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Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Dazzling Dozen: Matt Treanor's triple

By Richard Durrett

As we continue our countdown to the top moment in the 2010 Rangers season, we reach an unlikely triple to end an exciting game in June.

No. 9: Matt Treanor hits pinch-hit triple to beat the Marlins

The Rangers entered the top of the ninth in Florida down 2-1. They had a 1-0 lead until Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer off C.J. Wilson in the sixth inning. So down to their last three outs, the Rangers mounted a comeback.

Josh Hamilton hit a single to right and stole second base. Justin Smoak popped up and then Hamilton went to third on David Murphy's ground out. With the tying run at third and two outs, Julio Borbon drew a walk and manager Ron Washington decided to go to his bench and put Matt Treanor in the game as a pinch hitter.

Treanor played for the Marlins from 2004-08. They decided to let him go after the 2008 season and he admitted after the game that he couldn't wait to play his old team. Washington went with his gut, going with the righty-righty matchup despite having left-handed hitters on his bench.

“I had feelings,” Treanor told reporters after the game. “I think anybody that has a chance to play their former team, their always wanting to show them that ‘Hey, I’m a quality player and I feel I deserve to be here.’”

He did that by hitting a first-pitch fastball from Florida closer Leo Nunez to the gap in left-center to score both runs and give the Rangers the lead. Neftali Feliz finished things off in the ninth.

This is in my dozen because:

* It exemplifies how the Rangers had many heroes this season, including some unexepected ones. Treanor was an afterthought when the season began. He came to the Rangers late in spring training and started the season in Triple-A. But I remember when he showed up in Surprise, Ariz., and how he wanted to catch as many of the club's pitchers as he could. He knew he was traded to be an insurance policy, but he also knew he needed to be ready. And a week into the season, when Jarrod Saltalamacchia was injured and put back on the DL, Treanor was called up and became a critical component for a championship team.

* Washington went with his gut and not conventional baseball wisdom that night. Rather than put a left-handed hitting option in the game as a pinch-hitter, he went with a catcher. And one that was 3-for-17 in his career as a pinch-hitter. But Washington knew Treanor was playing against his former team and the manager just had a feeling Treanor could hit something. He was right.

* The comeback win once again showed the resliency of this team. They never felt like they were out of a game in 2010. Because of that, they got a reputation as a team that played nine full innings and developed an inner strength to bounce back from rough innings or games.

* The win came in the magical month of June. Texas was 21-6 in that month, setting a club record for winning percentage in the month. They took over the AL West that month and were able to essentially tread water the rest of the season, winning the title because they did enough in June to take control (and the rest of the division never made a move to try to catch them).