Kirkman putting together strong stretch in 'pen

Kirkman putting together strong stretch in 'pen

ARLINGTON -- When the Rangers took a 7-5 lead in the sixth inning of Thursday's series finale against the Yankees, it was Michael Kirkman who was charged with protecting it. And when the Blue Jays, trailing the Rangers, 2-1, loaded the bases in the seventh inning on Saturday, it was Kirkman who was sent in to get out of the jam.

Kirkman came through on both occasions, not giving up a run in an inning of work in Thursday's 7-6 win and retiring the only two batters he faced in Saturday's 2-1 victory, leaving the bases loaded in that crucial seventh inning. He has not allowed a run in two weeks, tossing five scoreless innings in his last five outings.

"He's throwing strikes," manager Ron Washington said. "It's never been Michael Kirkman's stuff. It's just been whether or not he can consistently throw the ball over the plate."