Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Rockies 2
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers took the rubber match of this three-game series, beating the Colorado Rockies, 4-2. A record 22nd sellout crowd was on hand to watch the Rangers victory. Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: The win tonight gives the Rangers their fifth consecutive series win. They have won all six of their series against the NL this year and have a MLB-best 14-4 interleague record this season. The Rangers are five games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, giving them the largest lead of any of the six MLB division leaders.
Attendance milestone: Tonight's crowd of 45,407 was the 22nd sellout of the year, breaking the club record for sellouts in a single season. The previous record of 21 sellouts was set in 1994. The Rangers have reached 1.5 million in attendance in 35 games, four games sooner than the previous record in '94. The Rangers are also second in average attendance in the MLB (the Philadelphia Phillies are ranked first).
Jam sesh: Matt Harrison pitched his way out of jams in the first and second innings. He had runners in scoring position in both innings, including loaded bases in the second after a single, walk, and hit batter. Robbie Ross also found his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning. In all, the Rockies left 11 runners on base.
Double or nothing: The Rangers had three 6-4-3 double plays with Harrison on the mound tonight. Harrison missed out on his seventh-straight quality start, leaving after five innings because of lower back tightness on his left side. He got credit for his 10th win and finished with five hits, two walks, no runs and three strikeouts. Harrison's injury will be re-examined in the coming days.
A little help from my friends: After Harrison left the game, Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Mike Adams picked up the slack. Each was solid, allowing no runs. Collectively, the three allowed four hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Harrison's fourth shutout of the season evaporated in a wild ninth inning, when Joe Nathan allowed two runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter. Nathan was able to preserve the win, thanks to a putout in a rundown at second, a sac fly and a strikeout.
I got this: Leonys Martin made the most of his start, going 2-for-4 and driving in three of the Rangers' four runs. He had a double in the second and a triple in the third. He also caught three flyouts. Elvis Andrus also had a solid night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a walk.
Hamilton delivers: Josh Hamilton made good on his word, coming through with a first-inning single and an intentional walk in the second. Hamilton rebounded from his career-tying seven strikeouts in the last two games to finish Sunday's game 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
The team to beat: The Rangers (45-28) have had sole possession of the best record in the majors for five straight days. It is the latest in a season that the club has ever held such a distinction. The win tonight also matches the Rangers' best 73-game record in club history, set in 1996.
Up next: RHP Justin Grimm (1-0, 4.50) takes the mound for his second major league start against RHP Rick Porcello (4-5, 4.95) to kick off a three-game series between the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
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.