Reaction Game 2: Rangers 7, Orioles 3
BALTIMORE -- The Texas Rangers overcame a rough defensive second inning and put up three runs on the board in the seventh to effectively put the game away in a 7-3 win. Derek Holland got his second straight quality start, allowing no earned runs in six innings, and the bullpen closed things down.
What it means: Texas splits the doubleheader and wins the series, ending a three-series losing streak. The Rangers return home for the Angels series at 21-11 after a 5-5 road trip through Toronto, Cleveland and Baltimore.
Holland solid again: This was a good road trip for Derek Holland, who bounced back from his two rough starts at home vs. the Yankees and Rays, and posted two quality starts. That includes six innings Thursday. He allowed three runs, but none of them were earned. Holland gave up two runs (one earned) in 7 1/3 innings in Cleveland. So he's allowed just one earned run in his last 13 1/3 innings. That's a big improvement. He's dropped his ERA from 5.13 when this trip started to 3.86.
Trio of errors: The Rangers committed three errors in the second inning, helping turn a 2-0 lead into a one-run deficit. It ties the club record (set 15 times) for errors in an inning. The last time was Sept. 15, 2005, vs. Seattle (Kameron Loe had 2 and Hank Blalock the other). Ian Kinsler missed a ball hit right at him that might have started a double play. Elvis Andrus made an errant throw to first that allowed a run to score and Josh Hamilton's throw from the outfield on a fly ball was over the cutoff man and wide of home plate, which gave Mark Reynolds the chance to score easily as he was waiting halfway down the line. All three runs scored in the inning off Holland were unearned.
Hamilton homers: After going 1-for-4 with just a single in Game 1, Hamilton hit yet another two-run homer (yes, with Andrus on in front of him). It was his sixth homer of the series and 15th of the season. All six of his homers in Baltimore have been two-run shots with Andrus on base. Hamilton's homer Thursday night landed on Eutaw Street. It's the 60th time that's happened in the ballpark's 20-year history and the 35th by an opponent. ... It's worth pointing out that Hamilton used to regularly hit home runs when Tommy Hunter started for the Rangers. Now, he's doing it when Hunter starts for Baltimore.
A rare triple: Mike Napoli, who was 4-for-27 (.148) on this road trip and trying to find a comfort level at the plate, hit a triple to right field. He got enough on it to keep it fair and Nick Markakis tried to make a diving catch and it got past him. Napoli never hestitated going to third. The hit drove in Nelson Cruz to tie the score. Cruz was on second after a double. ... Napoli also had a single in the sixth, giving him his third multi-hit game in his last four starts. We'll see if maybe Thursday allows him to start feeling more comfortable at the plate.
Reaching safely: Andrus has reached base safely in 28 straight games, tying the major league high this season (Curtis Granderson). ... He also has a 10-game hitting streak and delivered a two-out, go-ahead single in the fifth that put the Rangers up, 4-3.
Insurance runs: Texas added three runs in the seventh to push the lead out a bit. Andrus continues to hit the ball well. he had an RBI single to score Mitch Moreland. The Orioles decided to intentionally walk Hamilton to load the bases for Beltre, who hit a grounder to third that was scored an error. Beltre was given an RBI as Kinsler scored. Michael Young's ground ball scored Andrus.
Bullpen gets work: For the first time all series, the Rangers were able to utilize their bullpen in standard flying formation -- Alexi Ogando in the seventh, Mike Adams in the eighth and Joe Nathan in the ninth. The relievers didn't allow a run.
Aggressive baserunning: The Rangers do it better than most teams. But on a deep fly ball in the ninth, Andrus went from first to second. That put him in scoring position with two outs for Young. Andrus didn't score, but those are the kinds of plays that can matter.
Up next: Assuming Mother Nature allows it, the Rangers and Angels will finally get this rivalry going for 2012 with the intriguing matchup of RHP Yu Darvish against LHP C.J. Wilson.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Oakland for his weekly visit.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss his role with the Rangers. Ryan says that he has not been in contact with the Astros about a possible opening and he doesn't think that he would be interested anyway.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit and wastes no time sounding off on MLB umpire Angel Hernandez.
Play Podcast Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland joins GAC from Milwaukee to discuss what it was like facing former teammate Scott Feldman, Texas' upcoming series and more.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Milwaukee for his weekly visit and discusses Nick Tepesch, the Rangers' rotation, interleague play and more.