ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers got even more than they hoped from spot starter Scott Feldman on Tuesday.
His sinker was working. He mixed in some good cutters and changeups and he had solid command. In other words: He looked more like the 2009 Feldman who won 17 games than the 2010 Feldman who couldn't stay healthy.
Feldman had one popup out with the rest coming on ground balls, strikeouts or caught stealings. He ptiched six shutout innings and gave up just two hits and had one walk and four strikeouts. And he got his first win as a starter since June 18, 2010 at Houston. The Rangers won 2-0 behind a Josh Hamilton moon shot and a David Murphy RBI double.
"It was good to contribute," Feldman said. "It's been a while since I felt like I really contributed around here. That's always a good feeling. Pitching in blowout games versus something like this is a little bit of a better feeling. I feel like I did what I was supposed to do. I was sort of disappointed with the way everything worked for me last year and being hurt this year. It's just a good feeling to get out there and feel like you contributed."
Feldman stayed in good rhythm, helping his defense and keeping his mechanics in order. He didn't give up a hit until the No. 9 hitter, Sean Rodriguez, stroked a single with two outs in the third. Feldman allowed only one runner to get into scoring position and made a nice defensive play as well, snagging a hard-hit grounder in the third off the bat of Johnny Damon.
Feldman said he threw sinkers, changeups, cutters and curve balls and was happy with all of them. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba helped Feldman mix up the pitches well and Feldman kept the ball down.
"I don't remember ever seeing him climb the ladder," Michael Young said. "He kept it at or below the knees and was in a good tempo. That helps the defense to get in and out of there like that."
For Feldman, it was a little vindication for all the struggles he's been through the past two seasons. He was the Opening Day starter in 2010, but the magic of 2009 never resurfaced. He was moved into the bullpen with a few months left and then got hurt. Feldman ended up needing microfracture surgery on his right knee in the offseason and spent the first half of this season rehabbing and returning to the mound. He joined the Rangers in a bullpen as the season half began.
"The hardest part was probably having crutches in the offseason," Feldman said.
He knew he had a long road. But he's returned and his performance was good enough that he'll get the ball again later this month to give Alexi Ogando a break. And depending on what happens, he might make some more starts.
"I'm just glad to help the team," Feldman said. "It's been a while since I've contributed like this."