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Buzz: Geovany Soto quickly establishes rapport

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- As Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington promised earlier in the week, catcher Geovany Soto was in the starting lineup for Thursday's rubber match against the Los Angeles Angels.

Soto belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 6-2 victory. Notorious Angels killer Mike Napoli was not in the lineup, with Ian Kinsler serving as designated hitter and rookie Jurickson Profar getting the nod at second base.

"I like the way (Soto) takes charge," Washington said. "We're finding out he's a threat with the bat, too."

Derek Holland, Wednesday's winning pitcher, was also complimentary of Soto for how quickly he's built a rapport with the entire pitching staff.

"I love Napoli back there as well, I don't want to take away anything from him, but Geo, there's just something about him," Holland said. "He keeps me relaxed and comfortable. He came out there (Wednesday) and had another good story. He was singing to me. It was about the two best friends and I asked him about, 'Well, where's the third one?' He said, 'I don't know,' and just continued singing."

Other notes:

* Washington was not aware that the second-place Oakland Athletics defeated the Detroit Tigers earlier in the day but disclosed that he does his share of scoreboard watching during play. "I peep," Washington said. "I'm not focused on every inning but every now and then your eyes end up on the scoreboard."

* Adrian Beltre (intestinal discomfort), who hoped to sneak his way into the lineup, appeared fine during batting practice, hitting a handful of home runs with Washington pitching to him.

* Reliever Tanner Scheppers, who left Tuesday's game with a right knee injury, played catch Wednesday and said he felt fine physically. X-rays taken Tuesday night were negative.