ARLINGTON, Texas -- Seven pitches, three outs.
That’s all it took for Rangers pitcher Mike Adams to earn his third career save in the 5-3 win over the Indians. No runs allowed, no runners on base and little suspense in the ninth inning for another come-from-behind victory for the Rangers.
The conclusion of the game was good for Rangers manger Ron Washington’s heart as well the performance of his pitchers. Overshadowed by Michael Young’s 2,000th hit and the Rangers' eighth-inning rally was that Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis had a quality start. He lasted7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits.
Lewis tried to keep the ball down and away against a lineup featuring eight left-handed hitters, but Indians lead-off hitter Michael Brantley got the best of him with an RBI triple and a home run. Brantley’s solo shot to right field on a 2-2 count was the last pitch Lewis threw before Darren Oliver came on.
Oliver had the shortest outing out of the three pitchers used but picked up the win, working 2/3 of an inning. After a walk to Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera flied out to left field and Travis Hafner struck out swinging to get Oliver out of the inning.
After the Rangers' five-run, four-hit eighth inning to take the lead, it was up to Adams to secure the win.
“Anytime you come into the game like that, of course there’s a little bit more adrenaline going on,” Adams said. “But it’s fun. It’s fun to close out games like that especially for us to come back late in the game like that. That makes it extra fun.”
Adams jumped ahead as all seven of his pitches were strikes against the Indians Nos. 5, 6 and 7 hitters. It took four pitches to get both Carlos Santana and Kosuke Fukudome out. Lonnie Chisenhall struck out on three pitches, giving Adams his first American League save.
“He was good,” Washington said. “He came in and got three quick outs and nobody really centered the ball.”
On a night where closer Neftali Feliz wasn’t available to pitch following three consecutive appearances, Adams was dominant. At least on this night, Adams proved he could play the part of closer, and surely this is what the Rangers expected when they traded for him before the trade deadline.
But don’t expect him to become the permanent closer overnight. Even with Feliz’s six blown saves this season, Adams knows who the closer is.
“[Feliz] is our closer,” Adams said. “If we ever have times where he needs a break, obviously I’m ready to step in, but I don’t think there’s anything going on as far as any question who the closer is for this team.”