The homestand began with Mendoza lasting just 1 1/3 innings
in a 9-6 loss to the Angels. This time out, he held the
White Sox to one run on three hits and a walk in six innings
while striking out a personal-best eight batters.
"I was more aggressive this time and attacked hitters with
first-pitch strikes," Mendoza said. "All night long, I
wanted to throw first-pitch strikes and stay ahead of
hitters. After my last time, I had a little pressure, but I
tried to let it go and learn from it."
David Murphy had a two-run home run in a five-run third
inning and Ian Kinsler reached on an infield hit in that
same frame to extend his hitting streak to 23 games. That's
now tied with Michael Young, who had a 23-game hitting
streak earlier this year, for the fourth longest in club
history. Gabe Kapler holds the record with a 28-game streak
Young's current hit streak is now at 13 games after he went
2-for-3 with a couple of walks. Josh Hamilton drove him home
twice with a double and a single. That gives Hamilton 93
RBIs on the season, fifth most before the All-Star break in
Major League history.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was unhappy that his pitchers walked eight,
including seven by starter Gavin Floyd.
"You come to this ballpark with that club and don't throw
strikes, you better be ready to go, because you'll be in the
shower quick," Guillen said. "He
wasn't around the plate, and he got the soap pretty quick."
Davis started it all with a one-out home run in the bottom
of the second inning off Floyd to give the Rangers a 1-0
lead. Davis went 1-for-4 on the night and is hitting just
.235 in 15 games, but he's got six home runs and 12 RBIs.
That's exactly six of the 12 home runs hit by Rangers first
basemen this season.
The lack of power production from the position is why the
decision was made at the end of May to move Hank Blalock
from third to first base. But that was before Blalock's
return from the disabled list was delayed by wrist surgery,
and before Davis was brought up from Triple-A on
Davis' Major League stint was only supposed to last until
Blalock's return -- which could be as early as next Friday. But if Blalock, a two-time
All-Star, is the irresistible force in all this, Davis could
become the immovable object.
"Chris Davis is safe," manager Ron Washington said. "Chris
Davis doesn't have to do anything to feel safe. The decision
we make is going to be in the best interests of Chris Davis
and the Texas Rangers. We love Chris Davis."
Washington was asked if that meant Davis would still be on
the team when Blalock is back.
"Chris Davis is safe," Washington repeated with an enigmatic
"Every game I've been up here, I've felt that I belong,"
Davis said. "From day one, they told me I was going to get
the opportunity to play, and when Hank came back he was
going to play. I think I've made the most of my opportunity.
I've said all along that Hank is a good player. He can swing
the bat, and they need to get his bat in the lineup. All I
can do is what I can control and that's put myself in the
best possible situation."
Mendoza's situation is a little less tenuous only because
the Rangers have so many pitchers backed up on the disabled
list. But when the second half begins, the Rangers could end
up with six healthy pitchers trying to claim five spots in
Kevin Millwood will have one of them. Vicente Padilla and
Eric Hurley will have the next two, presuming they come off
the disabled list when the break is over. Mendoza, Matt Harrison
and Scott Feldman would be the candidates for the other two
Harrison had a terrific Major League debut in beating the
Angels on Tuesday and pitches on Sunday against the White
Sox. He could also easily force his way into the second-half
picture. Feldman has been the club's steadiest pitcher for
two months, but his innings are starting to pile up and he
could finish out the season in the bullpen. He was optioned to Triple-A on Friday but should return to the Majors next week.
Mendoza has shown he can pitch out of the bullpen and the
rotation. This was by far his best outing as a starter, the
first time in six starts he has pitched at least six
"I thought he was outstanding," Washington said. "He has
good stuff, and when he has his good stuff going, he's
capable of getting strikeouts like that. Hopefully, he can
build on that."
As a member of the Rangers second-half rotation?
"We're going to discuss that when we're in the second half,"
Washington said. "But he didn't do anything to not solidify
his spot in the second half."