Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Tigers 3
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers took advantage of some mistakes by the Detroit Tigers and got some early runs on their way to an 8-3 victory Sunday afternoon.
What it means: The Rangers win the series and are now 6 1/2 games up in the AL West, matching their biggest lead of the season. They are also 21 games over .500, which also matches their high in 2012.
Quality start: Yu Darvish recorded just his second quality start in his past six outings, but did so against a solid Tigers lineup. He had five walks (one intentional) and fell behind hitters, but kept battling and recorded some big outs to prevent rally chances for the Tigers. Darvish had eight strikeouts and gave up six hits in 6 2/3 innings. ... He relied on his curveball to right-handed batters, especially early in the game, and found a nice rhythm as he threw to catcher Geovany Soto for the first time. ... It wasn't a dominating performance, but it was certainly an improvement from most of his starts since July started.
Key strikeouts in first: It helped Darvish that he was able to battle back from behind in the count to strikeout the two most dangerous Tigers hitters in the first inning. With Andy Dirks at second, Darvish fell behind 3-0 to Miguel Cabrera, but came back to strike him out on a cutter. He then fell behind 3-0 to Prince Fielder and battled back to strike him out on a slider. That kept the Tigers from scoring, and the Rangers gave Darvish a lead to work with in the bottom of the inning.
Hamilton's homer ties career high: Josh Hamilton drilled a 1-1 pitch from Tigers starter Rick Porcello into the seats just to the left of Greene's Hill to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the first. Elvis Andrus got on base in front of Hamilton on an infield single. ... The blast was estimated at 419 feet as Hamilton made an easy, yet powerful swing the other way. It was his 32nd home run of the season, matching his career-high from 2008 and 2010.
More on Hamilton's homer: The home run pushed Hamilton's hit streak to 10 games as he's hit much better in August than he did in June and July. ... He came into the game tied with Cabrera for the league lead in RBIs, but took over that by himself with 99 on the season (he had an RBI single in the third). ... It was his third homer in his last four games.
Fielding problems for Tigers: Texas took advantage of two big fielding mistakes by the Tigers in the third. With Ian Kinsler standing at third, Andrus hit a bouncer to the mound. But Porcello fired low to third and it got past Cabrera. Kinsler scored and Andrus went to second. ... But that wasn't the only error in the inning. Hamilton hit a single to right and Brennan Boesch had it go right under his glove as he charged it. That allowed Andrus to score and Hamilton went to third on the two-base error.
Robbie Ross rebounds: Manager Ron Washington talked with Robbie Ross after he came in and walked Fielder in the ninth inning Saturday. And the manager vowed to get Ross another shot soon. It came in the seventh inning Sunday. Once again, Ross faced Fielder, this time as the slugger represented the tying run. Ross got ahead 0-2 and then got Fielder to fly out to end the inning.
Aggressive baserunning: Give third base coach Dave Anderson some credit for sending Mitch Moreland on Kinsler's double with no outs in the third. He could have held him, but he made the Tigers make good relay throws -- and they didn't. Kinsler was smart to stay on the offensive and scamper to third base as the throw came home. ... The Rangers had a double steal in the seventh and Andrus scored when the pitch from Brayan Villarreal got away from catcher Alex Avila and went to the backstop. An error on Avila as he tried to throw allowed Hamilton to get to third. He then scored on a wild pitch.
Three wild pitches in one inning: The Tigers had three wild pitches in the seventh (from two different pitchers) that helped the Rangers score two more insurance runs. Texas had speed on the bases the entire inning and was able to quickly take advantage of the mistakes.
Moreland keeps hitting: Since coming off the disabled list on July 30, Moreland has pounded the ball. He's hit plenty of balls the other way and to the middle of the field and on Sunday turned on an inside pitch and pulled it to right for a double. Since coming off the DL, Moreland is hitting 14-for-39 (.359) with two doubles, two homers and seven RBIs in 13 games (10 starts).
Up next: RHP Ryan Dempster (6-5, 2.65 ERA in AL & NL) takes on the Yankees, who are expected to start David Phelps, a long reliever/spot starter, with CC Sabathia on the DL.
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.