As others slump, Ian Kinsler rakes
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ian Kinsler made history in his first postseason. Riding a 3-for-4 night, including a two-run, ninth-inning homer that put the final dagger in the Tampa Bay Rays, the Texas Rangers' second baseman hit safely and scored a run in all five games of the ALDS.
The only other player to get his postseason career off to such a flying start was Boston's Nomar Garciaparra.
Kinsler's huge game, coming in the most important nine innings for the Rangers franchise -- no longer the only one not to win a playoff series -- made him 8-for-18. a team-best .444 average in the series, with three home runs, tied with Nelson Cruz, and a team-high six RBIs.
"I'm just trying to get on base. I'm trying to do whatever it takes for this team to win. It's pretty simple in the playoffs," Kinsler said. "I've been doing it all, but when you're in the playoffs it obvioulsy elevates the level of focus. I'm just trying to do the same thing I've done all year, just a little bit more focused."
The Rangers needed Kinsler's hot bat. Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero had a forgetful series at the plate, going a combined 10-for-57, with Guerrero accounting for half, and five RBIs.
Kinsler's decisive home run, yet another into the left-field bleachers at Tropicana Field, came off Rays closer Rafael Soriano. He knew it was gone when he hit it, evidenced by his bat flip and did a little hop and skip as he made his way down the first base line.
Game, and series, over.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.