Andrus rewards Ortiz with shopping spree
SEATTLE -- Rangers reliever Joe Ortiz earned his first Major League victory on Thursday when he threw two scoreless innings in a 4-3 win over the Mariners. As a reward, shortstop Elvis Andrus took him shopping the next day and bought him a suit.
"He said he would buy me a suit after my first Major League victory," Ortiz said. "There is a shopping mall near the hotel, so he took me there and got me a nice gift."
Actually, Andrus bought him two suits. Apparently, Ortiz felt he owed Andrus for the second suit, so he pitched two more scoreless innings on Saturday to get his second big league win as the Rangers beat the Mariners, 3-1.
That's two wins while pitching two scoreless innings each time in the first 12 games of the season. The only other two Rangers pitchers to accomplish that feat were Jim Kern in 1979 and Paul Lindblad in '72. Ortiz is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five games.
"He throws strikes and attacks hitters," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "He throws three pitches for strikes in any count. He personifies being on the attack. Everybody liked what he brought in Spring Training and he has carried it over into the season. He has been the same guy since Day 1 of Spring Training. He hasn't backed away from anybody or anything."
Most of the Rangers' relievers are power pitchers with big arms. Ortiz relies more on getting the ground ball, which he has done 63 percent of the time so far. That's the highest ratio among Rangers relievers.
"The most important thing is to induce ground balls and to do that, I have to attack down in the zone," Ortiz said. "That way, I don't throw many pitches and I don't get fly balls."