Friday, August 5, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Indians 7
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Elvis Andrus scampered around third base on an infield hit by Josh Hamilton to score the winning run in the bottom of the 11th and cap a tremendous comeback for the Rangers. It was a lot like the win over Tampa Bay in Game 5 in the ALDS. The Rangers bailed out Derek Holland, who just didn't have it. The win means the Rangers will stay in first place by themselves no matter what happens in the Mariners-Angels game. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse):
* That might be the most exciting finish to any Rangers game this season.
* Andrus, who made an error earlier in the game that helped the Indians get a larger lead, never stopped around third base on an infield single by Hamilton with two outs. Hamilton slid into first safe and by the time the throw came home, Andrus had slid across safely and was mobbed by teammates.
* The Rangers were down by as much as 6-1 in the game and were behind 7-5 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
* Michael Young hit a dramatic home run to straightaway center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score. The two-run homer scored Hamilton. The homer was Young's second hit of the game and the 1,997th of his career. He has one more career hit than teammate Adrian Beltre and is three hits away from becoming the 265th member of the 2,000-hit club.
* Double plays sure helped Neftali Feliz. He got Shelley Duncan to hit a ground ball to Andrus, who flipped to Ian Kinsler and onto first baseman Mitch Moreland to end the 10th inning. In the 11th, after Michael Bradley's infield hit, Jason Donald hit a ball to Kinsler, who got the ball to Andrus, who stepped out of the way of the runner and threw to first.
* Holland's chance for back-to-back shutouts ended in the first inning. He gave up consecutive singles to Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera before Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer to right. He was fastball happy in the first. The first 13 pitches he threw, including all of them to the first four hitters (which finished with Santana's homer), were fastballs. He ended up with 32 pitches in a rocky first inning and fell behind, 3-0.
* Things didn't get much better in the second. Holland just didn't have it. He walked Austin Kearns to lead off the inning and Kearns ended up scoring. The inning appeared over with the Indians scoring just one when Cabrera hit a routine grounder to short. But Andrus booted it and that gave Santana another chance to hit against Holland. He belted a double to score two runs (both unearned) and end Holland's day.
* Holland ended up going 1 2/3 innings, his second-shortest outing of the season. Holland allowed six runs (four earned) on five hits with one strikeout, one homer and one hit batter. He wasn't able to command his fastball and didn't appear to have the aggressiveness he's had in other starts recently.
* Kinsler helped make sure Ubaldo Jimenez's first inning as an Indian wasn't exactly smooth, either. Kinsler, who was 2-for-34 in his last eight games, belted a double to center field. He then stole third base and scored on a wild pitch to Andrus (the wild pitch was on ball four). Kinsler had gone 25 games without a stolen base attempt before that one and has now been successful in his last 19 stolen base attempts.
* The Rangers weren't able to turn the first into a big inning. They had runners on the corners with one out for Nelson Cruz, but he struck out and Mike Napoli hit a fly ball to right to end the inning with no more damage done.
* Andrus committed his 22nd error of the season in the second and it was costly, allowing Santana to come up and get his career-high fourth and fifth RBIs of the game. Andrus' 22 errors match his total from his rookie season in 2009. He has the most errors in the majors. He did try to make up for it some with an RBI hit in the second.
* An interesting play in the third. Moreland hit a double to right-center with two outs and Napoli came all the way around to score. He didn't think the throw would be close and didn't slide. It was a very high throw, but Jimenez was backing up the play and caught it not far from home plate and nearly tagged Napoli out. It was odd to see such a bad throw nearly get him.
* Scott Feldman, who came on in relief of Holland, threw some warmup pitches before the sixth and called manager Ron Washington, assistant athletic trainer Kevin Harmon and pitching coach Mike Maddux to the mound. It looked like he had a blister on his thumb. He was relieved by Yoshinori Tateyama.
* Napoli continued his torrid pace at the plate. He hit his 18th homer of the season, a solo shot in the sixth, to make the score 7-4. It was Napoli's fifth homer in his last five games. He has a nine-game hitting streak and is 17-for-35 with three doubles, five homers and eight RBIs during that streak.
* Napoli threw out three baserunners. He got Santana at third to end the second, Duncan at second to start the sixth and Kosuke Fukudome at third to end the eighth on a strikeout-throw out double play. None of the plays were particularly close. The last time a Rangers catcher threw out three runners? Gerald Laird on April 21, 2004 at Anaheim.
* Mike Adams made his home debut and got through the ninth inning, working around a two-out walk. He came back out for the 10th after Young's homer tied the score, but after putting two men on gave way to Feliz.