Thursday, September 22, 2011
Ian Kinsler closes in on 30-30 club (again)
By Richard Durrett
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Ian Kinsler didn't think his long fly ball to left to start the eighth inning had a chance to go over the fence.
Kinsler hit a high ball that direction off Grant Balfour, but had seen fly balls from Josh Hamilton and Hideki Matsui hit hard that didn't go out.
But Kinsler watched as the ball just cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in left to tie the score. Two batters later, Josh Hamilton gave the Rangers the lead with a line-drive homer to right.
"He's got a good fastball, and that's his strength," Kinsler said of Balfour. "He's gotten me out a handful of times. I was able to get on top of one and get enough. I didn't think it was going out. The ball wasn't going anywhere tonight. I didn't think I had enough."
It was Kinsler's 30th home run of the season, one shy of his career-high set in 2009. That was also the last time he had at least 30 homers and 30 stolen bases. Kinsler stole a base on Wednesday, his 25th straight steal, and needs four more to match his feat of a few years ago.
Kinsler became the first second baseman in the American League with 30 homers, 30 doubles, 100 runs and 80 walks in a single season. Impressive.