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Thoughts on a 4-3 Rangers win

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Rangers 4, BoSox 3

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 4, BoSox 3

  • I still can't believe what I saw.
  • You knew Josh Hamilton was on the bench and available at the start of the 9th inning, and you had to figure he'd get a shot.  I expected him to bat for either Hanser Alberto or Delino DeShields, the first two hitters of the inning, but Steve Buechele (managing in place of the ejected Jeff Banister) opted to let those two hit, with Alberto reaching on a Pablo Sandoval error and DeShields sacrificing him to second.  At that point, it was clear that Hamilton would hit for Adam Rosales -- in the game hitting fourth in place of the injured Adrian Beltre -- since there was no way, with an open base, Boston would pitch to Prince Fielder.  And sure enough, Shin-Soo Choo hit a little roller that moved Alberto to third with two outs, Fielder was walked intentionally, and then Koji Uehara left that ball up that Hamilton drove into left-center for the game-winning double.
  • As the ball was in the air and heading towards the gap, I have to admit thinking to myself, "The one time that Banister doesn't run for Prince in the 9th inning of a close game..."  And of course, Prince made it home with plenty of room to spare, so it was moot.
  • Also, I didn't think about this until later, but the only position player left on the bench was Robinson Chirinos, so the Rangers couldn't really run for Prince, unless they had Nick Martinez do it.
  • Prior to the Hamilton hit, the Rangers had 7 hits, all singles, and had stranded a bunch of runners.  It just had a feel of one of those games where there are opportunities that aren't cashed in, where the game is winnable but slips through your hands.  And then Josh saved the day.
  • Wandy Rodriguez gave up a lot of hard hit balls but still pitched well enough, giving up 3 runs in 5.2 IP.  The bullpen did yeoman's work, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings split between Jon Edwards, Sam Freeman, Keone Kela and Ross Ohlendorf.  The bullpen keeping it a one run game was key to giving Josh the chance to play the hero.
  • Two members of the Rangers who started the game in place were out of the game when it came time to celebrate the walk-off.  Adrian Beltre sprained his thumb sliding into second base in the bottom of the fifth on a grounder ball Mitch Moreland, and ended up being replaced by Adam Rosales.  He is headed for the disabled list, and will probably miss three weeks, a particularly big loss given that he's the only righthanded impact back in the lineup.
  • Then there is Jeff Banister, who got ejected in the top of the ninth for vehemently arguing a ridiculously poor call by second base umpire Todd Tichenor.  Rusney Castillo had led off the 9th with a single, and then stole second -- however, he overslid the bag, and Elvis Andrus tagged him out.  Tichenor ruled that Elvis had pushed Castillo off the bag -- a brutally bad call, as replays showed -- and called Castillo safe.  Banister went out to argue (the play wasn't reviewable, so the umpires didn't have the discretion to have New York look at the play), and with Tichenor refusing to get help from the other umpires, Banister got ejected.  Strangely, once Banister was run, the umpires huddled up, but then the call stood.  I'm not sure what the point was at that stage, however, other than for show, given that, once a manager is run for arguing a call, I can't imagine the umpires are then going to reverse themselves.
  • It all worked out in the end, though.  The Rangers won the series, head into the off-day tomorrow with a three game winning streak, and are now over .500 for the first time since June 6 of last season.  Texas is in third place in the A.L. West, 5 games out of first.
  • As I mentioned on Twitter, its been 359 days since the Rangers last ended a day above .500.  Josh Hamilton, who hit today's walk-off, hit .359 in his MVP season.  And Prince Fielder, who scored the winning run, is hitting .359 on the season.