Infield hits crush Rangers in big sixth
Rangers starter Derek Holland flirted with danger early, held on, but couldn't escape the sixth. Particularly damaging was a one-out infield single by 19-year-old outfielder Mike Trout, who dashed down the line to narrowly beat shortstop Elvis Andrus' throw to score Mark Trumbo from third. That cut the Rangers' 8-3 lead at the start of the inning to 8-5 with the top of the lineup coming up.
Tommy Hunter relieved Holland and was the victim of another infield hit that Andrus couldn't convert from deep in the hole with third baseman Alberto Callaspo digging down the line. Hunter had worked himself into trouble, giving up a two-out, RBI single to Bobby Abreu and then walking Vernon Wells to bring up Callaspo with runners on first and second. The second infield hit of the inning loaded the bases for the Howie Kendrick, the Angels' hottest hitter on the night.
"He [first-base umpire Jim Wolf] called him safe," said Hunter after his first appearance since July 9. "That's the thing, the inning's not over until the final out is made. It was a close play. It was a bang-bang play and he was safe."
Kendrick then made Hunter pay with his third hit of the game, lacing Hunter's 94 mph, first-pitch fastball down the middle of the plate for a two-run single to left that put the Angels in front 9-8. Hunter then got Trumbo, the 11th man to bat in the inning, but the damage was done in the seven-hit inning.
"The ones that hurt us were the two infield base hits. We get those and we're off the field with the lead," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But Trout beat one out and then Callaspo beat one out and those were the two that were the damage. Not so much the other stuff. If we get those two right there, we're off the field."
* Andrus had a rough night all the way around. He was 0-for-4 at the plate and committed a throwing error in the eighth inning. It was the first error by a Rangers infielder since Adrian Beltre in the ninth inning on July 1 against Florida.
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.