ARLINGTON, Texas -- Michael Kirkman didn't try to downplay the importance of the end of the club's last road trip for his psyche. Two good outings away from Arlington added to Kirkman's confidence, and the pitcher came through with two scoreless innings on Tuesday.
Kirkman overcame some rough fielding by his teammates to get out of a jam in the seventh inning of the Rangers' 10-6 win over the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium last week. Kirkman entered with a runner on first, and after some defensive miscues helped score a run, Kirkman faced Andruw Jones with Texas clinging to a 7-6 lead. Kirkman got Jones on a strikeout to end the inning.
Two days later, Kirkman was asked again to get out of a tight spot. He came in with the bases loaded Saturday in Toronto and the Rangers holding a one-run lead. He managed to get David Cooper, a left-handed hitter, to fly out to left field and the Blue Jays didn't test the arm of Josh Hamilton, leaving the bases loaded. Kirkman then retired right-handed hitter Yunel Esobar, who flied out to right. Kirkman got a win for his work in that game.
"It was big," Kirkman said. "It was big for my confidence. I feel like I'm getting better and that I can go out there and do my job. That's my focus."
Kirkman shook his head when asked if he thinks about the playoff roster and whether he's fighting for a spot on it.
"All I can do is get the guys out when I'm on the mound," Kirkman said. "That's all I'm thinking about."
Kirkman has worked seven scoreless innings in the last six games and has stranded 11 of the last 13 inherited runners.