Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Royals 4 (10)
September, 6, 2012
By Robert Falkoff / Special to ESPNDallas.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Michael Young snapped a tie with a run-scoring single in the 10th inning to lift the Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the Royals on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. Young’s hit came after a leadoff triple by Ian Kinsler off Royals closer Greg Holland.
What it means: The Rangers, 82-55, moved 27 games over .500 for the first time this year and 5 ½ games ahead of Oakland in the American League West. By taking three of four in Kansas City, the Rangers have won their last six series.
Strategy foiled: Manager Ron Washington played the percentages in the seventh inning when he lifted starter Scott Feldman for lefty Michael Kirkman with lefty-hitting Eric Hosmer at the plate and Texas leading by one. Hosmer foiled the strategy with a homer to left-center that tied the game at 4-4 and ended Feldman’s chance of getting a win for the first time since Aug. 4. Nevertheless, Feldman can reflect on a positive outing. He allowed six hits and three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings.
Twice as nice: Back-to-back homers are becoming standard operating procedure for the Rangers. They did it again Thursday, with Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre going back-to-back in the fourth inning. It’s the ninth time this year that Texas has had back-to-back homers and the second time in the Kansas City series. On Monday, Beltre and Nelson Cruz went back-to-back.
Select company: When Beltre hit his 30th homer Thursday, it marked the second consecutive year in which he has hit reached that plateau. Beltre, 33, joins a short list of players who posted back-to-back seasons with 30 homers or more at 32 or older. That list includes Harmon Killebrew, Mike Schmidt and Alex Rodriguez.
Royal defense: When they face the Royals next year, the Rangers may be somewhat leery about taking daring leads. That’s because Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez has made an impression in this series with his throwing ability. Perez picked off Kinsler at third Tuesday night and picked off Craig Gentry at first Thursday. Perez leads the Major Leagues in pickoffs with four this season. Kansas City used more good defense to thwart the Rangers in the eighth. With two on and two out, Cruz hit a liner to deep center, but Lorenzo Cain raced back for a lunging catch to take away two RBIs from Cruz. In the ninth, Hosmer leaned over the first base railing for an acrobatic grab of Geovany Soto’s foul popup.
Soto delivers: Soto doesn’t have a high batting average, but he came through with some big hits at the start and finish of the series. Soto got Texas off and running with a three-run homer in the series opener and blasted a go-ahead RBI double off Luke Hochevar in the seventh inning of the series finale. The Rangers can only hope it’s a glimpse of things to come.