Extra Bases: Matt Garza will be fine

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Don't worry about Matt Garza. He'll be fine.

Garza allowed five earned runs in Monday's 16-5 victory over Houston, which ended a streak of three consecutive starts in which he allowed four earned runs or less.

His ERA in six starts for the Rangers is 4.32. Texas, however, is 5-1 in his starts.

Garza's task Monday was to pitch as deep into the game as possible, especially after the Rangers bolted out to a 13-1 lead in the third inning. A pitcher's best friend is an 11-run inning.

It also can be his worst enemy. Garza stayed in the game in the top of the seventh even with the Rangers leading 15-1. With Travis Blackley making his Rangers debut Tuesday night and on a strict pitch count of 65 pitches after being in the bullpen all season, the Rangers need a fresh and loaded set of relievers.

So Garza carried on in the top of the seventh and the Astros stung him for four earned runs.

"My job was to keep the bullpen out of it," Garza said. "I should have kept it going. I try to go nine every time, and I tried to keep it going."

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Garza may have lost a little focus with a huge lead. Garza discounted that for the most part.

He did say he was concentrating on pounding the strike zone and may have made it to easy on the Astros' hitters in the seventh. Of Garza's 112 pitches, 79 were strikes.

Garza was able to get to two strikes on four consecutive batters in the inning but allowed three of them to reach base.

"He had two strikes on every one of those guys," Washington said. "He just couldn't put them away."

What's up now: Reaction from the Rangers' 16-5 rout of the Astros. The Rangers turn up the pressure on the bases. Plus, a postgame blog on Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus leading the way to Monday night's 11-run third inning.

On deck: The Rangers will activate and start left-hander Travis Blackley (1-1, 4.89) against the team from whom they acquired him, Houston, who will counter with rookie right-hander Jarred Cosart (1-0, 1.15) at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

Question of the day: Can the Rangers keeping scoring runs -- 6.6 runs per game since Nelson Cruz was suspended on July 5 -- without the home run?