But Baker was all smiles early Wednesday morning after not only getting his first victory of the season in Tuesday's 3-2, 14-inning triumph over the Tampa Bay Rays, but his first win since July 23, 2011 when he was with the Minnesota Twins.
Baker, who missed the 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, also put an end to another rather inauspicious record. The Rangers had been 0-20 in games Baker had appeared in.
“I guess in a way, it’s just a stat,” Baker said. “Regardless if I get a win as a reliever or a starter, to win a game in the big leagues means something. So I’m very happy, obviously. At the same time, it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time sometimes, and I think that was the case tonight.”
Baker was part of a Rangers bullpen that logged seven innings after starter Nick Tepesch was pulled after seven solid innings of work and 102 pitches. Baker came on in the 13th and allowed just one hit in his two innings, a one-out double to Evan Longoria in the 14th.
The Rangers won in the bottom of the inning when Adam Rosales drew a two-out bases loaded walk.
“You just can’t prepare for what you’re going to do that day,” Baker said of his life as a long reliever. “Each day dictates (something different) and it dictates what role you’re going to be in, and as far as me throwing (Monday, where he threw 17 pitches in one inning), I still felt good to throw multiple innings, and I was out there until they wouldn’t allow me out there to pitch anymore.”