Stepping up.

On August 16, 2006, the Rangers beat the Angels, 9-3.  Scott Feldman was one of four Texas pitchers, getting two groundouts in the ninth before drilling Adam Kennedy and getting tossed from the game.

You might remember that night as the one on which Feldman’s pitch, with one out left in the game, incited a bench-clearing brawl that everyone knew was coming after Vicente Padilla had been run the night before for hitting Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera, and after Kevin Gregg drilled Michael Young and Brendan Donnelly drilled Freddy Guzman in the bottom of the eighth, both getting tossed themselves and setting up Feldman’s entry in the ninth to finish things off.

That’s not why I bring that game up tonight.

That August 16, 2006 win, a game in which Feldman made a name for himself in a way (he not only stood up for his teammates that night but, after returning from a six-game suspension, was spotless the rest of that rookie season, throwing eight scoreless innings in seven relief appearances), bears some added significance tonight.

Feldman, who hadn’t pitched in 11 days, was pretty outstanding tonight, holding the Central-leading White Sox to one run in six innings in what amounted to an emergency start, earning his fourth win of the season as Josh Hamilton and Hank Blalock powered the offense back up and the bullpen threw three innings of one-hit, no-walk, six-strikeout ball to nail down a 6-1 victory.

The reason August 16, 2006 is meaningful tonight is not because of Feldman’s sidearm haymaker in that fight-marred ninth, but instead because of the effort that the revitalized 25-year-old gave his team tonight, helping Texas move into second place in the West for the first time (outside of April) since . . . August 16, 2006.

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