Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Blue Jays 7 (13)
May, 26, 2012
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have their first walk-off win of the season.
It took 13 innings in the 47th game of the season, and the Rangers blew a bunch of golden opportunities to win the game before rallying from a two-run deficit. And they did it in dramatic fashion, with Josh Hamilton hitting a walk-off two-run home run onto Greene’s Hill behind the center-field fence.
The Rangers were 1-of-15 with runners in scoring position and had left 13 men on base before Hamilton’s 20th homer of the season. They had failed to score in the previous four innings despite their leadoff hitter reaching base.
But that, like the sloppy defense that led to two Toronto runs in the top of the 13th inning, is all easy to forget after the Rangers’ Roy Hobbs delivered.
What it means: The Rangers started their homestand with two straight wins over the Blue Jays. It’s their first two-game winning streak since May 10 and 11.
Moreland left out again: Just add this to the mountain of evidence that manager Ron Washington has no confidence that Mitch Moreland will ever be able to hit lefties.
Moreland, who was hitting .139 after April 24, bumped his average above .300 for the first time this season with a 3-for-4 day. Moreland is hitting .309 after hitting two singles and a homer. He is 14-of-32 with five homers and 12 RBIs in the last 12 games. But Moreland got summoned to the bench with a lefty coming in from the bullpen and the game on the line.
Washington opted to for the ill, ice-cold Mike Napoli to pinch hit for Moreland with a runner on third and two outs in the 10th inning. Napoli whiffed against former Rangers reliever Darren Oliver in that at-bat and flew out with two runners on to end the 12th, which can’t be considered a surprise. Napoli is usually a southpaw slayer, but he is in a 3-for-25 slump with 15 strikeouts during that stretch.
Moreland has struggled against lefties throughout his career. He is 3-for-18 against them this season, and Washington clearly won’t give Moreland many chances no matter how much he mashes against righties.
Back-to-back-to-back and goodbye: Baseballs kept raining into the Toronto bullpen in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nelson Cruz, Yorvit Torrealba and Moreland hit back-to-back-to-back homers to temporarily give Texas the lead.
It was the seventh time in franchise history that the Rangers have hit back-to-back-to-back jacks, something Texas did twice last season.
It was the second straight game that Cruz and Torrealba homered. Moreland has five homers in his last 12 games.
The estimated distances on the homers: 426 feet for Cruz, 412 feet for Torrealba and 408 feet for Moreland.
The Blue Jays’ bullpen got stirring -- and not just to catch fly balls –- after the homer barrage. But Toronto starter Henderson Alvarez left before a reliever was ready, getting ejected after throwing inside to Ian Kinsler in the at-bat immediately after Moreland’s homer. It was a curiously quick hook by home plate umpire Marty Foster, considering that it was a 1-2 pitch and near Kinsler’s knees.
Lewis’ line: Colby Lewis followed up his most impressive start of the season with a mediocre outing.
Lewis looked like he’d be following up his eight-inning, one-run performance in Houston with another outstanding outing after cruising through four scoreless innings, but his final line wasn’t pretty. He allowed four earned runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Colby Rasmus’ towering blast in the fifth was the 14th home run allowed by Lewis this season, a total that leads the majors. The two-run shot hit high off the foul pole down the right-field line.
The Blue Jays added two runs before chasing Lewis in the sixth, benefitting from Elvis Andrus’ overly aggressive decision to try to throw out the lead runner at third base on a grounder to shortstop. David Cooper followed with a hit-and-run RBI single, and Omar Vizquel's bunt single scored another run.
Ogando's woes: By Alexi Ogando's standards, he has hit a serious rough patch. The Rangers’ reliever allowed a run for the third time in four appearances after a streak of 13 consecutive scoreless appearances. Ogando’s ERA has risen from 0.45 to 1.35 since his scoreless streak was snapped.
Striking first: The Rangers manufactured a couple of runs in the first inning with a leadoff double by Kinsler and a little luck. Kinsler advanced to third on a bad bunt by Elvis Andrus because pitcher Henderson Alvarez double-clutched before making his throw. Kinsler scored on a soft groundout by Josh Hamilton. Andrus advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Beltre.
Tidbits: Toronto infielder Omar Vizquel, who spent the 2009 season in Texas, passed Rangers legend Ivan Rodriguez for 44th place all-time in hits. He has 2,846 in his career after going 3-for-6 Saturday. The 45-year-old Vizquel, who entered the game with only two hits this season, had a single up the middle in the third inning, an RBI bunt single in the sixth and a go-ahead single up the middle in the 13th. ... The attendance was announced at 47,430. It was the 15th sellout of the season, matching the second-highest total in club history. ... Rangers reliever Mike Adams has retired nine in a row over three outings since getting three days of rest. ... Texas closer Joe Nathan has retired 16 consecutive batters over six appearances.
Up next: Texas RHP Yu Darvish faces Toronto RHP Kyle Drabek at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.