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Thoughts on an 8-2 Rangers win

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Rangers 8, Astros 2

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 8, Astros 2

  • A sweep.  Texas is now 2.5 games up on the Astros in the A.L. West.
  • You know, coming into this series, I was mentally steeling myself for a split.  I mean, realistically, that was the most likely statistical outcome.  And that wouldn't be a bad result, really...still in the race, still in a good position for the Wild Card, just wouldn't have gained any ground.  I was hoping for 3-1, which would put Texas in first place, up by a half-game, in good position to potentially take down the Astros.  But a sweep?  I wasn't going to be greedy.  That wasn't going to happen.
  • And here we are.
  • Very solid game by Colby Lewis, who did Colby Lewis things, throwing 90 pitches (59 strikes) over 6 innings, not walking anyone, fanning 3, allowing 7 hits.  One of those hits was a line drive to left field that Mike Napoli mis-played, which was scored a double, but was a ball a regular left fielder normally catches...that play led to both the runs the Astros scored.  But for that, Houston likely would have been shut out today.
  • Keone Kela and Sam Dyson pitched the 7th and 8th, and with the game close, it looked like Shawn Tolleson would pitch the 9th...however, the 8th inning insurance runs gave Texas a 6 run lead, allowing Jeff Banister to bring in Ross Ohlendorf.  Kela got into a bit of a jam, going single-walk to start the inning, but he induced Jose Altuve to hit into a 5-3 GIDP, then struck out George Springer, and Houston never threatened again.
  • The Rangers got on the board in the bottom of the third when, with one out, Shin-Soo Choo singled and Prince Fielder walked.  After Adrian Beltre struck out swinging, Mitch Moreland lofted a fly ball the other way that looked like it would be a warning track fly ball, then looked like it might go off the wall for a double.  But it kept carrying, and carrying...until it floated into the seats for a three-run home run, giving the Rangers a lead they wouldn't surrender the rest of the way.
  • Lance McCullers settled down after that and the only other serious threat while he was in the game was in the sixth, when Beltre doubled to lead off the inning, then tagged up on a Moreland fly ball to left and advanced to third base with one out.  Mike Napoli struck out, however, and after a Rougned Odor IBB, Elvis Andrus was retired to snuff out the threat.
  • Once Houston went to the bullpen in the 7th, though, it was on.  Chris Gimenez singled to lead off the inning, and then Delino DeShields sacrificed pinch runner Drew Stubbs to second.  Stubbs stole third base, and then scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.  Choo then singled, and after a Prince K, scored on an Adrian Beltre double to make it 5-2.
  • Texas piled on in the 8th.  With two outs and no one on, Elvis walked, then stole second and third.  Stubbs walked, bringing up Bobby Wilson, who had come into the game to catch.  Wilson doubled home Elvis and Stubbs, and then Choo drove home Wilson with his fourth hit of the night.
  • Man, laying out what happens seems so dull.  I want to jump up and down and scream.  I want to dance.  I want to hug Elvis Andrus.  I want to rub Adrian Beltre's head.  I want to hear the music from "The Natural" play as the fireworks go off at The Ballpark because of a big home run.
  • Meaningful September baseball is awesome.