Rangers 8, A's 7
- So, that game went really good, then really bad, then ended up being good again.
- Nick Martinez had his worst start of the year, though it really wasn't bad...he wasn't quite as sharp as he has been this season, but he was still good, and got through 6 IP just allowing a single run. But then there was the 7th inning...
- The seventh, with the Rangers up 3-1, started with Elvis being unable to field a line drive by Ike Davis. Brett Lawrie singled, but then Mark Canha hit a tailor-made double play ball to Rougned Odor. Of course, since this is 2015, things weren't tailor-made...the ball hit the second base umpire, resulting in the play being called dead and Canha being awarded a single. Instead of a runner on third and two outs, the bases were loaded and no one was out. Josh Phegley came up, and Martinez got two quick strikes on him...and then hit him while coming inside on him, forcing in a run. That was it for Martinez, who was lifted for Alex Claudio. Pinch hitter Craig Gentry hit a sac fly to tie the game, and then Billy Burns hit a tapper back to the mound that resulted in a rundown that should have gotten the second out...except Robinson Chirinos botched the rundown and threw the ball into left field, allowing Canha to score. Anthony Bass came in to replace Claudio, and got Marcus Simien to ground to Elvis, who was able to throw home to retire Phegley and, potentially, set the stage for Texas getting out of the inning with no further damage. Of course, instead, Josh Reddick hit a three run homer, making it 7-3, and making Rangers fans miserable and unhappy and looking for things to punch.
- And then came the improbable bottom of the 7th. After Leonys Martin popped out, Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder each worked walks. Adrian Beltre flied out, bringing Kyle Blanks up with two outs, but Blanks singled, making it 7-4 and bringing to the plate Shin-Soo Choo.
- Choo, of course, has been mired in an awful slump in early part of the season. He sat for two straight days before Thursday's off-day, giving him basically three days off to clear his mind and work on things. Choo looked better on Friday, and though he was hitless when he came to the plate in the 7th on Saturday, he had hit the ball hard twice, including a blast to the wall in center that looked like it might be gone earlier in the game. Facing Dan Otero, down 3 runs, with a stadium full of people expecting him to fail, Choo instead tied the game with a home run to right field, restoring our faith in humanity and making the world a happy place again.
- The rest of the game was still kind of scary. Anthony Bass pitched a scoreless 8th, and then Neftali Feliz pitched the 9th. He wasn't sharp, giving up a pair of singles, but ended up fanning Ike Davis to end the inning. Keone Kela, similarly, had an adventurous 10th inning...he struck out Brett Lawrie swinging on a high fastball, but then gave up a line drive double to Max Muncy. Steve Vogt followed that up with a hot shot that Blanks managed to field on the fly and then make a great throw to second to double off Muncy, setting the stage for the bottom of the 10th.
- Choo got things started against A's reliever Ryan Cook, doubling to right. Cook couldn't find the strike zone after that, walking Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Peguero, resulting in him being lifted for R.A. Alvarez. Alvarez got behind 2-0 on Odor, and while I was yelling at Rougned not to swing until he threw him at least one strike, Odor chased a 2-0 pitched and sent it bounding up the middle past a drawn-in infield, resulting in a walk-off win and much celebration.
- That game ended up being fun. Rangers winning > Rangers losing.
- Seriously, though, after the umpire was hit by that Canha ground ball, I felt the game was over, and Texas was going to lose. That's one of those things that happens with the Baseball Gods are conspiring against you.
- Kyle Blanks had a huge game yesterday, going 4 for 5 with a double and his second homer of the season. He, Choo, Prince Fielder and Robinson Chirinos are now all tied for the team lead in homers.
- Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre joined Choo with two hit nights, and Elvis and Chirinos each went 1 for 4 with a walk. Every Ranger starter got a hit except for Leonys Martin.
- That's the kind of game that makes baseball worth watching, even when your team is in last place. That game was exhilarating.
- Oh, and Keone Kela got his first major league win, which is cool.
- Go Rangers!
Video of the Odor walk-off single: