Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Red Sox 9
The Rangers used the long ball -- four of them in fact -- and scored the go-ahead run in the ninth for a 10-9 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: Texas wins the three-game series and heads into Thursday's off day feeling good. The victory guarantees the Rangers will still have the largest lead of any division leader (5 1/2 coming into the game). ... With the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A's playing each other, Texas will gain on one of them.
Ninth-inning fireworks: With the score tied in the top of the ninth after the Red Sox had seized momentum, the Rangers countered with the eventual winning run. Elvis Andrus drew a leadoff walk off Alfredo Aceves, Josh Hamilton singled with Andrus going to third and Adrian Beltre hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Andrus. ... Nelson Cruz later followed with what appeared to be a home run (at least by one of the camera angles shown on the replay), but the umpires called it foul, reviewed it and kept the original call.
Nathan gets save: Joe Nathan allowed a one-out double to Cody Ross but struck out Will Middlebrooks on two excellent, hard sliders and struck out Ryan Lavarnway on a slider to end the game.
Oswalt gives up tying HR: After a solid 1 1/3 innings of relief work, Roy Oswalt didn't have it in the seventh inning. He gave up a single, a double and a walk before allowing a three-run homer to Middlebrooks. It was the second three-run homer in as many games for Middlebrooks, and this one didn't involve fan interference.
Tone-setting walk: Ian Kinsler got things started quickly for the Rangers with an impressive walk. He fell behind 1-2 and then saw six more pitches, fouling off three of them, before drawing the nine-pitch walk. Kinsler increased the pressure on Boston by stealing second, going to third on Elvis Andrus' bunt hit and scoring on Josh Hamilton's triple. ... Kinsler continues to be a driving force for this offense. Not only did he walk and come around to score in the first, but he took a hit-by-pitch -- it barely touched his jersey, but it put him on base -- in the third, but he was left stranded.
Two-out troubles: Moments after Matt Harrison took the mound with a 3-0, he got the first two batters he faced and then ran into trouble. Dustin Pedroia singled and Adrian Gonzalez doubled to score him. Ross singled to score Gonzalez and after a walk, Harrison finally got out of the inning after 34 pitches. ... In the third, Harrison gave up a solo home run to Ross with two outs to tie the score. It hit just inside the foul pole on top of the Green Monster. ... Harrison was finally lifted with two outs in the fifth after walking Ryan Lavarnway, who was batting .091. He gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Hamilton keeps hitting: Perhaps Hamilton is starting to find his stroke. He belted a triple to the deepest part of Fenway Park in the first (it was probably 10 feet to the left of the seats, where it would have been a homer), scoring Kinsler and Andrus. ... Hamilton then hit a home run in the fifth, putting it in the seats in right field. It was Hamilton's 30th home run of the season. That was four RBIs, putting Hamilton's total at 95. That ties him with Miguel Cabrera for the lead in the big leagues, with the Tigers playing the Yankees tonight. ... Hamilton ended up a double shy of the cycle and was 3-for-5 in the game. ... He's 11-for-33 (.333) during this seven-game hitting streak.
Passed ball: Geovany Soto appeared to get crossed up on the first pitch from Oswalt in the fifth with the bases loaded. The ball rolled to the backstop, allowing Gonzalez to score to close the Red Sox within one.
Soto makes up for PB: The next half-inning, Soto hit a two-run home run over the Green Monster to turn a 6-5 game into an 8-5 game. It was his first homer in a Rangers uniform.
Moreland's homer: In the top of the fifth, Mitch Moreland hit a home run to center field to break a 3-3 tie. It was Moreland's second homer since returning from the disabled list July 30. He was hitting .333 prior to Wednesday's game since getting back in the lineup.
Murphy's catch: Besides David Murphy's solid play at the plate, he's been doing the job in the field. He ran back and made a leaping catch before thumping the Green Monster in the bottom of the first on Carl Crawford's hit. Murphy probably took a double away.
Tidbits: The last time the Rangers hit at least four home runs was July 21, when they hit five against the Angels. ... Michael Young's single in the seventh put his hitting streak at nine games. ... Congrats to Bryan Dolgin (Moreland), Ed in Virginia (Hamilton) and John (Cruz) who called the home runs during our live in-game chat today.
Up next: The Rangers are off Thursday and resume at home Friday with RHP Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21.
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.