Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Twins 6
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers won a close game late, scoring the go-ahead run in the eighth on Mitch Moreland's double and then adding five more for a six-run inning in a 10-6 win. The win gives manager Ron Washington 500 for his career.
What it means: For the first time all season, the Rangers are 22 games over .500. They were 0-3 this season in games when they were 21 over .500 going into tonight's game. ... They are six games ahead of Oakland in the AL West after the A's lost to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Moreland gets (another) big hit: His grand slam Wednesday was overshadowed by Adrian Beltre's three-homer night, but Mitch Moreland's RBI double Thursday broke the 4-4 tie. He hit in in the eighth inning, driving in Beltre to break a tie score. Moreland got ahead in the count 2-0 and hit a changeup on one hop to the wall.
Big eighth: Geovany Soto appeared to hit a double-play ball that would have ended the eighth with the Rangers up 5-4 and with just one run coming home. But shortstop Pedro Florimon bobbled the ball, allowing everyone to stay safe and score the second run. ... The Rangers built the lead from there. Ian Kinsler walked with the bases loaded. Elvis Andrus got an infield hit to score a run and Josh Hamilton hit a two-run single to make it a huge inning.
Early runs: The Rangers wasted little time in turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Kinsler walked on eight pitches, fighting back from a 1-2 count, to get on base. Andrus attempted to bunt, fouled it off and then hit an 0-2 single. That set the table for Hamilton's two-run double to left-center. The Rangers appeared ready to score more when Hamilton got to third with one out, but the inning ended when Florimon made a terrific diving stab of David Murphy's liner.
Hamilton takes RBI lead: The five RBIs for Hamilton give him 107 for the season and the lead in MLB, overtaking Miguel Cabrera. Hamilton had the two-run double in the first, a sacrifice fly in the fifth and a two-run single in the eight. Hamilton has 23 RBIs in August with seven more games left in the month. His highest RBI total in any month this season was 32 in May.
Twins tie it: Michael Kirkman came in with two on and one out in a 4-2 game in the sixth and could not hold the lead. A ground ball out by the No. 9 hitter Florimon scored one run and a two-out single by Denard Span tied it.
Ogando gets out of jams: Alexi Ogando ended up coming into the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth and needed just two pitches to retire Ryan Doumit and end the threat. Ogando had allowed 11 of 28 inherited runners to score before getting out of that situation. ... Ogando put two on in the seventh with two outs, but struck out Florimon with a 98-mph fastball.
Ejections: Roy Oswalt hit Joe Mauer in the middle of the back on a 3-0 pitch in the top of the third. In the bottom half with one out and no one on, Twins starter Scott Diamond's first pitch to Hamilton was thrown behind him and near his head. Home plate umpire Wally Bell immediately ejected Diamond and manager Ron Gardenhire sprinted from the dugout and was thrown out quickly, as well. Bell likely believed that Diamond was throwing at Hamilton's head and that was the reason for the ejection. It was the first ejection for Diamond and the 62nd for Gardenhire. ... It's also likely that Diamond wanted to hit Hamilton's back and not get the pitch near his head. More on that later.
Rough rundown: Texas was not able to execute a rundown in the third, allowing the Twins to tie the score. With one out and Florimon at third base, Ben Revere hit a bouncer back to Oswalt on the mound. But instead of running toward the runner, Oswalt threw it to third baseman Adrian Beltre. Then Beltre's throw was offline to catcher Geovany Soto, who had to go into foul ground to get it and couldn't tag Florimon. ... Beltre was given the error because of the throw.
Thrown out tagging up: The aggressive Rangers tried to put more pressure on the Twins in the second as Geovany Soto attempted to tag up from second to third on a fly ball to left field by Mike Olt. Left fielder Matt Carson threw a strike to thire base to get Soto.
Young leaves for birth: Michael Young left the game in the fifth inning to be with his wife, Cristina Barbosa, who gave birth to a boy around 9 p.m. It's the couple's third child, all of them boys. Mitch Moreland took Young's place in the lineup at DH.
Bullpen streak ends: The runs that Kirkman allowed were inherited and charged to Oswalt, meaning the scoreless streak for the bullpen continued until the ninth. An Andrus error with two outs ended it at 18 innings, the longest since the club's relief corps pitched 28 1/3 scoreless innings from May 1-10, 2008. The runs that ended it were unearned.
Closer necessary: The Rangers didn't want to have to use closer Joe Nathan but had to after two runs scored with two outs in the top of the ninth. Nathan came in with the score 10-6 and with the tying run in the on-deck circle, it counted as a save for Nathan.
Up next: LHP Matt Harrison (14-7, 3.19 ERA) takes on RHP Samuel Deduno (4-1, 3.33 ERA) in the second game of this four-game series at 7:05 p.m. on TXA21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.
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.