<
>

Rangers ride Cliff Lee, Taylor Teagarden

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Rangers scored some runs for Cliff Lee and in the process earned a 5-1 win, moving 9.5 games ahead of the A's in the AL West and remaining 10 up on the Angels. It's the largest lead for the Rangers in the division this season and the most they've led in the AL West since a 10-game lead late in the 1999 season. Some quick thoughts:

* Cliff Lee had held the lead after just 15 innings coming into Friday's game. He had the lead after the fourth Friday and didn't let it go. The last time he had a team score four runs while he was on the mound was July 4 with Seattle.

* Lee, after settling down following a couple of extra base hits allowed in the first, had the curve working and spotted his fastball well. The A's hit some long fly balls, but Lee played to the park and made those outs. Because his curve was getting early strikeouts, he was able to come back with fastballs ahead in the count in later at-bats and get strikeouts with those with hitters not expecting it.

* He had 70 pitches through five innings, but got a seven-pitch sixth inning, which helped him continue his incredible streak of pitching deep into games. He's now pitched at least eight innings in 10 consecutive starts, the longest such streak since Pat Hentgen of Toronto had 12 straight in 1996. It's the longest streak by a lefty since 15 straight by Ron Guidry of the Yankees in 1983.

* Lee did not allow a walk on Friday with eight strikeouts. It's the 12th time in 19 starts that he hasn't allowed a walk. He's allowed nine all season and has 126 strikeouts. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is a ridiculous 14. Two of those walks were intentional.

* What a night for Taylor Teagarden. He hadn't had much playing time and was hitting .059 coming in with one homer and two RBIs. But he had a double with two outs in the second and scored the first Ranger run. He then had a big two-run blast to left-center (off the stands and back into the field, which counts) to give Texas a 4-1 lead. Props, by the way, to Ron Washington for having Teagarden in the game. The gut works again. More on Teagarden's night in Ranger Reax.

* Lee has had trouble this season in the first inning. He gave up a triple and a double as the A's scored one run off him. He has allowed at least one run in the first inning in four of his six Ranger starts.

His first inning stats with Texas: 7.50 ERA (5 ER/6.0 IP), .423 opp avg (11-26), four doubles, one triple, 0 HR.

* Teagarden, who has had his share of struggles at the plate, got a two-out double down the third base line and came home on Elvis Andrus' double to tie the score in the third. The Rangers are starting to get two-out runs. They scored 10 of their 11 runs with two outs in Wednesday's win over Seattle and got a few on Thursday as well.

* Josh Hamilton hit a homer to right-center field in the fourth to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. It ended a 13-game drought without a homer, his longest since he went the first 13 games of the season without one.

* Cristian Guzman made a nice diving catch on a liner toward the bag with one on and one out in the fifth. That helped end any kind of A's threat.

* This was actually a comeback for the Rangers. They were down 1-0 after the first.