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Thoughts on a 9-7 Rangers win

The Rangers beat the A's 9-7, split the series, clinch a playoff berth, and stay in the driver's seat in the A.L. West

Jeff Gross - Getty Images

Rangers 9, A's 7

  • The A's took the middle pair of games in this four game series, but the Rangers took the first and last games, meaning that the A's leave Texas with the exact same four game deficit that they faced when they came to Arlington. With the Magic Number down to 3 games, if the Rangers sweep the Angels in the next three games at home, then the Rangers clinch the West before heading back to Oakland for the season-ending series, no matter what the A's do.
  • One of the hallmarks of this Rangers team is an ability to come up big when they need a win. After losing games started by Scott Feldman and Martin Perez, this was a huge game for Texas, which would see its lead shaved down to just two games if they fell to Oakland again. After a shaky top of the first inning from Matt Harrison, who gave up a walk and a hit before escaping without allowing any runs, the Rangers bats answered the ball, rocking A's starter Travis Blackley for five runs on an Ian Kinsler leadoff homer, a Michael Young 2-RBI single, and a Mike Napoli two-run home run. While the A's scrapped and battled, and eventually got the lead down to two runs, after the first inning, the game never really seemed in doubt.
  • Matt Harrison won his 18th game of the season today, and I've speculated that he'd be the Rangers' #2 starter come playoff time. Harrison wasn't terribly sharp today, though, allowing a pair of home runs while striking out just two batters over 6 innings. The four runs he allowed resulted in his ERA rising to 3.26. Harrison had been great in his last two starts, both against the Mariners, but prior to that, Harrison had gone 5.2 innings, 4.2 innings, and 5.1 innings against Cleveland, Kansas City, and Tampa while allowing 2, 5, and 7 runs, respectively, over a three game stretch. Harrison is at 207.1 innings for the season, and while he's been the Rangers' best starter this year, there have to be at least a few concerns that he's running out of gas.
  • Mike Adams made this game way more interesting than it should have been...coming in in the 8th inning with the Rangers up 9-4, Adams gave up three home runs while striking out two batters, getting pulled for Koji Uehara after allowing the third bomb, to Josh Reddick. Adams had allowed just one home run all season, and had never allowed a multi-home-run game in his major league career prior to this. Adams had been missing fewer bats and giving up more hits over the past month, and with Uehara looking dominant of late, Adams' role as the primary 8th inning pitcher could be in jeopardy as we head into the playoffs.
  • Joe Nathan? A perfect ninth inning featuring a pair of Ks, recording his 36th save. Ho hum.
  • This was only the 7th time in team history that the Rangers won a game while allowing 5 home runs. The last time it happened was on August 13, 2010, against the Red Sox, when they beat Boston 10-9 in 11 innings.
  • Big day for the offense, which had 14 hits (including 5 doubles and a pair of home runs). To the A's credit, they didn't issue any walks to the Rangers hitters. Every starter other than Geovany Soto had at least one hit, with Adrian Beltre giving 3 for 4, Ian Kinsler having a double and a homer in five at bats, and Elvis Andrus, Mike Napoli, and Nelson Cruz all picking up a pair of hits apiece. Elvis also had a stolen base, his first since September 2 and just his fourth since the beginning of August.
  • This team is weird. Adrian Beltre carried them to a win with his late heroics on Monday, they struggled to score runs on Tuesday in an extra-innings loss, then everything was awful yesterday. But today, needing a victory, its like they flipped the switch, jumped on Oakland early, and kept the pressure on all game. This team just seems to have a knack for being able to come up big when circumstances dictate.