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Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Season in review: August-September

By Richard Durrett

The final two months of the Rangers regular season included some defining moments, like the ownership auction and the AL West division clinching game. Here's a look back at August and September, 2010:

Aug. 4: Michael Young’s grand slam keys an 11-6 come-from-behind win over the Mariners in Seattle. Just before Young’s homer, Rangers Baseball Express had put in what would become the winning bid in an auction for the club. The group, headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and club president Nolan Ryan, beat out Houston businessman Jim Crane and partner Mark Cuban in the race to own the club (technically, they won the auction in the wee hours of Aug. 5).

Aug. 10: Texas beats the Yankees in 10 innings as David Murphy gets a single off closer Mariano Rivera.

Aug. 12: MLB approves the sale of the team to Rangers Baseball Express.

Aug. 13: Josh Hamilton almost single-handedly leads the Rangers to a huge come-from-behind win over the Red Sox, 10-9, in 11 innings. Hamilton goes 4-for-5 with a double, a homer, a walk and a stolen base. He scored the tying run in the eighth from second base on an infield single and Nelson Cruz ended the game with a homer. The win came two days after the Yankees came back from a 6-1 deficit to hand the Rangers a tough loss at home.

Aug. 16: Nelson Cruz goes on the DL for the third time with hamstring issues.

Aug. 18: The Rangers fall, 8-6, to the Rays and are swept in Tampa Bay.

Aug. 20: After losing four straight, C.J. Wilson pitches one out short of a complete game and doesn’t give up a run to help the Rangers win 2-0 over Baltimore.

Aug. 23: Rich Harden is lifted after two outs in the seventh despite not having allowed a hit (but he had a high pitch count). The bullpen keeps the Twins hitless until Neftali Feliz gives up a one-out single to Joe Mauer in the ninth of a 4-0 Rangers win. Texas takes three of four from the Twins.

Aug. 30: Cruz returns from the disabled list as the Rangers win, 3-0, in Kansas City.

Aug. 31: Right before the deadline for players to be eligible for postseason, the Rangers trade for Jeff Francoeur, giving them an additionally right-handed bat. Cliff Lee complains of back tightness after giving up seven runs (four earned) in just 4 2/3 innings against the Royals.

Sept. 2: The club enjoys an off day in Minnesota and an Oakland loss puts them 10 games ahead in the AL West, tying the largest division lead in franchise history.

Sept. 3: Texas signs Mark Prior to a minor-league contract.

Sept. 4: The Rangers lose to the Twins, 12-4, and Josh Hamilton bruises his ribs hitting the center field wall at Target Field and is out of the lineup for an extended period of time.

Sept. 8: Behind a strong performance by Derek Holland and some timely hitting, the Rangers end a five-game losing streak by beating the Blue Jays.

Sept. 10: Texas beats the Yankees, 6-5, in 13 innings in a game that took 5 hours, 12 minutes. Nelson Cruz hits the third walkoff homer of his career. Cruz also tied the game with a homer in the eighth.

Sept. 11: The Rangers win again in walkoff fashion as Jeff Franceour is hit by a pitch from New York closer Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded to give the Rangers a 7-6 win in front of a sellout crowd. The game took 4 hours, 16 minutes, the second-longest nine-inning game in Rangers history.

Sept. 12: Texas completes a sweep of the Yankees behind a sensational eight-inning effort from Cliff Lee returning after missing a start with back tightness. The win coupled with an A’s loss puts the Ranges 8.5 games up in the division and drops the magic number to 12.

Sept. 22: A five-game losing streak comes to a halt with a 2-1 win in Anaheim behind a solid start by C.J. Wilson and a couple of manufactured runs for an offense that was slumping. The win coupled with an Oakland loss pushed the lead back to eight games and gave the Rangers a chance to clinch the division with a split in Oakland over the weekend.

Sept. 25: Jorge Cantu hits a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie and the Rangers hang on for a 4-3 victory that clinches the AL West. Neftali Feliz gets his 38th save, breaking the major-league record for saves by a rookie with 38. He jumped into Michael Young's arms and the team celebrated in Oakland.

Sept. 27: The Rangers return home and get loud cheers from fans as a 2010 AL West Division championship banner is unfurled at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Sept. 29: A wacky end gives Texas an unlikely 6-5 victory. With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth and Mitch Moreland at first base, Nelson Cruz strikes out, but the wild pitch goes to the backstop. Cruz runs to first and the throw goes into left field, allowing Moreland to score from first for the win.