Rangers fall 6-4

Thursday, August 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CLEVELAND – The Rangers' pitchers of the future keep lining up for late-season auditions. Matt Perisho and Doug Davis provided mixed results Wednesday.

In what almost seemed like a spring training game, Perisho scuffled and Davis showed flashes during a 6-4 loss to Cleveland on a rainy and humid night at Jacobs Field.

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Both would like to find the same magic potion running through Gabe Kapler. The Rangers' center fielder extended his hitting streak to 23 games, getting his first real break during his run. His bouncer to second base in the seventh inning took a bad hop over Roberto Alomar's glove to keep the streak alive.

Kapler can match Mickey Rivers' team record and the longest streak in the majors this season with a hit Friday at home against Boston.


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As for the pitchers, neither Perisho nor Davis will win or lose a spot in next year's rotation out of one game. Still, Wednesday night will play a small part in management's decision about next year's pitching staff.

The Rangers' rotation for next year is taking form now. Rick Helling and Kenny Rogers are locked in. A healthy Justin Thompson and right-hander Ryan Glynn, who has broken away from his young counterparts, will probably be in the opening-day rotation. That leaves the fifth spot open for either Davis or Perisho, a recuperated Darren Oliver and his $19-million contract or a free-agent signee.

Davis has been somewhat of a mystery. He has proven to be a valuable commodity out of the bullpen, giving the Rangers' a strong left-handed compliment to Mike Venafro. Davis had allowed one run in his last five relief appearances before giving up a run in 31/3 innings Wednesday.

It is when he starts that he struggles. Davis started Saturday in Toronto and was rocked for six runs and nine hits. He will start again Tuesday at home against New York, and will probably get eight more starts to this season.

Perisho is trying to stop his slide. He didn't give up a hit before a 43-minute rain delay, even though he had to pitch around three walks in the first inning. However, he was hittable after the game resumed.

Cleveland hitters went 7-for-10 with two strikeouts in the third and fourth innings to build a 5-0 lead. Kenny Lofton had hits in both innings, including a run-scoring double in the fourth. Roberto Alomar's RBI single one batter later brought Johnny Oates out of the dugout.

Perisho, who has not won in nine starts since winning his first start this season on June 17 at Tampa Bay, and Davis are locked in the rotation now because of the uncertainty of whether Darren Oliver will return this season. The earliest Oliver may return is September.

Davis pitched with the pressure of his team still being in the game after a three-run fifth drew the Rangers with 5-3. He allowed one run, mostly because of poor execution while holding on Jolbert Cabrera on base. Davis first balked Cabrera to second and then failed to look him back to second, giving Cabrera a big jump to steal third.

It was another case of one of the Rangers' youngsters learning on the job with a place in next year's rotation part of the puzzle.

Todd Wills is a staff writer for the Arlington Morning News