ARLINGTON, Texas -- Brandon McCarthy was once a bright pitching prospect for the Chicago White Sox. These days, an older and wiser McCarthy might finally be delivering on some of that potential for the Texas Rangers.
McCarthy pitched five strong innings against his former team, Hank Blalock homered and drove in four runs, and the Rangers held on to beat the White Sox 9-6 in a game that was delayed four times by rain for a total of 2 hours, 27 minutes Saturday night.
McCarthy (3-0) allowed one run and three hits, had three strikeouts and didn't allow a walk in his first regular-season appearance against the White Sox, his team for parts of the 2005-06 seasons. He was traded to the Rangers in December 2006 in a deal for left-hander John Danks.
During the early innings, McCarthy admitted he might have been a little too excited to face his former team before settling down.
"I might have come out a little too amped up," McCarthy. "I was rushing things a little bit. Once I was able to slow things down, I was OK."
McCarthy had good control, throwing 45 of 68 pitches for strikes.
"I think I had gotten a little too fine, trying to pinpoint [pitches] instead of just letting it go," McCarthy said.
With a 9-1 lead, McCarthy pitched a perfect fifth to make it an official game, then sat through a 70-minute rain delay.
"McCarthy tightened up after the second [rain delay]," Washington said. "McCarthy wanted to go back out there but we didn't want to take any chances."
When play resumed, McCarthy was replaced by Luis Mendoza, who gave up A.J. Pierzynski's seventh career grand slam in the sixth. That pulled Chicago to 9-5. Jim Thome's RBI double in the seventh off Eddie Guardado made it 9-6.
Frank Francisco got three outs for his seventh save in seven chances. Francisco has 11 straight scoreless appearances this season.
"We never quit, that's the good thing about today," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That was an ugly game."
The White Sox scored the game's first run on Alexei Ramirez's second-inning sacrifice fly before the Rangers' offense got rolling.
In the third, Chicago starter Jose Contreras (0-4) walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ian Kinsler, and Blalock made Contreras pay with a two-out, three-run homer 432 feet over the Texas bullpen in right-center.
"That's what we needed," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We've been in a position to get a big hit and Hank delivered. It was a big blow."
Texas broke the game open with a six-run fourth to chase Contreras. Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis had consecutive RBI doubles, and David Murphy, Omar Vizquel and Blalock also had two-base hits in the inning that ended with Texas up 9-1.
"Early in the game, the weather was better than our pitching," Guillen said.
Contreras allowed seven runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings, swelling his ERA from 6.75 to 8.31. Guillen said he had Contreras "penciled in" for his next start.
"I don't want to give up on him, it's not my style, but I'd like to know what's going through his mind," Guillen said.
After a rain delay of 22 minutes, McCarthy needed only five minutes to retire the side in the fifth before the rain began falling again.
First pitch was delayed 41 minutes due to rain. The White Sox have already had three games postponed by bad weather this season. ... Chicago RF Jermaine Dye left in the sixth inning when he was hit on the top of the left hand by a pitch from Mendoza. Dye was drilled by an inside fastball and was down for several minutes before leaving the game. X-rays were negative and after the game Guillen said Dye is "fine."