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Thoughts on an 8-1 Rangers win

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Rangers 8, A's 1

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 8, A's 1

  • So that was a successful series, huh?
  • Two weeks ago, the Rangers lost 5-0 at Seattle, their second straight shutout loss, dropping to 2.5 games back in the A.L. West heading into a big ten game homestand against Oakland, Houston and Seattle.  Two weeks later, the Rangers have gone 10-3 since those back-to-back shutouts, and are now 3.5 games up in the A.L. West.
  • This has been a pretty good two weeks for the Texas Rangers.  Even if the Astros sweep Texas in this weekend's series in Houston, the Rangers will still be a half-game up in the A.L. West.  And the Rangers will be a half-game up with 7 games remaining, all at home, while the Astros will have 6 games left, all on the road.
  • After losing the first two games Cole Hamels started for them, the Rangers have now won 8 straight with Hamels on the mound.  Today's game didn't even seem like a particularly sharp Hamels outing, as he went just 6 innings, throwing 87 pitches (53 for strikes), fanned just a pair and walked three while allowing four hits.  Still, Hamels elicited GIDPs when he needed them, and the one run he allowed was unearned, scoring when a two out Texas Leaguer to center field was simply dropped by Delino DeShields.  So even without his A-game, Hamels was pretty damn good.
  • Keone Kela pitched the 7th with a 6-1 lead, and allowed a leadoff double before fanning a pair of batters and then getting Marcus Semien to fly out to end the inning.  The Rangers extended it to an 8-1 game in the 8th, which apparently was a big enough lead for Jeff Banister to avoid his usual late inning guys and turn to Andrew Faulkner.  Faulkner allowed a one-out infield single (Adrian Beltre was awarded an error on the play, as well, as he had an extremely out of character wild throw to first base on a slow roller), but started and ended the inning with Ks, and didn't allow any runs.
  • Anthony Bass pitched the ninth, much to the dismay of those of us who have been hoping to see some more Luke Jackson action, and like Kela, Bass gave up a leadoff double before retiring the next three.  After the double, Shawn Tolleson started warming up, and I got ready to tweet snarky stuff about overusing Tolleson, but having gone and looked, Tolleson has pitched in just seven games in September, and only once since going in back-to-back games on September 14 and 15.  So really, Tolleson is pretty well rested right now, and getting him up in case Bass got into trouble was pretty reasonable.
  • The Rangers once again jumped up on the other team early, scoring 2 runs in the first on a DeShields single and steal, a Choo double, and a Beltre single.  That was followed up in the second with another run, courtesy of an Odor single, a Gimenez single and a DeShields single.
  • Texas broke it open in the sixth, when Rougie singled and was sac bunted to second by Venable.  A Gimenez walk was followed by a DeShields single, and after Choo fanned, Prince walked ahead of a Beltre two-RBI single.  Then the icing on the cake was Prince Fielder's two run shot in the 8th inning, to give the Rangers their final 8-1 margin of victory.
  • Big game for DeShields, who had 3 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBIs to lead the charge.  Every Ranger starter had a hit except for Elvis Andrus, who was probably tuckered out after that home run yesterday...but Elvis did draw a walk, at least.
  • The Rangers outscored the A's 26-10 over this three game set, and are continuing to play really, really good baseball.
  • On to Houston.