Thursday, September 22, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, A's 2
By Richard Durrett
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Late inning home runs by Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton allowed the Rangers to come back and win for the fourth straight time and eighth time in the last nine games. The magic number is now 3 with the Angels winning earlier in the night. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse shortly):
* With the magic number at 3, the earliest the Rangers can clinch the AL West is Friday at home vs. Seattle. The Tigers won, so the Rangers stay even with them in the standings for homefield advantage in the first round (Detroit has the tiebreaker).
* The Rangers used eighth-inning power to pull out the win. With the Rangers down 2-1, Ian Kinsler hit a solo homer to left to tie the score. Two batters later, Josh Hamilton hit a line drive down the right field line to give Texas a 3-2 lead. It was the 27th go-ahead RBI of the season for Hamilton, tied for seventh-most in the majors (Ryan Howard has 36).
* Hamilton's homer was his 20th game-winning RBI, the most in the American League. It was his 24th homer and 92nd RBI of the season.
* Kinsler now has 30 home runs for the second time in his career. He is four stolen bases away from a 30-30 season, which would be the second of his career (31-31 in 2009). He is the first 2B in the AL with 30 homers, 30 doubles, 100 runs and 80 walks in a season.
* C.J. Wilson ran into trouble in the fifth. Cliff Pennington hit a double down the right-field line that was barely fair with one out. Then, with two outs, the A's got a single from Brandon Allen and Wilson walked No. 9 hitter Michael Taylor. Jemile Weeks' single scored the go-ahead run at the time, making it 2-1.
* Wilson's pitch count got up in a hurry thanks in large part to full counts. Wilson faced 24 batters and went to a full count on seven of them. He went six innings and gave up two runs on five hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
* Wilson got his 200th strikeout in the first inning, becoming the first left-handed pitcher in club history to hit that mark. He was also the first since Nolan Ryan in 1991 to have at least 200 strikeouts in a season.
* Wilson tried to glove a ground ball up the middle with one on and one out in the second, but luckily missed it. Elvis Andrus was able to scoop it, step on second and throw to first. It was the 31st double-play Wilson has induced this season, a club record.
* Texas scored in the second thanks to consecutive singles by Michael Young and Adrian Beltre. With runners at the corners, Mike Napoli hit into a double-play. But that did score the run.
* The Rangers got a 'strike-em-out, throw-em-out' double play in the fourth as Coco Crisp struck out and Weeks was caught in a rundown between first and second. Andrus had to run a long way, but tagged him out. After making the play, Wilson showed off the antlers and pointed at Andrus.
* Kinsler's stolen base in the sixth was his 25th in a row. He has 26 on the season. The last time he was caught: April 15. The 25 straight stolen bases is a club record (he had the previous mark).
* The late lead allowed manager Ron Washington to utilize Mike Adams in the eighth and Neftali Feliz in the ninth to close it down. But don't forget about the job Koji Uehara did in the seventh, getting the A's in order.