Dustin Nippert: 'It's good to contribute.'
September, 14, 2010
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Reliever Dustin Nippert's last memory of the Tigers before Tuesday night wasn't a pleasant one. He was struck in the head by an Austin Jackson liner in Detroit on July 19 and missed six weeks.
"It's tough to sit out and not be able to help this team," Nippert said. "I'm just glad they gave me a chance tonight, and I wanted to hold things where they were."
That's what he did. He came in for the fifth inning to relieve Derek Holland with the score tied at 4 after the Rangers scored three runs in the fourth to tie it. With one out, Nippert gave up a walk, a single and hit catcher Gerald Laird to load the bases.
"Maddux came out and told me to settle down and we went over the game plan to Ramon Santiago," Nippert said.
He struck out Santiago and then got Jackson on a strikeout to end the inning. Nippert then utilized a good two-seamer and his off-speed stuff to keep the Tigers off balance. After hitting Laird, he retired 12 of the next 14 batters.
"I want to do what I can to help this team win and I wasn't able to do that being out," Nippert said. "It feels good to do it and I hope I can continue to do it the rest of the season."
Several of Nippert's teammates talked about the job he did. He was the first player Michael Young mentioned in talking about the game, remembering what he called "a scary day" in Detroit when Nippert was hit in the head.
"Nip was huge," Young said. "We needed that. That's just a great job. That was big. Our bullpen is still good to go and they are fresh for tomorrow. He was out for a while. That was a scary day in Detroit. Now he's back doing what he does, contributing to the team, giving us big innings when we needed it. He's a big part of our team and we're happy he's back."
* Yes, Ian Kinsler thought he had struck out on a 1-2 count in the sixth inning. Instead, it was called a ball by home plate umpire Brian Runge and Kinsler hit the next pitch to center field for an RBI single.
* Kinsler showed good patience in drawing three walks. He was 1-for-2. "I think that's more the guys in front of me," Kinsler said. "You have to go through Micheal and David and Vlad and Cruz before you get to me."
* Vladimir Guerrero now has 106 RBIs this season. His RBI groundout in the first inning was his 30th go-ahead RBI in 2010. He was leading the AL in that category going into Tuesday's game. He has the most go-ahead RBI by a Ranger since Alex Rodriguez had 30 in 2003. He's also hit safely in nine straight games and is batting .447 in that stretch.
* Tuesday was Young's 49th multi-hit game of the season, extending his club record to 537 for his career. He had three hits for the 157th time, also a club record.