Saturday, July 9, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Hamilton hits walk-off
By Randy Jennings
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas never led until the final pitch of the game.
Josh Hamilton sent that final pitch 435 feet into the right-field stands, giving the Rangers a thrilling 7-6 victory before 34,066 fans Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark.
The victory extended the Rangers' winning streak to six.
The walk-off win was the third for the Rangers this season. For Hamilton, it was his first walk-off home run since July 9, 2008, against the Angels.
The Rangers fought back from an early 4-0 deficit to tie, but Oakland’s bullpen quashed any comeback bids until Hamilton's heroics.
Oakland closer Andrew Bailey got the first two outs in the ninth, but Elvis Andrus reached on an infield single, bringing Hamilton to the plate. He had already doubled twice and singled once in four at-bats.
Darren Oliver picked up the win in relief.
The loss was a blow to the A’s. Oakland took a 6-5 lead on a solo home run by Coco Crisp in the seventh inning.
*During the Rangers' five-game winning streak coming into tonight’s game, Texas’ leadoff batter reached base in 22 of 40 innings. The only inning a leadoff hitter reached Saturday was in the four-run fifth inning.
*Colby Lewis didn’t let one nightmare inning ruin his night. The 31-year-old veteran recovered from Oakland’s four-run second inning and held the Athletics to one run in his last four innings.
Lewis, who received a no-decision, struck out nine and allowed only five hits. Four of the hits were bunched in the second inning when the Athletics sent 10 batters to the plate. One of the five runs charged to Lewis was unearned. He left having thrown 105 pitches, 70 for strikes.
*Tommy Hunter was stung by the home run ball in the seventh inning. Coco Crisp lined a 2-0 pitch from Hunter into the lower stands in right field.
Hunter pitched a scoreless inning in each of his last two previous relief appearances.
*Oakland manager Bob Melvin briefly argued the call of first base umpire Jeff Kellogg on Josh Hamilton’s single over the first base bag in the seventh inning.
*Adrian Beltre tied the score with a solo home run off Brandon McCarthy in the fifth inning. But in the seventh, with the tying run at third and one out against reliever Joey Devine, Beltre popped up to second base. When Michael Young grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning, the Rangers remained down by a run.
*Yorvit Torrealba had two hits and drove in a run with a double off the center -field wall. But a costly catcher’s interference error on Torrealba with Hideki Matsui at the plate in the second led to an unearned run. Torrealba started Texas’ four-run uprising in the fifth with a wicked ground ball off the leg of Oakland second baseman Jemile Weeks that was ruled a base hit.
*Nelson Cruz made a nice decoy to turn Scott Sizemore’s bid for a base hit into a fielder’s choice out at second base in the fifth. Cruz acted as if he could catch Sizemore’s looping fly ball in right field. It fooled Josh Willingham, the Athletics’ runner at first base. He held up and was an easy force out. But Hideki Matsui at third base had no trouble reading the ball and jogged home with Oakland’s fifth run.
*Ian Kinsler’s double pulled down the left-field line was the Rangers’ key hit in a four-run fifth. It drove in a run and sent Endy Chavez to third. The Rangers executed properly to get both Chavez (sacrifice fly by Andrus) and Kinsler (Hamilton ground out) home.
*Athletics third baseman Scott Sizemore turned in the defensive play of the night by leaning over the wall near the Oakland dugout to snare a foul ball by Mitch Moreland.