Rangers 3, Mariners 2
- The Rangers of the last few years have a definite knack for winning walkoff games in strange and unusual fashion. This is one of the wackiest.
- First things first...Yu Darvish wasn't at his best today. His command was off, he gave up a lot more hard hit balls than usual, he got squeezed by home plate umpire Ted Barrett, and the defense behind him was uninspired. And he still gave up only a pair of 2nd inning runs in 7 innings, striking out 8, walking 2, and allowing 7 hits. Yu Darvish having something of an off game is still better than most pitchers on most nights.
- What shouldn't be overlooked among the late-inning heroics and the Darvish outing is that the bullpen came through with a couple of shutout innings. Jason Frasor pitched the 8th and Pedro Figueroa the 9th, and they faced the minimum. I was tempted to question going with Figueroa in the 9th rather than Joakim Soria, but the M's lineup was stacked with lefties, and the first two batters he was facing were Justin Smoak, who is weaker from the right side, and Dustin Ackley, a lefty hitter. So I think using Figueroa -- one of your two lefty relievers -- in that situation makes a lot of sense.
- This offense, man. The Rangers had 9 baserunners all game. They were completely obliterated by Felix Hernandez through 7 innings, failing to even get a runner on base with less than two outs during that time. Then Leonys Martin led off the 8th inning with a triple, lefty hitter Jim Adduci was announced as a pinch hitter for Robinson Chirinos, and Felix was pulled at just 96 pitches in favor of lefthander Charlie Furbush. Without Felix on the mound anymore, I began to feel that this was a winnable game.
- Ron Washington replaced Adduci with Michael Choice once Furbush came into the game, and Choice came through with a sac fly to make it a 2-1 game, setting the stage for the epic 9th inning comeback.
- In case you didn't see it happen...Fernando Rodney came into the game for the 9th, looking to preserve a 2-1 lead, and got Alex Rios on a fly out and Prince Fielder on a K. Two outs, no one on. Kevin Kouzmanoff singled on a ball that (if I'm remembering it correctly) shortstop Brad Miller got a glove on, but couldn't make a play on. Mitch Moreland then had a great at bat, working the count full before drawing a walk, putting runners on first and second. That brought up Josh Wilson. Ron Washington sent Donnie Murphy -- the only position player left on the bench -- up to pinch hit for Wilson, and Murphy promptly hit a routine grounder to Miller at shortstop. Miller, however, yipped the throw to second base, sailing it high...Robinson Cano had to leap to make the catch, and Moreland slid in safely before Cano landed on the bag. Instead of game over, the Rangers had the bases loaded and Leonys Martin up. Rodney uncorked a very wild pitch that caromed off the back wall behind home plate and up the line, allowing Kouzmanoff to score the tying run and the other two runners to advance. Leonys then went the other way with a pitch, serving a soft line drive into shallow left field and bringing the winning run home.
- Just an incredible ending. I feel bad for Brad Miller, who is a really good young player. But he's probably going to victimize the Rangers quite a few times in the future, so I'm fine with him wearing the goat horns tonight.
- Elvis Andrus went 1 for 4 tonight. He has a hit in every game this season that he hasn't been thrown out of.
- Prince Fielder went 0 for 4 tonight. He's distressing me.