Rapid Reaction: Royals 3, Rangers 1
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers' bats were flat with two of their top hitters sitting on the bench. Manager Ron Washington opted to give Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli a night off, and their teammates managed only one run on seven hits.
Napoli was used as a pinch hitter, striking out looking with a man on base against Kansas City Royals closer Jonathan Broxton to end the game.
Boomstick goes way back: Nelson Cruz became the third player to launch more than one home run to the club level in left field at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington with his solo blast in the fourth inning. Cruz, whose towering homer just inside the foul pole was estimated at 416 feet, also put a ball in the club level seats on April 8, 2009. The others with multiple moon shots to those second-deck seats: Juan Gonzalez (four) and Alex Rodriguez (two). It was the 17th homer to the club level in the ballpark’s history. Cruz’s 2009 shot was the most recent before the Angels’ Mark Trumbo went deep Sunday night. Cruz struck out in his other three at-bats.
Chen’s gem: The only run Royals starter Bruce Chen allowed was on Cruz’s mammoth homer. Chen pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out seven. His success was especially surprising considering his previous struggles against the Rangers. He entered the game with a 1-2 record and 10.58 ERA in 24 2/3 career innings against Texas.
Hamilton loses handle: Josh Hamilton managed to go all last week without his bat flying out of his hands and into the stands. That cracked bat is headed to the Hall of Fame after his historic nine-homer, 18-RBI week. Hamilton’s next two bats lasted only a few minutes of live action. He accidentally launched his bat into the seats down the first-base line in each of his first two at-bats.
E in Beltre: Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre’s throwing error in the fifth inning led to two unearned runs. Chris Getz’s grounder would have ended the inning, but Getz reached when Beltre’s throw pulled first baseman Michael Young off the bag. After Getz stole second, Alcides Escobar lined a two-run single up the middle on the last pitch thrown by Scott Feldman.
Spot on: Feldman was solid in his second spot start of the season. He didn’t allow an earned run while giving the Rangers 4 2/3 innings. Feldman gave up two unearned runs on three hits and a walk. He threw 81 pitches, 44 strikes.
Sellout streak snapped: The Rangers’ team-record streak of home sellouts ended at nine games, more than double the previous mark. A crowd of 38,702 showed up for Monday night’s game. Approximately 10,000 reserved tickets remain for Tuesday night, 1,000 reserved tickets remain for Wednesday night and only scattered singles and obstructed-view seats remain for Thursday.
Tidbits: Beltre’s batting average dipped before the game. The official scorer in Baltimore changed his infield single in Thursday’s Game 1 to an error on third baseman Wilson Betemit. … Hamilton drew a walk in his first plate appearance, a rare occurrence. He has walked only 14 times this season, including five intentional passes. … Rookie reliever Robbie Ross gave up one run in 2 1/3 innings. A leadoff walk in the seventh inning came back to haunt him. … Set-up man Mike Adams pitched a perfect eighth inning, but he had some sort of health issue. Athletic trainer Jamie Reed and manager Ron Washington visited Adams after he struck out Jarrod Dyson, but the injury wasn’t deemed serious enough for Adams to leave the game. The Rangers did not announce the nature of the injury. ... Derek Holland, whose next start was pushed back until Saturday, pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Up next: The Rangers and Royals wrap up the two-game quickie series with Colby Lewis facing recent Triple-A call-up Vin Mazzaro.
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.