Rangers throw 3-hitter in 5-0 win over Giants
By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) A near-perfect day for the Texas Rangers pitching staff ended the same way so many others have this season: in the training room.
Alexi Ogando pitched three perfect innings before leaving with a strained groin after a bunt single, combining with three relievers on a three-hitter to lead Texas past the San Francisco Giants 5-0 on Sunday.
The Rangers also shut out San Francisco for the first time this season in a 5-0 win Friday.
"Seemed like everything we tried to do," Texas manager Ron Washington said, "worked for us."
Well, almost everything.
The AL West-leading Rangers tagged Tim Lincecum (2-7) for all their runs and finished a 4-6 road trip. Even still, the Bay Area finale left its mark.
Ogando, who made his first start of the season filling in for injured Derek Holland, could be the latest Texas starter headed for the disabled list.
"Right now it feels pretty bad," said Ogando, scheduled to have an MRI exam Monday back in Texas. "I feel bad because of the situation we're in but that's something that happens in baseball."
Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler each drove in two runs to chase Lincecum after 5 2-3 innings in the fifth straight loss for San Francisco's shaggy-haired ace. He allowed nine hits, struck out five and walked four.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has been erratic all season.
Sunday was no different.
Lincecum labored through a 30-pitch first inning - walking three straight with two outs - before striking out the side in the second on a rare warm, windless day at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark. In the third, Elvis Andrus tripled and scored on Adrian Beltre's two-out double to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
Everything really unraveled for the Giants in the fourth.
Three straight singles by the Rangers loaded the bases, the last coming on a bunt by Ogando that trickled between Lincecum and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Ogando limped off the field after the play, leaving with a right groin strain after throwing 39 pitches.
Kinsler hit a two-run double to left to put the Rangers ahead 3-0. Lincecum got Beltre to pop out to right with the bases loaded, but he never settled into a rhythm.
Hamilton hit another two-run double in the sixth to extend Texas' lead to 5-0 and send Lincecum into another four days of misery. The lanky right-hander is winless in eight straight starts.
Lincecum, who pitched the Game 5 World Series clincher for the Giants at Texas in 2010 and also helped beat the Rangers earlier in that Series, has a 6.00 ERA this season.
"I was just looking to come in and compete against a very good team, try to right what I've been doing wrong the last 10 starts," Lincecum said. "I didn't do that. Executing my pitches is the biggest problem. I had a good second inning and I wanted to carry that over but nothing was smooth."
This time, the stars on the mound belonged to the Rangers.
Not until Huff's pinch-hit double off Ross with one out in the sixth did the Giants even get a hit. Gregor Blanco followed with a grounder to the pitcher, Huff was tagged out in a rundown heading for third and Beltre's throw nabbed Blanco leaning too far off first for a double play.
Angel Pagan and Nate Schierholtz singled off Adams in the eighth. Then Kinsler snagged a grounder by Brandon Crawford at second and flipped it back-handed to Andrus out of his glove to start another dramatic double play.
The biggest relief for Texas, though, came on the mound.
Washington was hoping for about 60 pitches from Ogando, who took the turn in the rotation for Holland after the left-hander landed on the disabled list Thursday with a fatigued throwing shoulder. He also had a stomach virus that caused him to lose about 15 pounds.
Ogando, who has made 27 relief appearances this season, was in line to make at least one more start. He will head back to the bullpen when Holland and Roy Oswalt - who is scheduled to throw about 80 pitches for Double-A Frisco on Tuesday - are healthy enough to rejoin the rotation.
The bullpen bonanza came two days after six Seattle relievers combined to no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I wanted Ogando to keep going to possibly get that, which was sweet," Ross said. "Then I get in there and after the first inning I'm like, `Oh, dang, we have a no-hitter going.' After that, I kind of forgot. That's part of it."
NOTES: Giants LF Melky Cabrera missed his third straight game with a strained right hamstring. He took batting practice before the game and manager Bruce Bochy remains hopeful Cabrera will return for Tuesday's game against Houston. ... Washington rested Nelson Cruz and Michael Young. Cruz left Saturday's game in the eighth because of a sore right Achilles, which he attributed to his shoes. Cruz expects to play when Texas opens a six-game homestand against Arizona on Tuesday.
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Updated June 10, 2012