Sunday, May 29, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Royals 6
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers earned their first walk-off win of the season with a dramatic 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals. The Rangers took two of three in the series.
The ending came when Elvis Andrus singled down the right-field line. Mike Napoli was running with the pitch and scored all the way from first base. Napoli slid under the tag of catcher Brayan Pena with the winning run.
The play was so close that Pena slammed the ball after home plate umpire Mike Estabrook made the safe call.
Feliz with struggles: After the Rangers rallied from a two-run deficit to tie it in the eighth, closer Neftali Feliz gave it away in the ninth. Manager Ron Washington took Feliz out with two outs and a man on for Arthur Rhodes. Feliz blew a save to the Royals on Friday night and gave up the lead on Sunday. Last week in Kansas City, he blew consecutive saves. Sunday, Alcides Escobar drove in Chris Getz on a sac fly to left to break a 5-5 tie.
Ogando gets a no decision:Alexi Ogando has been brilliant this season. He came in with the second-lowest ERA in the AL, fourth lowest in the majors, and opponents were hitting just .181 off him, the lowest in the big leagues. Sunday he struggled. After three quiet innings, the Royals reached him with five runs on five hits. The biggest hit was a three-run homer to right field from catcher Brayan Pena. The five runs allowed by Ogando were the most he's given up in a single inning this season. Ogando (5-0) didn't have his best stuff through six innings and gave up more runs, five, against the Royals than he did previously in the month of May (four). But Michael Young bailed him out with the game-tying two-run home run in the eighth.
Rangers rally twice: Not only did Ogando get bailed out, but so did Feliz. Young hit a two-run homer on a 3-1 pitch, a fastball just above the belt, to gie the game at 5-5 in the eighth. In the ninth, after Feliz lost the lead, Nelson Cruz homered on a 3-1 pitch over the out-of-town scoreboard in left to tie the game, 6-6, against the Royals closer Joakim Soria. It was Soria's fourth blown save of the year.
Rangers blow chance in the seventh:The Rangers trailed 5-3 heading into the seventh inning when Adrian Beltre drew a leadoff walk against Royals starter Danny Duffy. From there, managers Ned Yost and Ron Washington played the matchups. First, Yost called in Greg Holland to pitch to Cruz, who bounced out to third on a tough play by Wilson Betemit. Holland stayed in and struck out Mike Napoli. But Yost, needing just one more out, elected to use left-hander Everett Teaford to face Mitch Moreland. Washington had no right-handed hitters on the bench because Elvis Andrus, who was supposed to have a day off, came in for an ejected Ian Kinsler in the fifth. Moreland walked, and that set up more moves. Yost called on Aaron Crow, a righty, to face Craig Gentry. But Washington pinch hit for Gentry with David Murphy, a left-handed bat. Murphy popped out to third on a pitch low and out of the strike zone to end the inning.
The road calls for the Rangers: The Rangers will play 17 of their next 20 games on the road, starting with a three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers have one of the worst road records in the big leagues despite being in first place in the AL West for most of the season. The Rangers are 9-14 on the road.