Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Oakland 2
By Richard Durrett
OAKLAND, Calif -- Derek Holland got the job done despite not having his best command and the Rangers offense scored early and often against Rich Harden, ending up with a 7-2 win. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse shortly):
* The Angels won 10-6 over Toronto just as the Rangers game started, meaning the Rangers dropped the magic number by one to 4 (the lead in the AL West stays at 5). It also means they can't clinch on Oakland's field. They could, however, clinch while on a plane back to Texas on Thursday depending on what happens the next few days (Angels play after the Rangers on Thursday). It seems like Friday or Saturday in front of the home fans is more likely.
* Also, the Tigers fell to the Royals and former Ranger Luis Mendoza, meaning the two teams are tied in the standings. Detroit has the tiebreaker thanks to winning the season series, so the Rangers would have to win that outright. The team with the better record would host the Wild Card team, which if things ended now would be Boston. The loser would have to travel to New York to open up at Yankee Stadium.
* Once again, Holland benefited from tremendous run support. He was up 3-0 before he threw a pitch and the Rangers ended up scoring 6 for him.
* Holland didn't have great command and the fact that he could get through his innings shows his maturity (not to mention an A's lineup that has struggled). Still, Holland's curve ball found the strike zone, allowing him to hang in despite not having his best fastball. He was able, though, to two-hit the A's through 7 innings and allowed one run on a solo shot to left by Michael Taylor.
* That was Holland's fifth straight quality start. Holland is now 9-1 since July 7 and has a 2.63 ERA in that span.
* The Rangers jumped out in front 3-0 thanks to some two-out hits and some missed chances by the A's and starter Rich Harden to get out of the inning. Josh Hamilton worked an 0-2 count to 3-2 and then singled to right. Michael Young got a hit to left that bounced just in front of Hideki Matsui, who did not get a good read on the ball. That allowed Adrian Beltre to hit and he belted a long home run well up the wall in center. It was a very long blast and caused plenty of players and fans to shake their heads.
* ESPN Stats & Information through HR Tracker (thanks Will Cohen) said the homer traveled 426 feet, the fifth-longest home run in Oakland this season. Too bad they can't measure through the wall.
* Beltre has 8 homers in last 9 games. The last Ranger to do that was Rafael Palmeiro, Aug. 18-27, 1999.
* Nelson Cruz was at DH again on Tuesday as manager Ron Washington wants him to get his timing down and a get a few more days of not putting too much stress on the hamstring before putting him in the field. He got a double off the wall in right to lead off the second (he batted eighth) and ended up going to third with one out on a ground ball. He scored standing up on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
* Michael Young's 200th hit of the season came in the second inning, driving in Josh Hamilton. It was Young's 103rd RBI, a team lead. More on Young's milestone here. Young singled home another run in the 8th, giving him a career-high 104 RBIs on the season. He was 3-for-4, keeping him in the running for yet another batting title.
* Mike Napoli's single in the third drove in Young for his 68th RBI of the season. That ties his career-high (set last year). Napoli has a seven-game hitting streak and is hitting 14-for-25 (.560). He's also hit safely in 11 of his last 12 and is 22-for-41 (.536) with four homers and 10 RBIs.
* Rich Harden just doesn't like facing his former team. He gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits in just three innings. In three starts this season, Harden is now 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA (15 earned runs in 12 innings pitched on 20 hits).
* Elvis Andrus extended his hitting streak to 13 with a single in the eighth. He is 19-for-55 (.345) with a homer and 9 RBIs during the streak.
* Mark Lowe pitched a perfect eighth.
* Michael Kirkman gave up a solo homer to Coco Crisp on a 2-0 pitch to start the ninth. But he got through the inning.