Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Mariners 3
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers scored five runs in the first four innings thanks to three homers, including an inside-the-park home run from Craig Gentry. Now the club must wait to see what happens in Anaheim, where the Los Angeles Angels are playing the Oakland Athletics. If the Angels lose, the Rangers will clinch the AL West and can celebrate in the clubhouse. If not, they'll have a chance to do it with a win or LAA loss Saturday. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse shortly):
* A big No. 1 was on the scoreboard when the game ended, signifying the club's magic number.
* Friday's game drew 43,874 fans. The club has 2,863,199 for the season, which passes 2001 for the fourth-most in team history and it's the most since 1998. The record is 2,945,244 in 1997. To break the record, the Rangers need 41,023 fans each of the next two games. That's very possible. There are about 6,500 tickets remaining for games Saturday and Sunday vs. the Seattle Mariners.
* Adrian Beltre belted a 409-foot homer to left in the second inning after Michael Young singled. (Ian Kinsler turned around in the dugout and yelled as it saw how far it landed.) It was Beltre's 29th homer, just one behind Kinsler for the team lead. He has a team-high 100 RBIs. That's his third season of at least 100 RBIs (2004, 2010), and he did it this season despite missing 35 games. Wow.
* David Murphy made a nice catch in foul territory in the third. He had to snag the ball away from a Rangers fan, who also brought his glove. Murphy made the play to start the third inning. One inning later, after making a catch to end the fourth, he gave the ball to the fan in the front row. A very classy move.
* Craig Gentry hit his first career home run and it was an inside-the-park homer in the fourth. With Nelson Cruz at first, Gentry hit a ball that got past a diving LF Mike Carp and CF Trayvon Robinson. Gentry, who has excellent speed, then sprinted around the bases. With Cruz's ginger hamstring I thought there was a chance Gentry could catch him (not really, but he wasn't far behind). Manager Ron Washington sure liked it, giving Gentry a big laugh and high-5 when he got to the dugout. Gentry didn't even have to slide after the ball rolled to the wall and it took so long to get it back into the infield.
* Gentry's homer was the first of inside-the-park variety for the Rangers since Nelson Cruz did it against Barry Zito on Sept. 4, 2006, at Oakland.
* Gentry is the second Ranger to get his first career homer via the inside-the-parker. Mark Sagmoen did it in 1997. It was his only career homer. Gentry's is the fifth homer of that kind at Rangers Ballpark. The last to do it was Luis Alicea in 2000.
* Matt Harrison ran into trouble in the sixth. He gave up two hits and had two walks as the Mariners scored three runs, two of them on sacrifice flies. Before that inning, Harrison had allowed just one hit and got nine of his 15 outs on ground balls or strikeouts.
* It's rare that you see Ichiro Suzuki completely fooled on a pitch, but Matt Harrison's 1-1 curve ball was not what Suzuki was expecting. He took a hard swing and missed wildly. That set Harrison up for a fastball, which Ichiro grounded out on.
* Josh Hamilton's homer -- a 433-foot shot to right-center -- was his 25th this season. He has six of them in his last 10 games and 18 RBIs in September. He's been a critical part of the Rangers' ability to stay in front in the AL West. He's looked much closer to the 2010 AL MVP (and remember, he didn't get a chance to contribute last September because of fractured ribs).
* Mariners starter Anthony Vasquez doesn't like pitching against the Rangers. He was gone after 3 1/3 innings Friday and gave up five runs on seven hits. It was his second straight start vs. Texas with similar results. His combined two outings this last week against the Rangers: 6.1 IP, 14 H, 10 R, 3 BB, 6 HR allowed.
* Darren Oliver came in and got two outs in the seventh and Koji Uehara got the final out of the inning. Mike Adams gave up a leadoff single, but then induced two ground balls and a fly out. Neftali Feliz got the save. The Mariners are now 0-for-48 against Feliz.
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.