Friday, April 13, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Twins 1
By Bryan Dolgin
The Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-1, behind solid pitching from Matt Harrison, as well as great fielding. The game began the Rangers' three-city, nine-game road trip and was the first of three in Minnesota.
The Rangers erased a 1-0 deficit with a three-run fourth inning, highlighted by back-to-back RBI singles from Adrian Beltre and Michael Young. Young’s single tied him with Juan Gonzalez for most total bases in franchise history with 3,073. He moved up to sole possession as the total base leader with a base hit in the sixth inning.
Slow start, strong new beginning: Elvis Andrus entered this game with the slowest start of his career at 3-for-24, but he doubled in his first at-bat as he hit it the opposite way to right field off RHP Anthony Swarzak. Andrus added singles in the fourth and fifth innings.
Sweet D: The Rangers had a stellar display of fielding in the first two innings. Harrison fielded his position well, leaping to grab the ball and then threw out Denard Span at first base. Nelson Cruz dove and caught a Jamey Carroll fly ball. Ian Kinsler backhanded and threw off-balance to first base in order to retire Joe Mauer. David Murphy made a great diving catch to rob Danny Valencia of a hit, but turned it into a sac fly.
Not in the box score: Murphy was able to track down a Trevor Plouffe double in the second inning that kept Ryan Doumit from scoring. The score stayed at 1-0 in favor of the Twins at the end of the second.
Walk of life: Harrison walked Josh Willingham with one out in the second. That walk snapped a stretch of 27.1 innings without a free pass for the Rangers' pitching staff. It was the Rangers' longest stretch without a walk allowed since 27 innings July 21-24, 2010.
The right stuff: Each of the five Rangers' starting pitchers has a win. Entering this game, no other Major League team could claim that. Harrison added his second by primarily inducing ground ball outs (15). He retired Mauer in two key situations: to end the fifth with two on by striking him out swinging and to get the first two outs in the eighth with a 4-6-3 double play. Harrison pitched eight innings, allowing seven hits and one run with two walks and four strikeouts.
Leaderboard: Kinsler enhanced the Rangers lead to 4-1 when he led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a home run. It’s his fourth of the season, and he has driven in seven. He entered this game leading the majors in total bases and tied for first in runs scored and extra-base hits.
Closing time: Joe Nathan did not pitch Thursday in Arlington after working back-to-back games. However, Alexi Ogando pitched the ninth inning. He hit a batter and gave up a single before closing out the game.