Saturday, April 14, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, Twins 2
By Bryan Dolgin
The Texas Rangers won their third straight Saturday afternoon, beating the Minnesota Twins 6-2. The Rangers have won all three series they have played this season.
Yu Darvish made his second start and he managed just one 1-2-3 inning in his 5 2/3 innings. Darvish worked out of a bases-loaded jam twice, and he left the game with the bases loaded. Robbie Ross relieved Darvish, and he induced an inning-ending foul pop out hit by Justin Morneau. That kept the score tied, 2-2, and Darvish did not factor into the decision.
The Rangers gave Darvish a lead in the second when Nelson Cruz led off with a double. David Murphy moved Cruz to third with a ground out, and Mike Napoli drove him home with a sacrifice fly.
The Rangers rebounded in the top of the third. Josh Hamilton hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot deep to right field with one out that put the Rangers up 2-1. The Rangers produced those two runs and seven hits against Twins starter Nick Blackburn, who left after 5 1/3 innings due to shoulder stiffness.
Texas scored a pair in the top of the seventh thanks to consecutive RBI singles from Adrian Beltre and Michael Young that put the Rangers ahead 4-2.
Hitting machine: Hamilton began the game as the American League's co-leader with 11 hits. He has now hit safely in eight of nine games to begin the season. He reached on a two-out double in the first and hit a solo home run in the third. Last year, Hamilton had just one home run in 123 daytime at-bats. He has one in the daytime this season. Hamilton was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. His hustle in the seventh prolonged the seventh inning, in which the Rangers later plated two.
RISPy business: With runners in scoring position, Michael Young was 1-for-4 on Saturday and drove in the fourth run. He is 7-for-14 on the season with runners in scoring position. On the opposite end, Darvish got out of bases-loaded jams in the second and fifth innings.
Cruz Control?: Cruz ended a 0-for-15 stretch with a double in the second. For the game, he was 3-for-5 with a single and two doubles.
In the field: Young played third base today, and Adrian Beltre was the designated hitter. In the second, Young dropped a line drive hit by Alexi Casilla that resulted in the Twins' first run. The error was just the second of the season for the Rangers' infield. Ian Kinsler made a diving play to his left to rob Joe Mauer of an RBI single in the eighth.
Partial day: As the DH, Beltre went 3-for-4 with a single, two doubles and two RBI. He started the first eight games at third base.
Covering the plate: As advertised, Darvish fields his position well. Most notably, he covered home when a pitch got away from catcher Mike Napoli. Darvish covered the plate, received the throw from Napoli and applied the tag to retire Ryan Doumit, who came diving head-first toward home plate.
Bench:Mitch Moreland has an abscessed tooth, and that kept him out of the starting lineup. Brandon Snyder made his first start for the Rangers, playing first base and batting ninth. Snyder singled his first three times up, and he added a couple of nice fielding plays. This was the first three-hit game of his major league career.
Closing time: The Rangers were not in a save situation in the top of the ninth, but former Twins closer Joe Nathan finished the game. He was pitching after two days of rest.