Sunday, April 24, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Royals 7
By Art Garcia
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers went with the long ball early before David Murphy's three-run double appeared to cement the three-game series sweep over Kansas City on Easter Sunday afternoon. The Royals rallied with three runs in the ninth off Brett Tomko before falling short. C.J. Wilson struck out 10 and improved to 3-0 after the 8-7 win. Texas is 14-7, good for first in the AL West.
* Wilson worked effectively through seven innings, even if the lefty wasn't particularly sharp during stretches. He gave up a pair of long balls on 0-1 pitches to Jeff Francoeur and Mike Aviles, and another two runs in the seventh. He did strike out a 10, this third career game in double figures. Luckily, Wilson didn't need to shut down the Royals with the offense providing plenty of support.
* Arthur Rhodes, 41, is now the oldest Ranger to record a save in team history by getting the game's last out. Darren Oliver, 40, had set the record Saturday night.
* Andres Blanco not only doubled his career home run total, he tied usual starting shortstop Elvis Andrus in that department on the season. Blanco's homer down the left-field line was his first since July 29, 2009, while playing for the Chicago Cubs. It's not rare to see Blanco hit the ball hard -- he swings for the fences -- he just hardly ever goes deep.
* Michael Young has played in all 21 games and shows no signs of slowing down. Spending a third of that time at DH probably has a lot to do with being fresh. "I feel good," Young said before the game. "I always want to play." Young has a 14-game hit streak thanks to his RBI single in the fifth.
* The Rangers not only won a series for the first time since they were in Baltimore (April 9-10), they did it in style. Texas outscored the Royals 22-14 in the three-game sweep. Each of the starters picked up wins -- Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando and Wilson.
* Murphy had a key piece of clutch hitting in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs. Having gone hitless Saturday and in his first two at-bats Sunday, Murphy sliced a double to left-center the cleared the bases to extend the lead to 8-2, which barely stood up.
* Tomko made his Texas debut, relieving Wilson in the eighth and nearly finishing the game. He got two outs in the ninth before allowing three straight hits, including Aviles' three-run homer. Tomko hadn't pitched in the majors since 2009, ironically also at Rangers Ballpark, but as a starter for Oakland. The Rangers purchased his contract from Triple-A Round Rock last Wednesday. Read more about Tomko's journey back from arm trouble here from Richard Durrett.
* Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre also had solo home runs for Texas. Every starter had at least one hit, except for Mitch Moreland, who was batting second for the first time in his career. Julio Borbon started for the first time in four games, and had two hits and two steals.