Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Twins 3 (10)
July, 7, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz's double to left scored Adrian Beltre from first base in the 10th inning to end the Rangers' five-game losing streak by a 4-3 score.
What it means: It was Cruz's fifth career game-ending hit in the regular season and it was the club's second walk-off win of the season. Cruz, of course, hit the game-ending grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS last year.
Hamilton homers: Josh Hamilton was in the lineup as the DH one day after experiencing lower back spasms, and he helped the club with a solo home run to left-center in the fourth inning. That tied the score, 2-2. It was Hamilton's 27th home run, tying him with Jose Bautista for the league lead. He's the first player in Rangers history with at least 27 homers and 75 RBIs at the All-Star break and the first in the big leagues with those totals since Albert Pujols in 2009. The last AL player to do it: Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
Quality start: Derek Holland, coming off the disabled list, gave up three runs on six hits in six innings. He threw 88 pitches (55 strikes) and was able to give his team some innings. Holland threw 73 pitches in his last rehab start, so the club may not have wanted to press the issue his first start back. By the time Tanner Scheppers took the mound in the seventh, it was a tie score.
Early deficit: The Rangers fell behind in the second as the Twins scored two runs on three hits. Holland had a chance to make a play on a ground ball up the middle and possibly get Justin Morneau breaking on contact from third, but Holland completely missed the ball. Kinsler was able to field it and get Trevor Plouffe out, but it scored a run. Brian Dozier's single scored Ryan Doumit with the second run.
How many outs?: Dozier thought the Twins had two outs in the second instead of one and was off and running on Jamey Carroll's fly ball to center. Craig Gentry threw the ball back in to first base and Dozier was out easily to end the inning.
Cruz thrown out on WP: Nelson Cruz tried to get aggressive on a wild pitch in the second. As the ball got away from catcher Joe Mauer, Cruz broke from third and slid at home. Mauer got to the ball and made an underhand flip to pitcher Samuel Deduno covering the plate, who applied the tag. Cruz was trying to make things happen with two outs for an offense that was struggling to score runs and it didn't work (I don't blame him for trying). The Rangers continue to stay aggressive on the bases.
Beltre's night: The most consistent Rangers' offensive performer in the first half this season -- Adrian Beltre -- hit a solo home run in the sixth to tie the score. Beltre was 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the game and came in with a .324 average. The homer was his 15th of the season. He also singled to lead off the 10th and scored on Cruz's double.
Failing to execute: David Murphy singled and Mike Napoli drew a walk to start the fifth inning, yet the Rangers couldn't score. Gentry put down a sacrifice bunt (with Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus due up in a tie score, manager Ron Washington decided to have Gentry get the runners over). With the middle of the infield back conceding a run, Kinsler struck out on three pitches. Andrus grounded out to end a disappointing inning. But that's the kind of situation that Washington has talked about that this club isn't consistently doing the job: runner at third and one out in a close game. ... The Rangers also loaded the bases in the seventh when Hamilton walked, but Beltre grounded out to end the inning. ... Murphy started a two-out rally attempt in the eighth, battling for a 10-pitch walk after getting behind 0-2. But with runners at first and second, Gentry, one of the hottest hitters on the club (and one of the few), popped out to shallow center.
Ross pitching like All-Star: Left-handed reliever Robbie Ross came in with two outs in the seventh and eighth innings and got through them without allowing a run. He did walk consecutive batters -- Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham -- in the eighth, but got Justin Morneau to ground into a double play. Ross has only walked 11 batters in 46 2/3 innings.
Good sign for Napoli?: Napoli had some better at-bats Saturday, showing patience. He drew three walks, the first time he's been on base three times since June 17 (had three walks and a hit that game). Even Napoli's only out was a hard-hit ball to third that required a nice backhand stop by Trevor Plouffe.
Multiple innings for Nathan: For the first time since Aug. 21, 2009, closer Joe Nathan pitched two innings. He threw a season-high 36 pitches and struck out Josh Willingham on a 95 mph fastball to end the 10th. Nathan hadn't pitched since June 28, so he was rested.
Tidbits: A total of 47,067 fans were at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the club's 27th sellout as they keep adding to the record. ... Elvis Andrus snapped an 0-for-15 stretch with a single in the seventh. ... There are about 5,000 tickets available for Sunday night's game, the final one before the All-Star break for the Rangers. ... Closer Joe Nathan allowed a bloop double down the left-field line that fell between Beltre, Murphy and Andrus in the ninth, but then got the next three batters out.
Up next: RHP Roy Oswalt (2-1, 7.79 ERA) faces the Minnesota Twins in the final game of the first half for Texas. RHP Cole De Vries (2-1, 3.91 ERA) is on the hill for the Twins.