Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Mariners 3
April, 12, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers took the lead two batters into the first inning and never relinquished it in the 5-3 win. Some thoughts:
What it means: Texas finishes the homestand at 5-2 and is in first place in the AL West. They took two out of three games with the Chicago White Sox and three out of four from the Seattle Mariners. The only two games they lost were in the ninth inning.
Dutch does it: The Rangers' late-inning bullpen, tired from the workload recently, needed a long start. And they got it. Derek Holland threw 114 pitches -- the most for any Rangers pitcher this season -- and went 7 1/3 innings -- the deepest any Rangers starter has gone. Holland had eight strikeouts (two shy of his career-high) and didn't get himself into much trouble. He allowed a long home run to Kyle Seager in the seventh, but no one was on base. And a leadoff double in the sixth cost him as Seattle scored then, too. But that was it. Holland was aggressive and confident and looked like the guy who was so solid in the second half of 2012.
Kinsler's first steal: Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler got his first stolen base of the season in the first, swiping second shortly after a leadoff single on an 0-2 pitch. He scored on Micheal Young's hit. The stolen base was just the club's third all season (Yorvit Torrealba and Adrian Beltre have the others).
Clutch insurance runs: With a tired bullpen, the Rangers didn't want any one-run issues late. Kinsler and Young took care of that in the seventh. Kinsler's double down the left-field line scored Torrealba and Young's single to left scored Kinsler.
2-hole hitter: Young batted second with Elvis Andrus out of the lineup (a day off for the shortstop). And he hit the ball well. He was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs. Young is hitting .321 (9-for-28) with seven RBIs this season, leading the club. He has had most of his at-bats in the No. 2 spot (more than 3,300), but only 10 at-bats in 2011.
Rough inning: It was not a memorable fifth inning for Craig Gentry. He was asked to bunt Alberto Gonzalez to second after his leadoff single and Gentry wasn't able to bunt the ball hard enough. Catcher Miguel Olivo pounced on it and threw to second base. Gentry then tried to steal second and overslid the bag. Replays showed he definitely was tagged with his foot off the bag.
Jet stream returns: We haven't had the the big jet stream winds at the ballpark so far this season, but when Thursday's game started the winds were blowing in at 26 mph. And the jet stream was evident in the fifth, when Young hit a two-run homer the other way to right field. Ichiro Suzuki calmly trotted after it as if convinced it wasn't going out. It just kept going and ended up in the seats.
Bat comes alive: Catcher Yorvit Torrealba was just 1-for-9 coming in after a relatively quiet spring training at the plate (and he normally hits the ball well in spring). But he had a good day at the plate. A well-placed infield hit down the third-base line got him on base. In the seventh, he roped a double to left that helped set up insurance runs.