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Texas 'pen holds its own in face of history

Texas 'pen holds its own in face of history

ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz had two strikes on Joe Mauer. He thought he could get him with a well-placed fastball low and way.

"I tried to throw the fastball outside," Feliz said later. "But it was a little bit high."

Mauer lined the pitch into center field for a single, just beyond the desperate grasp of shortstop Elvis Andrus. The single ended the combined no-hit bid of four Rangers pitchers on Monday night at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"He's a great hitter," Feliz said after the Rangers' 4-0 victory. "I felt I made a good pitch, but he was able to make the adjustment. I was mad at myself. I felt bad, but after we lost the no-hitter, I still had to keep them throwing and get the job done."

He did do that.

The night belonged to Rich Harden, but relievers Matt Harrison, Darren O'Day and Feliz were also eager to be a part of history. They had a chance to be a part of the sixth no-hitter in club history, even if it would have been the first combined one.

"Pretty close," O'Day said. "That's why Joe Mauer gets the big bucks. I knew they weren't going down without a fight, and Joe did it."

Harden went 6 2/3 innings before manager Ron Washington pulled him with two outs in the seventh. Harden had just walked Michael Cuddyer, and the Twins had Jim Thome at the plate. The Rangers were leading, 3-0, and Washington wanted to a left-hander to face Thome.

So he brought in Harrison, and the crowd booed the decision.

"I was glad they weren't booing me," Harrison said. "I hate coming into a situation like that. Rich pitched a great game. I was just excited for him. It was tough to watch him come out of the game.

"I wanted to keep the no-hitter going just for him, but my job was to get Thome out, make him swing the bat and not let him get on base."

Harrison did that. Thome lined out to center field to end the inning.

Washington then called on O'Day to pitch the eighth. The reliever got Delmon Young to ground out to start the inning, then struck out the next two hitters. O'Day passed on the no-hitter to Feliz.

"I thought about it before I went in there," O'Day said. "When I was in there, I didn't think about it until I was done. After [pitching coach Mike Maddux] told me Feliz had the ninth, I went up to get my arm iced. But I was halfway up the tunnel and I thought, 'We have a no-hitter going.' I went back to the bench to be a part of it. It was an awesome game by Rich."

Feliz, sitting on a 4-0 lead, started the ninth by getting Denard Span on a flyout to left. He then walked Orlando Hudson before Mauer delivered his single. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, but Feliz struck out Jason Kubel and got Cuddyer on a grounder near the mound to end the game.

"I knew there was a no-hitter," Feliz said. "But I was coming in as usual, trying to get three outs. That's it."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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