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Tolleson gets pitch count down

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Shawn Tolleson threw two scoreless innings in Sunday's 6-2 win over the Astros. He only needed 24 pitches to do it, 12 in each inning.

"It's something you strive for but not something you work on other than throwing strikes," Tolleson said. "That's what it comes down to."

It was an important moment for Tolleson, who has quietly had a nice season for the Rangers after missing almost all of last season because of back surgery and then being claimed off waivers from the Dodgers in the off-season. He has a 3.13 ERA in 47 games and opponents are hitting .216 off him.

The Rangers' biggest concern with Tolleson is he throws too many pitches per inning and ends up lasting just one inning. Sunday marked only the fifth time this season he has pitched two complete innings and first time since June 25.

"That was awesome … that [outing] was as clean and crisp as I've seen from him," manager Ron Washington said.

The Rangers are hoping Roman Mendez can be a multiple-innings pitcher. But he needed 24 pitches to get through his one inning of work on Sunday. The Rangers are hoping that both Tolleson and Mendez can develop into reliable multiple-inning pitchers for them.

"You'd certainly like to have that flexibility," Washington said. "At times they do that, sometimes they get erratic with their command. Mendez, this is the first time he has been healthy, so it's understandable he gets erratic. Tolleson is just coming off an injury too."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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