Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Indians 4
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers used a big sixth inning to take firm control of the game and beat the Indians, 10-4. Texas hit three home runs off starter Justin Masterson, who had allowed only seven all season before Tuesday. The win means the Rangers will at least be three games up in the AL West after tonight. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse):
* Matt Harrison was sharp early, getting the first eight batters he faced. But his changeup started to get up in the zone and he lost some of his fastball command, allowing the Indians to put runners on base. Harrison gave up a run in the fourth and fifth and after giving up a leadoff double in the sixth, manager Ron Washington went to the bullpen. Harrison ended up going five-plus and gave up three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
* Harrison got out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the third, but couldn't keep the Indians from scoring in the fourth. Catcher Carlos Santana drilled a high changeup into the seats in left-center field. They scored again on the double by Jason Kipnis in the fifth and then Santana, who hit the leadoff double that chased Harrison, scored on a wild pitch by reliever Michael Gonzalez. Santana ended up homering in the eighth off Mark Lowe, becoming the first Indians player to hit a homer from both sides of the plate in the same game since Victor Martinez in 2007.
* David Murphy certainly enjoyed hitting off Cleveland starter Justin Masterson. Murphy had two home runs in his first two at-bats, both to left field. His first one went 384 feet and his second one, in the upper deck, was 10 feet longer. Masterson does not give up a lot of home runs, entering the game with seven homers allowed in 200 1/3 innings, the best rate per nine innings in the AL. So it was impressive that Murphy added two to that total in the same game. Murphy also had an infield single and a double, falling a triple shy of the cycle. He was 4-for-4 and is hitting .425 in September with four homers, 12 runs and 12 RBIs.
* Entering Tuesday, Masterson had allowed multiple homers to four different batters in his career: two each to Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Carlos Pena, and Felix Pie. He had never allowed multiple homers to any batter in a season, let alone in a single game. (Shout out to Rich Rice, Rangers PR)
* It was the third multi-homer game of Murphy's career, but his first in Arlington. He had multi-homer games on the road, one in Kansas City in 2009 and Oakland in 2008.
* Josh Hamilton got ahead in the count 3-0, watched a strike and then belted a 3-1 pitch to right-center field. It was hit on a line and hard, giving the Rangers a 4-2 lead. It was a two-run shot because Elvis Andrus drew a one-out walk ahead of him. It was the first time Masterson had given up three homers in a game in his career. And by the way, there was no jet stream when he hit it. Hamilton is now 8-for-11 with two homers and four RBIs off Masterson. The slugger was 3-for-5 on Tuesday and looked comfortable at the plate.
* Ron Washington made a good call in the fifth, sending Craig Gentry up for Endy Chavez with the bases loaded and no outs. The pinch-hitter came through with a single up the middle to drive in two runs and give the Rangers a 6-3 lead. Washington had Nelson Cruz on the bench, but elected to go with Gentry against lefty Nick Hagadone. The result was a good one.
* Hamilton had a couple of doubles hit the warning track in left field. I only bring it up because we're so used to Hamilton running some of those balls down. But the wind slowly picked up during the game and it was blowing across toward left field, so that may have made it difficult on Hamilton.
* Ian Kinsler stole his 24th consecutive base in the first inning on Tuesday, but was picked off the bag moments later. Kinsler's streak, which started on April 24, is a club record. He has 25 stolen bases this season.
* Elvis Andrus added a two-run RBI double in the sixth to give the Rangers four runs in the inning and an 8-3 lead.
* Michael Gonzalez pitched two scoreless innings. He allowed the inherited runner to score on a wild pitch in the sixth, but settled down and got the next five batters he faced.
* Adrian Beltre's homer in the seventh came off rookie Zach Putnam, making his big league debut. Beltre was the first hitter he faced. The homer moved Beltre's hit streak to 17 games, which matches his career high. It's the longest current streak in the majors.