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Rangers' bullpen steals show in finale win

Relief crew combines to hold A's hitless over final 4 1/3 innings
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers finally saw the good side of their bullpen show up at Globe Life Park.

Jesse Chavez, Alex Claudio, Chris Martin and Keone Kela combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings and the Rangers held off the Athletics for a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night. Texas also got a couple of big hits with runners in scoring position -- something that had been missing too often lately -- and its first triple of the year in the win, which ended Oakland's win streak at four.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers finally saw the good side of their bullpen show up at Globe Life Park.

Jesse Chavez, Alex Claudio, Chris Martin and Keone Kela combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings and the Rangers held off the Athletics for a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night. Texas also got a couple of big hits with runners in scoring position -- something that had been missing too often lately -- and its first triple of the year in the win, which ended Oakland's win streak at four.

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"We had a lot of guys doing their thing," starter Doug Fister said. "It all added up to a good night."

Video: OAK@TEX: Banister on Rangers' bullpen, win over A's

Rangers relievers allowed 19 runs in 16 2/3 innings over the first five games of the homestand. This outing was more like their work in road games: Texas relievers have a 1.16 ERA in 10 games away from Arlington.

"It was a good game to come back from, and just move forward into our next series going into Toronto and Cleveland," Kela said. "We got a good start from Doug Fister, and everybody that came out of the bullpen did exactly what the game asked them to do, and we were able to come home with the win. We needed it tremendously.

"We've been going through our own little trials and tribulations, and I think it was a good collective bullpen win just to move forward and forget about the past, continue to build on this, and just have a domino effect."

The four Rangers relievers faced 13 batters, and the only one to reach base was on an error. They also combined for five strikeouts. Chavez started the roll by retiring four consecutive hitters and earning the win. Claudio, Martin and Kela -- who earned his fourth save -- each pitched a scoreless inning.

"We need to get on a roll, and hopefully today starts that," Martin said. "We have a lot of good guys down there, and everybody can throw in any situation. That's an asset right there. We have a great bullpen, we just need to get on a streak and have everybody feel comfortable."

Manager Jeff Banister said Chavez being able to form the bridge from Fister to the back end of the bullpen was most critical.

"To be able to get these guys off the field with a positive and close the door like that, that will go a long way to getting them back on track physically and mentally," Banister said.

The bullpen made the Rangers' clutch hits stand up. Texas entered the game hitting .203 with runners in scoring position, including .182 with two outs. But, trailing 2-1, the Rangers were able to break through in the fifth inning with two-out RBI singles from Nomar Mazara and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Video: OAK@TEX: Kiner-Falefa knocks an RBI single to right

The Rangers had just those two hits in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but Ronald Guzman drove in Kiner-Falefa from first base in the eighth with a triple. The Rangers had gone 47 games without a triple, dating back to Sept. 8 of last season.

Video: OAK@TEX: Guzman plates Kiner-Falefa with a triple

Fister came off the disabled list and allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits, walked three and struck out three while throwing 105 pitches. One of the hits was a two-run home run by Khris Davis, giving the Athletics a 2-0 lead in the third inning.

Video: OAK@TEX: Fister gets Maxwell looking at strike three

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Marcus Semien, with the Rangers leading 3-2, opened the eighth by reaching second base on Kiner-Falefa's throwing error. Jed Lowrie followed with a medium deep fly ball to left-center. Delino DeShields made the catch and Semien tested DeShelds' arm, only to get nailed for a critical out. DeShields put the throw right on target from 266 feet away.

Video: OAK@TEX: DeShields turns 8-5 double play in 8th

"We're gonna run on DeShields," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "That's the scouting report, and that's the best throw I've seen him make, so I'm sure that's what Marcus was thinking when he took off."

SOUND SMART
Khris Davis has 18 home runs against the Rangers since the start of the 2016 season. That's the most for any player in the Major Leagues against any single opponent over that period. His 17 home runs against the Mariners are the second most against any opponent. .

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Shin-Soo Choo made his sixth start in right field and Statcast™ gave him four stars for his diving catch in the second, taking away a hit from Davis. Choo had to cover 56 feet in 3.7 seconds and the play had just a 49 percent chance of being made.

Video: OAK@TEX: Choo lays out for a nice grab in right

HE SAID IT
"Those guys have been worked hard and it says a lot about them that they come ready to pitch every night. We appreciate those guys."
-- Fister, on the bullpen

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Rangers' first run came in the fourth inning when Juan Centeno came to the plate with Joey Gallo at third, Guzman at first and one out. Centeno hit a grounder to third baseman Matt Chapman, who went for the inning-ending double play. Centeno barely beat the throw to first and the Athletics challenged. After review, the call stood and Centeno had his second RBI of the season. The Rangers are 6-1 with Centeno as their catcher.

Video: OAK@TEX: Gallo scores on Centeno's FC, call stands

UP NEXT
Left-hander Mike Minor opens up a three-game series against the Blue Jays at 6:05 p.m. CT Friday at Rogers Centre. Minor is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three career starts and two relief appearances against the Blue Jays. He allowed one run on two hits over six innings in a 5-1 victory on April 7. Marcus Stroman is scheduled to pitch for the Blue Jays.

Texas Rangers

Beltre on DL as Rua called up, Fister activated

Third baseman has strained left hamstring; Bush optioned to Triple-A
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have placed third baseman Adrian Beltre on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, but are optimistic that he won't be out for an extended period of time.

Beltre underwent an MRI on Wednesday and the results showed a Grade 1 strain. That is considered on the mild side of the spectrum and Beltre may be sidelined no more than a couple of weeks.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have placed third baseman Adrian Beltre on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, but are optimistic that he won't be out for an extended period of time.

Beltre underwent an MRI on Wednesday and the results showed a Grade 1 strain. That is considered on the mild side of the spectrum and Beltre may be sidelined no more than a couple of weeks.

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"Short of just a cramp, Grade 1 is as good as we can hope for," manager Jeff Banister said. "My thinking is we'll look at this conservatively, but knowing Adrian and his history, what he is able to maneuver through, anything is possible. This is about how he heals and what strength he can get in the hamstring and how he can deal with it."

Banister said Isiah Kiner-Falefa will move from second to third base while Beltre is down. Drew Robinson will play second base and the Rangers are committed to keeping Joey Gallo in left field or at first base. The Rangers also have Renato Nunez to play third, first and left field as a right-handed bat off the bench.

"[Kiner-Falefa] will be primarily at third base," Banister said. "We talked it over with our development people and our scouts, and with the personnel we have, Kiner-Falefa has probably played more on the left side of the diamond and Drew's skills are best suited for second base."

Kiner-Falefa started at third base on Wednesday for the first time since being called up on April 10. He had started nine games at second and two at shortstop, but played 110 games at third base in the Minor Leagues as part of his development as a utility player.

Beltre joins shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor on the disabled list. Odor is still at least 10-14 days away from returning because of a strained left hamstring. He has only started to do light jogging. Andrus isn't expected back until sometime in June.

"It's a gut-punch," Banister said. "It doesn't feel good. But I believe elite competitors don't get caught up in the situation. There are guys in that clubhouse who have a real opportunity that they wouldn't have if not for the injuries."

The Rangers recalled Ryan Rua from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Beltre. This will be his third tour with the Rangers and he will join Nunez as a utility player on the bench.

Bush sent down
The Rangers also optioned pitcher Matt Bush to Round Rock to make room for Doug Fister, who was activated off the disabled list.

Bush was sent down with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. He also had nine walks in 11 1/3 innings.

"With Matt, we've identified a couple of things he can work on," Banister said. "This is a great time for Matt to go down and focus on sharpening his edge and simplify his plan of attack, be ready to come back fresh and help us."

Bush was given an opportunity to be a starter in Spring Training, but ended up in the bullpen. Banister said Bush will continue to work as a reliever at Round Rock.

Rangers beat
• Wednesday marked only the seventh time since the beginning of the 2011 season that the Rangers lineup was missing both Beltre and Andrus.

• Rangers pitchers hit four batters in Tuesday's game. That's the fourth time in club history they have hit four or more batters in a game and they went into Wednesday's games leading the Majors with 20 hit batsmen.

• The Rangers will start Mike Minor, Bartolo Colon and Martin Perez during their three-game series against the Blue Jays this weekend. Cole Hamels will start on Monday against the Indians, passing over Matt Moore. Banister said the Rangers are undecided after Monday.

Tim Lincecum will fly to Arizona on Thursday to continue his throwing program while the Rangers are in Toronto and Cleveland. He could begin a rehab assignment the week of May 6 if all goes well in Surprise. He is eligible to come off the disabled list May 28.

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, Adrian Beltre, Matt Bush, Doug Fister, Ryan Rua

Ronald Guzman and Drew Robinson made a slick, barehanded 3-4-3 putout after a wild deflection

You never know what you'll see on the baseball diamond -- but you can pretty much count on some great defense every now and then. And, as we've pointed out time and time again, reflexes play a big role in on-field success. In fact, they can determine the success or failure of a particular moment in the game. 

Take the top of the third inning in the Rangers' 4-2 win over the A's on Wednesday in Arlington. Matt Joyce cracked a hard grounder toward Ronald Guzman at first base, but the ball took a bounce off Guzman's glove and into short right field ... where second baseman Drew Robinson flashed some quick reflexes, and ... 

Early not an issue, Rangers again stumble late

Texas falls to 1-4 on current homestand; all losses forged in 7th inning
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Starter Cole Hamels looked as sharp as he has so far this season, but it still wasn't good enough to get the Rangers turned around in their own ballpark.

Instead, the Rangers lost another one in the late innings as the Athletics pulled away to a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park. The loss was Texas' 12th in 15 home games. The Rangers are 1-4 on the current homestand, and all four losses have come with the go-ahead run in the seventh.

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ARLINGTON -- Starter Cole Hamels looked as sharp as he has so far this season, but it still wasn't good enough to get the Rangers turned around in their own ballpark.

Instead, the Rangers lost another one in the late innings as the Athletics pulled away to a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park. The loss was Texas' 12th in 15 home games. The Rangers are 1-4 on the current homestand, and all four losses have come with the go-ahead run in the seventh.

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The Rangers also may have lost third baseman Adrian Beltre for a significant period of time as he had to exit the game in the eighth inning with a left hamstring strain.

Video: OAK@TEX: Beltre rips RBI single, leaves with injury

"It's a tough blow," Hamels said. "He is a big part of our offense. Big part of our defense, just who he is and what he brings to the team, especially in the lineup. You don't want to see that."

Hamels has three losses at home and is 0-5 with a 7.32 ERA in his last five starts at Globe Life. Prior to that, he had won eight consecutive decisions at home. The Rangers' Opening Day starter is now 1-4 with 4.41 ERA after six starts.

"I thought he did a good job with the offspeed stuff," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Pretty gutsy performance by him to be able to maneuver through the innings and the [baserunners]. Great use of the curve, slider and changeup, and enough fastballs to keep them off the offspeed stuff. He really battled through all that."

Hamels allowed just two runs on five hits and two walks through 6 1/3 innings, but three hit batters also caused some more trouble.

"Having so many baserunners is not something you prefer," Hamels said. "It was a tough situation, hitting as many guys as I did. They definitely have some power and I'm just trying to minimize the damage. They ran up my pitch count and made it difficult to go deep in the game. You have to battle through it and just try to put up as many zeros as you can."

Hamels and Athletics counterpart Andrew Triggs pitched five scoreless innings. The Athletics finally scored in the top of the sixth on Mark Canha's home run. The Rangers tied it in the bottom of the inning when Beltre hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and one out.

Video: OAK@TEX: Beltre ties the game with a sacrifice fly

Hamels' outing came to an end with one out in the seventh when he gave up a double to Marcus Semien. Matt Bush took over and walked Matt Joyce after getting ahead 0-2 in the count. Jed Lowrie followed with a double to center to drive home the go-ahead run. Joyce stopped at third on the play and then, with Khris Davis up, got picked off by catcher Robinson Chirinos.

Video: OAK@TEX: Chirinos picks off Joyce at third in the 7th

Matt Olson had an RBI double in the top of the eighth that made it 3-1. Beltre drove home Shin-Soo Choo with what should have been an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth, but he had to stop at first because of the leg injury.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara just missed taking away a home run from Canha in the sixth. Mazara got his glove over the wall and had the ball, only to let it slip out from what would have been a terrific catch.

Video: OAK@TEX: Canha homers just out of the reach of Mazara

SOUND SMART
Hamels hit three batters in the game. He got Olson on the hand in the second and Stephen Piscotty on the foot later that inning. He also plunked Chad Pinder in the third on the foot. This was only the second time in 368 career starts that Hamels hit three batters in a game. The other was on April 20, 2016, against the Astros. Those outings are tied for the most hit batters by a Rangers pitcher in one game.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Delino DeShields made a tremendous catch to take away extra bases from Jonathan Lucroy in the eighth. According to Statcast™, DeShields needed to cover 109 ft to get to the ball and actually ran 111 ft, so a great route. He had 5.6 seconds to get there and had 29.5 ft/sec sprint speed (close to the 30 ft/sec elite level). DeShields also got a bonus for the knock being a "wall ball" and all of that adds up to a 4 percent catch probability. Call it a five-star play.

Video: OAK@TEX: DeShields ranges to warning track for out

UP NEXT
Right-handed pitcher Doug Fister is scheduled to come off the disabled list and start against the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. CT Wednesday. This will be his first start since April 9 and Banister said he should be on a normal 95-100 pitch count. Right-hander Kendall Graveman will pitch for the Athletics.

Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels

Adrian Beltre kept playing fast and loose with the rules, but umpire Greg Gibson was there to enforce them

Adrian Beltre is a funny guy. He likes to mess around not only with other players but with on-deck circles as well. During Tuesday night's game between the Rangers and Athletics, Beltre had some lighthearted fun with third-base umpire Greg Gibson.

With one man on and no outs in the top of the second inning, A's center fielder Mark Canha lined a ball to Beltre. Recognizing he might be able to turn two if he didn't catch it, Beltre tried to act like he dropped the ball:

Barnette's return looms after BP session

Lincecum faces hitters for first time after placed on 60-day DL
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitchers Tony Barnette and Tim Lincecum threw an inning of batting practice Tuesday. It could be the last step for Barnette before being activated off the disabled list on Friday.

Barnette hasn't pitched since April 14 because of inflammation in his right shoulder but had no issues on Tuesday.

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitchers Tony Barnette and Tim Lincecum threw an inning of batting practice Tuesday. It could be the last step for Barnette before being activated off the disabled list on Friday.

Barnette hasn't pitched since April 14 because of inflammation in his right shoulder but had no issues on Tuesday.

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"It went well," Barnette said. "It was good to see some hitters. Everything came out free and easy. We are on the right track. Shoulder felt good. Haven't felt any tightness since we treated it. It was a quick fix, fortunate for that."

Barnette is eligible to come off the DL Wednesday but the Rangers want to see how he recovers from this session and will likely hold off making a decision until Friday.

"All reports are he threw the ball well and felt good," manager Jeff Banister said. "We'll see how he is, but I don't think tomorrow is realistic."

Lincecum, who signed with the Rangers on March 7, has a much longer road. This was the first time he has faced hitters since Spring Training and he began the season on the disabled list because of a blister on his right middle finger. The Rangers have since put him on the 60-day disabled list to avoid rushing him back and he is not eligible to come off until May 28.

Video: Lincecum, Banister on the righty's expectations

"This is my Spring Training, I'm going to make the most of it," Lincecum said. "I threw 22 pitches, and worked on all my pitches. It was nice to see hitters. I can't remember my last live batting practice. It went good."

Concern for Claudio
Has the American League caught up to Alex Claudio? The Rangers soft-tossing left-hander has allowed a .400 opposing batting average in his first 13 games and a 1.97 WHIP. His ERA is 7.59. He had a 2.50 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a .259 opponents batting average in 70 games last year.

That's something the Rangers have to ponder when they make a roster move on Wednesday and activate Doug Fister off the disabled list. The Rangers also have Barnette returning on Friday and Claudio still has one Minor League option left.

Video: TEX@HOU: Claudio retires Reddick to seal Rangers' win

"You talk about adjustments, player shows up, the league makes an adjustment, player makes an adjustment, it's that back-and-forth game," Banister said. "Claudio threw quite a few games last year in big situations and identified himself as a player in this league. Hitters pay attention, and he is one of the guys they focus in on. They have seen him.

"Part of the process for him is what can he do to punch back. For a guy who is more finesse than power, execution of pitches, he has to have it at a high rate. Feel for pitches is a premium."

Rangers tickets, Bush ball up for auction
Four tickets to a Rangers game and an autographed baseball signed by former President George W. Bush are among the items being currently auctioned off on MLB.com. Bush was the Rangers' managing general partner from 1989-94 before becoming governor of Texas and President of the United States.

Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires will offer up more than 300 items that include priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at www.mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 10 p.m. EDT Monday. Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos, and baseballs from some of the biggest stars in baseball. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.  

All proceeds from the online auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children and financial assistance for families in need. 

"Each year, thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world, we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said Gary Darling, former MLB umpire and board president for UMPS CARE Charities. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

Rangers beat
Joey Gallo was in the lineup on Tuesday despite dealing with a contusion on his right hand. Gallo had a bandage on the hand, the result of a slide on his second-inning steal on Monday night.

Video: OAK@TEX: Gallo steals second, takes third on an error

• The Rangers were 8-16 going into Tuesday's game, and Banister pointed out that's the same record they held after 24 games in 2015. The Rangers went on to win the division that year, but only after acquiring pitcher Cole Hamels at the trade deadline.

"The greatest asset we have right now is having veteran players who have experience and been through this before," Banister said. "That's invaluable."

•: An infield single by Jean Segura in Sunday's game between the Rangers and the Mariners has been changed to an error on shortstop Jurickson Profar.

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.

Tony Barnette

Rangers' 'pen falters late in loss to Athletics

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister is trying to find some "range" from some of his relievers. That's another way of saying he's hoping for some to carry more of a workload and not let others get overworked.

That's why Kevin Jepsen was in the game in the ninth inning on Monday night instead of Keone Kela. Banister was hoping to stay away from Kela after using him two of the previous three games, but it didn't work out the way the manager wanted.

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister is trying to find some "range" from some of his relievers. That's another way of saying he's hoping for some to carry more of a workload and not let others get overworked.

That's why Kevin Jepsen was in the game in the ninth inning on Monday night instead of Keone Kela. Banister was hoping to stay away from Kela after using him two of the previous three games, but it didn't work out the way the manager wanted.

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With the game tied in the ninth, the Athletics scored six runs off Jepsen and Jesse Chavez to hand the Rangers a 9-4 loss at Globe Life Park.

"If we score in the eighth, we probably run [Kela] out there in a closing situation," Banister said. "But not in a tie game. We need to find some range from our relievers."

This has not been a fun homestand for the Rangers' relievers. They have been needed for 14 innings over four games and allowed 18 runs on 25 hits, including five home runs, and nine walks. All this coming after they had allowed just one run in 17 innings on a six-game road trip to Houston and Tampa Bay.

"First month of the season is always finicky," Jepsen said. "Sometimes you get off to a rough start, sometimes you get off to a great start. We'll find it, get back on a roll and go from there."

Part of the issue is a starting rotation with a 5.11 ERA and averaging just over five innings a start. That forces the bullpen into games earlier than desired. Matt Moore allowed three runs in five-plus innings before the leaving with 86 pitches thrown on Monday night.

Video: OAK@TEX: Moore strands a pair on a flyout

"I feel like I pitched out of some situations and gave us a chance to win," Moore said. "But I am still not as sharp as I need to be."

The other part is relievers not being able to finish their innings, especially on Monday, when Rangers pitchers allowed 14 hits and seven walks in nine innings. Jose Leclerc bailed Moore out in the sixth, but Matt Bush had to get him out of a seventh-inning jam. The Rangers wanted Alex Claudio to take care of the eighth, but Jepsen had to get the last out there before going to the ninth.

"We kind of created the situation for ourselves there in the ninth," Banister said. "I felt like Jepsen has been throwing the ball well for us. Went and got a big out for us, sent him back out, trying to gain some range in our bullpen. Over the last four days, everybody out there has thrown quite a bit."

Video: OAK@TEX: Banister on pitching woes, giving up chances

But Marcus Semien jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Jepsen and crushed it over the left-field wall to give the Athletics a 4-3 lead. Oakland added five more runs before the inning was over.

"Leading off the ninth inning with Semien, I know he's looking for a heater," Jepsen said. "I know if I put a fastball down and away, I'm safe, but it leaked back over the plate and he didn't miss it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
DeShields gets caught: Delino DeShields singled with one out in the fifth with the game tied at 3, and he stole second as Shin-Soo Choo whiffed at a 2-0 pitch. DeShields then decided to steal third on the next pitch but broke too early. A's starter Trevor Cahill stepped off the mound, and DeShields was tagged out in an ensuing rundown.

Video: OAK@TEX: Cahill catches DeShields leaning, nabs him

SOUND SMART
DeShields had two hits on Monday night. It's only the second multi-hit game by a Rangers center fielder this season. He also had two stolen bases. Texas had one in its previous nine games.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Robinson Chirinos had one hit and eight strikeouts in his previous 16 at-bats when he came up in the fourth against Cahill. He jumped on a 1-1 breaking ball and put it in the left-field seats for a two-run home run that wiped out the Athletics' 3-1 lead.

Video: OAK@TEX: Chirinos belts a towering two-run homer

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
After Semien's homer, Jed Lowrie came up with one out and hit a ground ball to Jurickson Profar at shortstop. Lowrie was initially ruled out thanks to a nice play by first baseman Ronald Guzman, but the A's challenged the call. Lowrie was ruled safe, and Oakland went on to score five more runs and seal its victory.

Video: OAK@TEX: Lowrie reaches safely after review

UP NEXT
Left-hander Cole Hamels pitches against the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Globe Life Park. Hamels is 3-3 with a 4.11 ERA in eight career starts against the Athletics. His only win this season came against the A's on April 3, when he allowed one run in five innings. Andrew Triggs will start for the Athletics.

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, Robinson Chirinos

Fister's return gives Rangers good problem

Odor takes grounders for first time since injury; Martin visits old high school
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are in the process of trying to figure out what to do with six healthy starting pitchers. That's what they are looking at when Doug Fister comes off the disabled list and starts Wednesday against the Athletics.

The Rangers will be trying to fit Fister into a rotation that already includes Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Bartolo Colon.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are in the process of trying to figure out what to do with six healthy starting pitchers. That's what they are looking at when Doug Fister comes off the disabled list and starts Wednesday against the Athletics.

The Rangers will be trying to fit Fister into a rotation that already includes Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Bartolo Colon.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's a lot better than only having four," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It gives us some maneuverability. We like the fact we're getting Doug back and we like where Perez is trending. Those are positive questions."

Colon came out of the bullpen when Fister went on the disabled list and has recently given the Rangers two strong starts. Colon is going to get at least one more start before the Rangers decide on who, if anyone, comes out of the rotation.

Video: Must C Colon: Bartolo flirts with perfect game

Along with Hamels starting Tuesday and Fister on Wednesday, the Rangers are planning on Minor pitching Friday against the Blue Jays followed by Colon on Saturday and Perez on Sunday. Hamels is scheduled to open the three-game series against the Indians on Monday, and it gets murky after that.

The Rangers could go with a six-man rotation, but that does not appear to be a likely option.

"We've got some options, and we have some decisions to make," Banister said.

Odor takes grounders
Second baseman Rougned Odor, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, took ground balls for the first time on Monday. He is also swinging off a tee but has not yet taken batting practice.

Odor injured the leg in a game on April 9, and the original prognosis was that he would be sidelined for a minimum of three weeks. It does not appear he is going to beat that projection because he has not yet started running.

"Every day I am feeling better and better," Odor said.

The Rangers will continue to use rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa in his place. Kiner-Falefa entered Monday's game slashing .289./325/.395.

"I feel happy for him," Odor said. "He has been doing a really good job. He is a great guy, a great person and a great teammate. I played with him in Spring Training and talked to him a lot. I give him tips. He asks me and I tell him so he can be better. Now I am the one explaining everything to guys. A few years ago I was asking everybody. That feels good."

Video: SEA@TEX: Kiner-Falefa drives in two with RBI single

Martin returns to Arlington High
Reliever Chris Martin returned to Arlington High School on Monday to visit some old friends, including head baseball coach David Nix. Martin pitched at Arlington High in 2002-04 and is the first from that school to play for the Rangers.

"Walking around brought back some old memories," Martin said. "Playing there, a lot of good guys who I am still good friends today. I enjoyed it. That's where a big part of my baseball career started. A big part of who I am today. Really enjoyed my high school experience."

Tweet from @ArlingtonISD: Current @Rangers and former @ArlingtonHigh pitcher Chris Martin was able to stop by his old school on his way to the office today. A true #WherePotentialGetsReal moment. pic.twitter.com/nzS0ljA7Wz

Nix gave Martin a tour of the updated facilities and much has changed in 14 years. All that needs to be known about the Arlington High athletic facilities is the Rangers use them for their offseason workouts.

"Oh my, it's way better," Martin said. "We used to have a little fieldhouse and a little weight room, not that I did much in there. Now it's huge. It's changed a lot. It's a college facility. A lot different than when I was there."

Rangers beat
Tim Lincecum and Tony Barnette, both on the disabled list, are scheduled to throw live batting practice on Tuesday.

• Right-handed reliever Ricardo Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis, threw one inning in an extended spring training game on Monday.

• The Rangers are 5-1 when backup catcher Juan Centeno starts after Sunday's 7-4 victory over the Mariners.

• The Rangers are observing a moment of silence before Monday's game for Davey Nelson, who passed away. Nelson was an All-Star infielder in 1973 for the Rangers.

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, Doug Fister, Chris Martin, Rougned Odor

Perez's strong start backed by Gallo, Mazara HRs

Left-hander made delivery adjustment between starts, sought advice from Bartolo Colon
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Martin Perez said this game would be different and he was right. Perez, after the delivery adjustment he made between starts, was much sharper than in his two previous outings and this time, the bullpen made a lead stand up.

The second part was a little more harrowing than needed, but the Rangers were still able to hold on for a 7-4 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park. Fourth-inning home runs by Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo, as well as a clutch two-run single in the eighth by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, also helped the Rangers keep from being swept by the Mariners.

View Full Game Coverage

ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Martin Perez said this game would be different and he was right. Perez, after the delivery adjustment he made between starts, was much sharper than in his two previous outings and this time, the bullpen made a lead stand up.

The second part was a little more harrowing than needed, but the Rangers were still able to hold on for a 7-4 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park. Fourth-inning home runs by Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo, as well as a clutch two-run single in the eighth by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, also helped the Rangers keep from being swept by the Mariners.

View Full Game Coverage

Perez, who had allowed 16 runs combined in his two previous starts, earned the victory by holding the Mariners to two runs in six innings. He allowed seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts in a performance that suggested getting back over the top in his delivery would make a difference. So did his strong mental outlook, as suggested by his mentor Bartolo Colon.

"I was talking to Bartolo yesterday and he was saying, 'Stay positive, we're close to good things happening,'" Perez said. "Everything starts with your mind. If you're not ready in your mind, you're not ready to compete. You've got to stay positive, even when things are not going good."

Video: SEA@TEX: Perez strikes out Cruz in the top of the 3rd

The performance also came at a time when the Rangers are close to having Doug Fister return from the disabled list and go back into a crowded rotation. Another bad outing by Perez might have put his spot in the rotation in jeopardy, although manager Jeff Banister said the Rangers were not thinking about that.

"I don't think that's necessarily the case," Banister said. "We always look to put our best out there and Martin is one of our best. He has gone through a lot and he has some range and equity with us."

The Mariners had 11 hits and three walks, but Rangers pitchers were able to hold them to 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

"We had a ton of traffic out there, we left 12 men on base," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "A lot of good at-bats. With all the traffic, you hope you can put up more than four runs. I thought we had, certainly, plenty of chances, we just didn't get a couple big hits."

The win snapped the Rangers' three-game losing streak, with the last two coming despite leading after six innings. The Rangers held a 5-2 lead after six on Sunday, but the bullpen teetered on the brink in the seventh after Perez departed.

Matt Bush took over, but gave up a single to Jean Segura and a two-run home run to Mitch Haniger. He then walked Robinson Cano and retired Nelson Cruz on a fly to left. Jake Diekman took over, but his throwing error on Kyle Seager's comebacker to the mound followed by a walk to Ichiro Suzuki loaded the bases. But Diekman recovered, striking out David Freitas and Mike Zunino to end the inning.

"Don't let anybody score basically," Diekman said. "At that point I am just trying to get a weak fly ball or a ground out. If you execute pitches and stick with the plan...execution is the big thing."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Rangers, leading 2-0, let Gallo swing away on a 3-0 pitch in the fourth with a runner on first and two out. Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez threw a sinker and Gallo went the other way, hitting one high and deep into the visitors' bullpen for a two-run home run.

Video: SEA@TEX: Gallo crushes a two-run homer to left field

SOUND SMART
Adrian Beltre's second-inning double gave him 1,119 extra-base hits in his career, tying him with George Brett for 17th all-time. Beltre then moved ahead of Brett with another double in the eighth.

Video: SEA@TEX: Beltre passes Brett with historic double

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Delino DeShields returned from the disabled list and made the defensive play of the game in the sixth. After Perez walked Suzuki to lead off the inning, Freitas followed with a high drive to center that kept being pushed out by the wind. DeShields got to the wall, jumped up and made the catch just before the ball landed on top.

Video: SEA@TEX: DeShields takes a homer away from Freitas

"At first it looked like a high pop-up, but the wind was carrying it pretty good," DeShields said. "I tried to get back to the wall and time it. I don't know if I robbed it, but it was at least at the top of the wall."

HE SAID IT
"At the last second, my brain told me, 'You shouldn't be doing this.'" -- DeShields, in his first game back from left wrist surgery, on diving into first base trying to beat out a bunt single

UP NEXT
Left-hander Matt Moore opens a three-game series against the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. CT Monday at Globe Life Park. Moore is coming off his best start of the season, allowing one unearned run over seven innings in a 7-2 victory over the Rays last Tuesday. Right-hander Trevor Cahill will pitch for the Athletics.

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

Former All-Star second baseman Nelson dies

Worked for Brewers in numerous capacities; stole 119 bases for Rangers from 1972-74
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Davey Nelson, a speedy infielder who made the 1973 American League All-Star team with the Rangers and had worked as a coach and broadcaster with the Brewers since 2001, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 73.

"Davey took every opportunity to turn a casual introduction into a lifelong relationship, and his legacy will live on in the positive impact he had on the lives of so many people," said Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger. "Davey's love of life and commitment to helping those in need were second to none, and we are so grateful for the time that we had with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of those who loved him."

MILWAUKEE -- Davey Nelson, a speedy infielder who made the 1973 American League All-Star team with the Rangers and had worked as a coach and broadcaster with the Brewers since 2001, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 73.

"Davey took every opportunity to turn a casual introduction into a lifelong relationship, and his legacy will live on in the positive impact he had on the lives of so many people," said Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger. "Davey's love of life and commitment to helping those in need were second to none, and we are so grateful for the time that we had with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of those who loved him."

Born in Fort Sill, Okla., and raised in California, Nelson played parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Indians, Senators/Rangers and Royals before embarking on a second career in coaching and broadcasting that spanned nearly four decades with the White Sox, Expos, A's, Indians and Brewers.

Nelson scored the Washington Senators' final run at RFK Stadium and moved with the franchise to Texas in 1972, stealing 51 bases that season. He made the All-Star team in '73, when he stole 43 more bags and batted .286.

"What a great guy," said Rangers broadcaster and former teammate Tom Grieve. "I've known Dave since I first began playing baseball. My first Major League Spring Training in Pompano Beach, [Fla.], the first person I met was Dave Nelson. He had a red Corvette, and he asked me out to dinner. … He was one of those people you could say that everybody liked him."

"He was like a father to me," former Indians outfielder Kenny Lofton tweeted. "Great man! Great teacher of the game! He will be missed!" 

Tweet from @Indians: Davey Nelson was a great presence in our organization for years as a player ('68-'69), coach ('92-'97) and broadcaster ('98-'99). We will miss him and our thoughts are with his family. pic.twitter.com/kbD69fZME7

Nelson had worked for the Brewers since 2001, first as a Minor League instructor, then as manager Ned Yost's first-base coach for four seasons from 2003-06 before moving to the front office.

Nelson more recently was the Brewers' director of alumni relations and an analyst for FOX Sports Wisconsin. He stepped away from that role last year as his illness worsened, but he visited Miller Park at the end of the regular season to meet with colleagues, coaches and players.

"He has so many people he doesn't just call friend, but best friend," said FS Wisconsin's Craig Coshun, one of several friends and colleagues who helped care for Nelson in recent months. "He's got a magic to him, for sure. That's what I'm going to miss most about hanging around with him."

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Davey Nelson did not have relatives in Milwaukee, so his @fswisconsin and @Brewers family stepped up during chemotherapy. @CraigCoshun, Tyler and Monica Barnes, Katina Shaw and countless others provided time, transportation and love when Davey needed them most. pic.twitter.com/pkEnkdTtLw

Nelson had a Hall of Fame rolodex and a love of good wine. So when he began having trouble swallowing last August, he sought medical attention. The diagnosis was dire: Stage 4 liver cancer that had already spread to his esophagus. 

Nelson had no family in the Milwaukee area, so friends became his support system. A longtime pal of Nelson's, Jamie Yeretsky -- along with Coshun, Brewers executive Tyler Barnes and his wife, Monica, senior director of community relations Katina Shaw and others -- helped care for Nelson over the past eight months. They took him to appointments, including chemotherapy treatments. 

"He would sit down for a treatment, and three hours later, the time has flown by because he's telling stories and asking about other friends and members of your family," said Barnes. "It's hard to put this into words, but you felt like you were coming away from a really, really tough time with an enriching experience. 

"I've never been through anything like that before. Somebody so selfless, with such a huge heart, such a fighter, taking these really difficult times and turning them into incredible experiences." 

Nelson began chemo near the end of the 2017 baseball season, and initially, it worked. He endured few side effects, and he regained his sense of taste. For a few months, life was relatively normal. 

"He knew it wasn't going to last forever, but he was the type of person who lived the day he was blessed with," Coshun said. "He cried at the right times. We all did, and I think that's important to do."

On Thursday night, Nelson was moved into hospice care. Coshun and his wife, Pam, visited on Saturday morning, among the first of a stream of visitors that included Bob Uecker and manager Craig Counsell, as well as Nelson's son and other members of his family. 

Barnes returned Sunday from a trip to Phoenix, where the Brewers' Spring Training site is undergoing a renovation, and he found Nelson was fading. At about the same time, Coshun was writing a script for Nelson's obituary. Coshun recorded the voiceover on Monday morning, and the piece, edited by FS Wisconsin producer Trevor Fleck, will air before Tuesday's Royals-Brewers game.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Statement from the co-founder of Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa. The late Davey Nelson was a board member and benefactor, and nothing brought him more joy than helping these kids. pic.twitter.com/4eNhCLS1oP

There will not be a formal memorial service, but a private celebration of Nelson's life will be held later this spring. In lieu of flowers, the Brewers suggest contributions to Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa, an organization for children orphaned by AIDS. Nelson raised funds for the home with an annual golf tournament, and he served on the board of directors. Contributions can be made online at openarmshome.com.

Barnes visited Open Arms with Nelson in 2014. 

"It's now our obligation to make sure this home continues to thrive," Barnes said. "That was one of Davey's great passions, and one of his wishes as he was getting sick. He wanted to make sure we would take care of those kids. We are going to do that."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. MLB.com's TR Sullivan contributed to this report.

Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers

These are the Top 30 international prospects

MLB.com

Long before Louis Eljaua rose to special assistant to the president and general manager of the Cubs, he was the young and energetic top international scout for the Marlins. Back then, his boss was Al Avila, now the general manager for the Tigers.

Eljaua vividly recalls a conversation with Avila in 1998 like it happened yesterday. Each time he tells the story of that famous call, he puts his right thumb to his ear and talks into his right pinkie like it's the old hotel phone he used.

Long before Louis Eljaua rose to special assistant to the president and general manager of the Cubs, he was the young and energetic top international scout for the Marlins. Back then, his boss was Al Avila, now the general manager for the Tigers.

Eljaua vividly recalls a conversation with Avila in 1998 like it happened yesterday. Each time he tells the story of that famous call, he puts his right thumb to his ear and talks into his right pinkie like it's the old hotel phone he used.

Top 30 International Prospects list

"I found the guy, Al! I found the guy our owner was looking for. He's 15. Come to Venezuela," Eljaua shrieked through the phone.

Avila, who was in Miami at the time, was not pleased to hear the news. The Marlins had never spent more than $30,000 on an international teen.

Top International Prospects

"Are you crazy, Louis? [Owner] John Henry gives us money and you are going to spend it all on your first trip and the first kid you see? Are you trying to get us all fired? What is wrong with you?"

"I know, I know," Eljaua answered. "Just come see the kid. He's good. You won't be sorry."

That kid was Miguel Cabrera. And less than a year later, the teenager signed with the Marlins for $1.8 million to launch his future Hall of Fame career and forever set the standard for international teenage prospects.

The hunt for the next Cabrera continues, and each year an increasing number of prospects sign when the international signing period begins on July 2; hundreds more will join Major League organizations later this summer.

Led by catcher Diego Cartaya -- who like Cabrera is from Maracay, Venezuela -- the players on MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 30 International Prospects list represent the greatest young talent from across the globe eligible to sign on July 2.

The ultimate goal is nabbing a baseball unicorn like Cabrera. But signing a horse like Cartaya, a hard-hitting catcher with advanced skills, or other emerging international prospects also offer teams options.

Video: Top International Prospects: Diego Cartaya, C

Remember, the Cubs traded top teen Gleyber Torres of Venezuela to the Yankees as part of a deal for Aroldis Chapman in 2016, and the rest is World Series history. Last year, they traded the Dominican Republic's Eloy Jimenez to the White Sox in a deal for Jose Quintana. Both are the top prospects in their organizations. Back in '16, the Red Sox traded Yoan Moncada in a package to the White Sox for pitcher Chris Sale. The A's acquired Franklin Barreto from the Blue Jays in a deal for third baseman Josh Donaldson in '14.

"If you are not investing time and money and effort to sign international players, you are missing out on making your organization one of the best in the game," Eljaua said. "Why would you ignore a market and just focus on one or two ways to acquire talent when these guys are going to play in your system, hopefully in the big leagues, or be a part of a package that helps you fill a missing piece? And it's not all about the money and paying the most money. It's about scouting and working and finding out about makeup and helping your entire system."

Who is signing whom
More than 950 prospects have signed during the international signing period that started July 2, 2017, and that number could increase during the 2018-19 period, because there are thousands who have registered to become eligible.

In addition to prospects from traditional baseball hot spots like the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and the Bahamas, there are also prospects from places like Europe, the Caribbean islands and Asia who have also registered.

Video: Top International Prospects: Marco Luciano, OF

As far as the list is concerned, the Dodgers are the favorites to sign Cartaya. Marco Luciano, a power-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic, a close second behind Cartaya in the rankings, is linked to the Giants. Outfielder Misael Urbina of Venezuela, who is ranked No. 3, is an advanced hitter expected to have an above-average hit tool and plus speed. He is linked to the Twins. Rounding out the top five is Venezuelan right-handed pitcher Richard Gallardo, linked to the Cubs, and Orelvis Martinez, a power-hitting shortstop from the D.R. sometimes compared to a young Adrian Beltre. The Blue Jays are the favorite to sign Martinez.

Video: Richard Gallardo named top int'l pitching prospect

Breakdown
This year's Top 30 International Prospects list includes 10 players from Venezuela, 16 from the Dominican Republic, three from Cuba and one from Colombia. The positions break down like this: 11 outfielders, eight infielders, seven pitchers and four catchers.

The best athletes at premium positions are the most appealing to international scouts. Three of the top 13 are catchers and three of the top 10 are pitchers. Shortstops and center fielders are also highly coveted in this year's class.

International signing rules, spending
There are specific guidelines for signing prospects like Cartaya: An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of the next year if he is 17 or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract.

Video: Cartaya tops MLB's international prospects list

The rules for signing international prospects are these: Clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft receive a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive $5,504,500. All other clubs receive $4,983,500.

International amateur free agency & bonus pool money explained

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

In terms of spending, the Blue Jays, Brewers, D-backs, Mariners, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, Twins and Yankees are expected to be aggressive in the upcoming signing period. The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals -- teams that will no longer be in the penalty for exceeding their past international bonus pool spending -- are also expected to be very active.

The A's, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox are in the maximum penalty, so they cannot sign players for more than $300,000 during the upcoming period.

"We are all looking for the next Miguel Cabrera, but I think it's unfair to compare anybody to him because he was just on another level," Eljaua said. "But the reality is, my old team already paid me for that sign. I'm getting paid to find another one. That's what the job is."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Rangers activate DeShields, place Tocci on DL

Center fielder back ahead of original timetable; Fister could be back Wednesday; Rangers observe Earth Day