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Mendez tagged for 6 runs in 1st MLB start

Rangers drop 7th straight game with loss to Rockies
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and the Yankees are both looking for starting pitching. The Yankees need starting pitching because they are trying to reach and advance deep in the postseason.

The Rangers are looking for starting pitching in case the Yankees start coveting left-hander Cole Hamels and are willing to give up some of their attractive young players. If that happens, the Rangers will need replacements and that seems part of the rationale for why they are preparing to give rookie left-hander Yohander Mendez an extended look as a starter.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and the Yankees are both looking for starting pitching. The Yankees need starting pitching because they are trying to reach and advance deep in the postseason.

The Rangers are looking for starting pitching in case the Yankees start coveting left-hander Cole Hamels and are willing to give up some of their attractive young players. If that happens, the Rangers will need replacements and that seems part of the rationale for why they are preparing to give rookie left-hander Yohander Mendez an extended look as a starter.

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The Rangers also need this to go better than Mendez's first start on Friday night. Home runs by Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo in the bottom of the first helped stake Mendez to a five-run lead. But the Rockies scored six in the top of the second and went on to an 8-5 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Park. The Rangers have lost a season-high seven straight.

"Obviously the second inning was a challenge for him," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Couldn't find his secondary stuff and not the command of fastball that was needed or necessary at the time. Snowballed on him a little bit. He made some mistakes in the middle of the plate, but went out and pitched a solid third. At that point, the pitch count, it was time to go ahead and make a move."

Video: COL@TEX: Mendez freezes Arenado for first K of 2018

Mendez lasted just three innings and 72 pitches. He pitched scoreless innings in the first and third, he just couldn't get the final out in the second. Ian Desmond led off the inning with a home run before Mendez retired two of the next three hitters, leaving him with a runner at second and two outs.

Then he allowed five straight hits. Noel Cuevas, DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon all singled, Nolan Arenado tied the game with a two-run double and Trevor Story put the Rockies ahead with an RBI single.

"I was trying to get ahead of the hitters because I know I had a good lead," Mendez said. "It was worse, it went the other way. I couldn't get ahead in the count so I had to come back inside and they started hitting. It was a long inning. I was trying to duplicate what I did in the first inning. As soon as I got those first guys out but I couldn't get ahead in the count and that's what I have to do."

Mendez's Major League debut comes at a time when the Rangers' rotation is in complete flux. Doug Fister is in on the disabled list, and Matt Moore is in the bullpen. Bartolo Colon has a 9.51 ERA in his last five games, and Martin Perez isn't expected to come off the disabled list until after the All-Star break. The Rangers would be willing to trade Hamels if they could get a significant return.

Mendez is the No. 7 prospect in the Rangers' farm system, per MLB Pipeline. He was also 0-6 with a 5.26 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A before getting the call. Yovani Gallardo, trying to resuscitate a 12-year career, is right behind him to pitch on Sunday.

"This was always my wish to become a starter in the Majors," Mendez said. "I know it didn't come out the way that I wanted, the way that I dreamed either, but I know I have more chances and this is a learning process for me. I'll try to stay focused the next time."

Right now the Rangers are committed to giving him multiple starts in the big leagues. Right now that means next Wednesday against the Royals in Kansas City.

"Erase tonight, go away from it," Banister said. "It is one outing, it's the first outing, things like this happen. Get back to working on the fastball and find the range with the secondary stuff. You just don't know with these young guys when they come up, where their level of comfort is. I feel comfortable with Yohander. I believe he is a strong kid mentally, he'll be able to rebound. And get back out there and pitch the baseball well for us."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Profar, Gallo fuel five-run first: The Rangers were without right fielder Nomar Mazara on Friday night because of a sore left wrist but Profar and Gallo made up for his absence with a pair of two-run home runs in a five-run first inning against Rockies starter Chad Bettis.

Profar was moved up from fifth to third after Mazara was a late scratch and followed a one-out walk to Delino DeShields with a blast into the right-field sets to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. It was Profar's seventh home run of the season and his sixth at Globe Life Park.

Gallo added a two-out shot by jumping on a first-pitch slider and slamming it deep into the center-field seats. Gallo's 18th home run of the season had an exit velocity of 115.5 mph and an estimated distance of 447 feet, according to Statcast™.

It's the third time this season Gallo has had an exit velocity on a home run of at least 115 mph, tying him with Aaron Judge, one behind Giancarlo Stanton. The 447-foot distance marks his second longest home run of the season. He went 466 feet on May 5 off of Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.

Video: COL@TEX: Gallo crushes a 447-ft. home run in Texas

SOUND SMART
Shin-Soo Choo had a walk in the second inning and has now reached base in 29 straight games. That's the second longest such streak in the Majors this season behind Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera, who reached in 40 straight games. It is the longest by a Rangers player since Elvis Andrus had a 32-game streak in 2012.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Rangers center fielder DeShields continues to make highlight defensive plays. He raced to the wall in the bottom of the sixth and made a nice ballet catch of LeMahieu's long drive. DeShields had to cover 82 feet, although the ball stayed up 5.3 second off 98.7-mph exit velocity.

Video: COL@TEX: DeShields makes a stellar wall-crashing grab

PEREZ EXITS GAME
Rangers catcher Carlos Perez had to leave Friday's game in the second inning after sustaining a sprained right ankle on a play at the plate. X-rays on Perez's ankle were negative but he was wearing a boot on the foot after the game. The Rangers will find out on Saturday if he needs to go on the disabled list. More >

HE SAID IT
"My mom's out there asking me 'Were you nervous? Were you nervous?' And I was like 'I don't think I had any time to, mom. Sorry.'" -- Rangers catcher Jose Trevino, on making his Major League debut

UP NEXT
Mike Minor makes his first start in a week when he faces the Rockies at 3:05 p.m. CT Saturday at Globe Life Park. Minor faced the Astros last Saturday and allowed three runs in six innings. He's 3-2 with a 5.73 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances in his career against the Rockies but will be starting against them for the first time since 2014. Left-hander Kyle Freeland is scheduled to start for the Rockies.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Yohander Mendez