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Thoughts on a 7-6 Rangers win

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Rangers 7, A's 6

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 7, A's 6

  • So we kind of make fun of the whole #NeverEverQuit thing, but once again, the Rangers got down, were trailing in the 9th, and came back.  Jonathan Lucroy used the word "resilient" in reference to this club today, and that's as good as one word descriptor as you can find for the 2016 Texas Rangers.
  • Cole Hamels had a weird game...he went six innings, and in the odd innings, he retired every batter.  1st, 3rd and 5th were all 1-2-3 innings.  In the second inning, he allowed a walk and a double to start the inning, putting runners on second and third with no one out, but got a K and a weak ground out to escape with no damage.  In the fourth, he started off the inning walk-homer-double, with the home run coming from, of course, Khris Davis, and then gave up a one out run scoring single, making it 3-0.  Then in the sixth, he allowed a two out, three run home run to Billy Eibner -- who also singled in that run in the fourth -- making it six runs on his ledger for the day.
  • Once again, the issue with Hamels didn't appear to be his stuff -- it appeared to be spotty command.  Command has been an issue for him his last several outings, and I don't know there's much that you can do but hope that he gets things back on track before the playoffs start.  He's likely going to start Game One of the ALDS for Texas, and you'd like to think Good Cole will be back by then.
  • Keone Kela, Matt Bush and Sam Dyson pitched the 7th, 8th and 9th, respectively, and each gave up a single while throwing their scoreless inning.  Kela and Bush each fanned a couple of batters, and seeing Kela do that is encouraging, given his recent struggles.
  • So anyway...the bats.  Texas had an opportunity to get on the board in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with one out on a pair of singles and a Carlos Gomez HBP.  Ian Desmond hit a slow roller to short, for what appeared to be a run-scoring fielder's choice...but Gomez slid late, past the bag, and on top of that reached out a grabbed the fielder, and thus Desmond was called out on Gomez's interference.  Jeff Banister came out to argue, but it was a very clear infraction under the new rules...and unfortunate because there was no chance Desmond would have been thrown out anyway.
  • Texas finally put runs on the board for real in the fifth, with a Lucroy walk, a one out Nomar Mazara single, and then an Elvis Andrus double that brought Lucroy home.  Mazara scored on a ground out by Gomez, but Ian Desmond struck out, stranding Elvis at third, leaving the score at 3-2 (right before it became 6-2 with that Eibner home run in the top of the next inning).
  • Texas pecked away, though, bringing home a couple of runs in the sixth with a Carlos Beltran/Adrian Beltre back-to-back double sequence, followed by a Rougned Odor single, a fielder's choice, and then a Mitch Moreland single off of new pitcher Sean Doolittle.  With the score 6-4 and two on, pinch hitter Ryan Rua and regular hitter Elvis Andrus had a chance to get the score tied, but each flew out, ending the inning.
  • Carlos Gomez homered in the 7th, making it 6-5, and then Texas appeared poise to take advantage of mistakes to tie the game or take in the lead in the 8th.  Liam Hendriks allowed a single by Odor to start the inning, and then after retiring the next two batters, walked pinch hitter Jurickson Profar.  Elvis Andrus then hit what looked to be a routine grounder to shortstop Marcus Semien...but Odor, moving from second base, paused in front of the ball as it headed that way, screening Semien, who misplayed it, loading the bases for Gomez.  Alas, Gomez grounded out to second, ending the inning.
  • But that just set things up for the dramatic comeback in the 9th.  Beltran had a one-out double, and was lifted for pinch runner Delino DeShields, who then advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Beltre walked, and was pulled for pinch runner Joey Gallo, and we all wondered whether the Rangers would try to pull that "break from first base, draw a throw, get hung up, allow the runners to score from third trick," but no dice.  Instead, Rougned Odor had a long, tough at bat against Ryan Madson before striking out on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt, though a 3-2 pitch that allowed Gallo to steal second...a key steal, since it meant that Gallo could score easily when Lucroy pulled the ball past the third base bag, making it a 7-6 win and earning him another Powerade shower after another walkoff victory.
  • Remarkably, Ryan Madson now has three blown saves against the Rangers this year.  He has two against the rest of baseball.
  • Also remarkably, the Rangers, with 88, are now tied for the 9th highest win total in team history, with the 2015 Rangers and the 1998 Rangers -- also division winners.
  • The Magic Number is 7.
  • Yu Darvish pitches tomorrow.
  • Baseball is good.