Rangers 3, Twins 2
- So, Texas had a close road game, and didn't get walked-off...woo-hoo! After two walk-off losses in a row, avoiding seeing the other team celebrate while a Ranger pitcher walks off the mound is a very nice things indeed.
- Martin Perez picked up another Quality Start tonight, giving up just 2 runs in 7 IP. He looked terrific early in the game, getting up 0-2 on quite a few hitters while commanding his fastball and inducing ground balls. He couldn't maintain that high level in the later innings, but still managed to keep the Twins off the scoreboard the first six innings. The Twins got a pair on in the fourth, on back-to-back one out walks, but a GIDP ended that threat. A pair of singles and a sac bunt put runners on second and third with one out in the fifth, but a popped up attempted squeeze resulted in a double play to end that inning, as well. The sixth also saw two runners get on base, on a single and a walk, and then also saw the inning come to an end with a GIDP.
- Perez got a lead, finally, in the 7th, when the Rangers pushed two runs across, and that's also when the Twins finally did some damage against him. After Brian Dozier singled, Trevor Plouffe -- who had hit a long, deep foul ball to left earlier in the game against Perez -- went the opposite way on a pitch up and out over the plate for an opposite-field game-tying home run. I expected Jeff Banister to go get Perez at that point, but he left Perez in the game, and Marteen responded by retiring the final three batters of the inning.
- Final line for Perez: 7 IP, 5 hits, 3 walks, 4 Ks, 2 runs. His ERA on the year is now 3.39.
- Matt Bush came in and pitched a scoreless 8th and a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just a single hit, preserving the tie and putting the Rangers in position to take the lead in the 10th. Sam Dyson came into the game for the first time since the Wednesday disaster, and he gave up a leadoff single to start the inning, which cause nervous gulping from Rangers fans. Dyson got back into a groove after that, though, getting the ball down, striking out two batters, and then getting a 4-3 groundout to end the game.
- The first two runs came in the seventh, when a Prince Fielder walk and an Elvis Andrus walk, sandwiched between a Rougned Odor K, led the Twins to pull Ervin Santana. Mitch Moreland singled, but Prince couldn't score, staying at third. This highlighted the problem the Rangers are dealing with, carrying three catchers...with Jurickson Profar and Ryan Rua the only two non-catchers on the bench, the pinch running options were limited, and I was concerned that the lack of flexibility cost the Rangers there. Profar, however, pinch hitting for Bobby Wilson, laced a single into center to drive home a pair of runs, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead. A Shin-Soo Choo fielder's choice and an Ian Desmond K ended the inning, but the Rangers were finally on the board at least.
- Desmond had a drive to right-center, with one out in the sixth, that I think he thought was gone...he tossed the bat away and took his time out of the box, but the ball hit off the top of the wall, going for a double rather than a home run (and, really, might have been a triple if Desmond had run hard from the outset). Desmond hit another, similar shot in the 10th inning, however, and there was no doubt about that one...it carried over the fence for a home run, giving Texas what ended up being the final margin of victory. Though Rougned Odor tried to give the Rangers some insurance...with two outs and Prince (who had walked) on first, Odor smoked a ball to deep left-center that looked like it might go. Byron Buxton, however, made a terrific running catch to steal extra bases and make the last inning a little more exciting.
- Speaking of Odor...Balkin' Bob Davidson, generally considered one of the worst umpires in the game (though Steve Busby described him as one of the best), was behind the plate today. On the Odor K that was sandwiched between the two walks in the 7th, Odor was called out for going around on a check swing. Odor asked for help from the third base umpire, but Davidson insisted no, he went around, resulting on Odor squawking a bit. The thing is...the replay showed that Odor didn't come close to going around. An appeal to third base most likely would have been no swing. There was no reason for Odor to be rung up by the home plate umpire there, especially without going to the third base ump for help...and yet, we have an umpire who isn't interested in help, and is more interested in establishing his authority. So there you go...
- So the Rangers now are at 52-29 after 81 games -- a 104 win pace. The Astros won, so Texas is "only" 8.5 games up in the West right now...but you know what? I think I can live with that.