Rangers 2, White Sox 1

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[June 20, 2015]  CHICAGO -- Texas Rangers pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland tried to ignore the fact that the game was on the line with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning Friday.

Instead, Moreland considered a simple slogan that reduced his heart rate.

"Just win the pitch," Moreland said. "If I tell myself to win the pitch, it helps me slow it down a little bit."

Moreland won the pitch, and the Rangers won the game. His two-out, two-run single to right field lifted Texas to a 2-1 victory against the Chicago White Sox.

The Rangers (37-31) earned their sixth win in the past eight games. The victory marked the third time in 27 games this season in which Texas rallied for a win despite trailing after eight innings.

The White Sox (28-38) lost their eighth consecutive game and fell a season-worst 10 games below .500.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he had full confidence in Moreland, who drove in right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and shortstop Elvis Andrus for the tying and go-ahead runs. Before the at-bat, the White Sox intentionally walked designated hitter Prince Fielder with first base open in order to get to Moreland.
 


"I could see the look in his eye," Banister said of Moreland, who has nine pinch-hit RBIs in 45 at-bats in his career. "He looks for those types of opportunities. He put a great swing on it."

Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis (7-3) earned the win after limiting White Sox hitters to one run in eight innings. Lewis allowed nine hits, walked none and struck out seven.

White Sox right-hander David Robertson (4-2) drew the loss after blowing his fourth save in 17 chances.

Rangers right-hander Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless ninth to collect his 10th save.

The defeat spoiled a tremendous performance by White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, who struck out 14 in eight scoreless innings. Sale carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Rangers second baseman Hanser Alberto broke up the effort with a bloop single into center field.

Sale marked his fifth consecutive start with 12 or more strikeouts, joining Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to achieve the feat.

Sale said the accomplishment was nice, but it was tarnished by another tough loss. The eight-game skid is the worst stretch for the White Sox since Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, 2013, when the team dropped nine in a row.

"It's an honor to get my name mentioned with them, but it's something more for you guys and friends and family," Sale said. "I'm here for one reason, and that's winning ball games. All the other stuff is more of a distraction than anything, really."

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Sale took exception when a reporter asked whether he felt as if he had to pitch a shutout to earn a win.

"Easy, now," Sale said. "That's kind of a (crummy) question to ask, really. You think I'm going to say something bad about one of my teammates, you're dead wrong. We have a bunch of fighters in here. We have guys that come in here every single day and play as hard as they can, plain and simple."

Catcher Tyler Flowers gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning with a solo home run. Lewis left a high breaking pitch over the middle part of the plate, and Flowers pulled it down the left field line for his fourth home run of the season.

Lewis settled down after Flowers' home run. He said Sale's performance gave him an extra push.

"I just tried to go out there and match," Lewis said. "If he's doing it, then I try to go out there and have quick innings, too."

The lead remained intact until Moreland's two-run single off Robertson in the ninth.

"It was a poor performance on me," Robertson said. "I should have been there to pick the team up. We needed this one really bad. This one hurt."

NOTES: Texas LF/1B Ryan Rua was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday after a 12-game minor league rehabilitation assignment. Rua, 25, sustained a non-displaced fracture in his right heel April 10 against Houston. ... White Sox C Tyler Flowers returned to the starting lineup for the first time in four games. ... Texas recalled LHP Alex Claudio from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. Claudio, 23, was 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 16 appearances with Texas from April 27-June 1. To make room for Claudio, the Rangers optioned RHP Anthony Ranaudo to Triple-A Round Rock. ... White Sox RF Avisail Garcia returned to the starting lineup after a day off Thursday. ... Texas designated LF/RF Jake Smolinski for assignment. He hit .133 (8-for-60) with one home run and six RBIs in 35 games with the Rangers.

[ 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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