Rangers impressed with bullpen's progress

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Before Howie Kendrick put smiles on the faces of Los Angeles Angels fans with a walk-off blast Tuesday night, the Texas Rangers bullpen had done the same to manager Ron Washington.

Sure, left-hander Joe Ortiz gave up a home run in the 11th inning of a tough 5-4 loss here. But Washington was more than content with what he got from his relief corps.

"Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose," Washington said. "We certainly felt good with Ortiz out there."

Ortiz inherited the bases loaded in the 10th frame with one out and Albert Pujols due up.

"I still look at him, along with Miguel Cabrera, as the most dangerous man on earth with a bat in his hands," Washington said of Pujols before the game.

Someone forgot to inform the 22-year-old rookie.

Ortiz was cool under pressure, getting the veteran Pujols to ground into a force play. He wasn't out of harm's way by any means, but Josh Hamilton grounded out softly to second base. Ortiz bounced off the mound and pumped his left fist.

The relievers have gained trust rather quickly.

"They've been asked to do the job and they've done it," general manager Jon Daniels said prior to the game. "We've got talented guys with good makeup, but they lack experience. Wash has done a great job of managing the pen. He's put guys in spots to succeed."

Robbie Ross was equally impressive, tossing 2 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Alexi Ogando. Ross got Mike Trout to hit into a double play in the eighth and worked around a Hamilton leadoff single in the ninth.

"They've been unbelievable," Adrian Beltre said. "Everyone has pitched well."


--Kendrick's home run was only the second earned run Ortiz has surrendered in eight games this year.

--Right-hander Tanner Scheppers, who wasn't available Tuesday after going two innings the night before, has yet to allow a run in nine appearances this season.

--Michael Kirkman also wasn't available after throwing three innings Sunday, but Washington has been pleasantly impressed by the quality of his arms.

"I've been very pleased, especially with the kids being thrown into the fire," Washington said. "They have responded."