scott Feldman seems to be saying, “don’t forget about me.” The Rangers’ right-hander, mixing a sharp sinker and a good fastball, tied a career high by pitching eight shutout innings in helping the Rangers snap a two-game skid with a 2-0 victory over the White Sox on Sunday. David Murphy had three hits, including a double, and Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz each scored a run for the Rangers, who used some aggressive base running to earn a victory the day before the start of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in a West Division showdown. Feldman (5-6), who started the season 0-6, won his fifth consecutive decision, including four as a starter.
“The main adjustment I’ve made was to have a better attitude and not get caught up in the rumors and when I’m going to pitch and when I’m not going to pitch,” said Feldman, who was miffed when he was taken out of the rotation in June. “I’m just worrying about having a good time and keep things simple.”
That has translated to a very good July. In his last two starts he has allowed only one run in 15 innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks, compiling a 1.96 ERA in July. Feldman, who retired eight of the last 10 batters he faced, gave up seven hits on Sunday and was efficient, throwing only 88 pitches in matching the eight innings he has thrown on two other occasions, the last being June 2, 2010, also against the Sox at U.S.Cellular Field. Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 21st save.
“He’s got a good sinker and breaking ball working — he’s not hanging it — keeping the ball down, executing his pitches extremely well and not making mistakes,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
“He’s got a crisp fastball, too.”
Gavin Floyd (8-9), who was 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA in his previous five starts, allowed seven hits over 6 2/3 innings in taking the loss for the White Sox, who have a 1½ game lead over Detroit in the AL Central.
“You just have to go out there and keep the team in the game and hope that we come back and put runs up,” said Floyd, who struck out one and walked five. “I got enough to focus on that I don’t worry about that. Our team is going to score runs.”
The White Sox left six runners on base and were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.The Rangers weren’t much better, continuing to struggle with runners in scoring position. They did manage to scratch across two runs after finishing the series 1 for 30 with runners in scoring position. They left 13 runners on base Sunday.
“I look at it the other way,” Washington said. “At least we’re getting them there [in position]. We’re too good a hitting team to [continue] to not get them home.”
Hamilton returned to the lineup for the Rangers, but not in his customary No. 3 slot. Washington penciled him in at No. 5.Hamilton is hitting .115 in his last 17 games after going 0 for 2 with two walks as the designated hitter.He scored the Rangers’ first run after reaching base on his second walk in the bottom half of the third. He advanced to third on Murphy’s single and scored when shortstop Alexei Ramirez bobbled and dropped Mike Napoli’s grounder in what would have been the third out. Nelson Cruz, who doubled to lead off the fifth, scored the Rangers’ second run, breaking for home from third when Floyd fielded Michael Young’s dribbler in front of the plate and threw to first.
“When you’re not scoring runs, you have to take chances,” Washington said. “You want that runner to come down the third-base line as far as he can, and then as a runner he has to make a decision. Either you go or you don’t.”
Jordan Danks was 2 for 3 for the White Sox.
NOTES—The White Sox lead on second place Detroit was trimmed to 1 1/2 games….Hamilton broke a string of consecutive games with a strikeout at seven…..Rangers starter Neftali Feliz was scratched from his scheduled rehabilitation start at Triple A Round Rock because of discomfort in his right elbow, team officials said. The 24-year-old Feliz hasn’t pitched in two months after being diagnosed with inflammation of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He will undergo further evaluation…..A.J. Pierzynski sat out a fifth consecutive game with a strained oblique. Pierzynski said he could have played, but agreed with manager Robin Ventura’s decision to give him an extra day off. He is expected back in the lineup for the start of a three-game series Monday against Minnesota.