Saturday, April 21, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Tigers 4
By Richard Durrett
DETROIT -- The Rangers wasted no time taking control of the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, collecting eight runs inthe first inning off Tigers starter Rick Porcello. That was plenty for Matt Harrison, who delivered a quality start in the 10-4 victory.
What it means: The Rangers take Game 1 of this doubleheader and still haven't lost on the road in 2012, going 7-0 so far on this trip. They are also guaranteed at least a split in this four-game series with Detroit.
Ferocious first: The Rangers had their second eight-run inning in the past three games. And they did it in the first inning of Saturday's game. Texas had seven hits along the way, including five singles, a homer and a double. A total of 12 batters came up against Porcello, who exited after three batters reached on hits in the second.
The last time the Rangers scored eight or more runs in the first inning was May 3, 2004 against Tampa Bay (eight runs). The last time they did it on the road? July 21, 1998 at Kansas City (nine runs).
From ESPN Stats & Information: The Rangers are first team to score eight or more runs in the first inning of a doubleheader since 1978 -- also by the Rangers.
Another quality start: Texas Rangers starters have 11 quality starts on the season through the first 14 games. Harrison was solid, giving up just three runs (two in the fourth and one charged to him in the eighth after he left) on five hits with six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. He threw 120 pitches, a season high for him. Harrison had 11 groundouts and six flyouts to go along with the strikeouts.
Saving the bullpen: Harrison's outing helped the Rangers save the bullpen. And with a game tonight and Sunday afternoon, that could be important. Not to mention the club will have a bullpen day Wednesday because of Friday's rainout. Good timing for Texas to have Harrison pitch well and deep. Only Koji Uehara was used out of the pen (for two innings).
Beltre hurt: There was some bad news for Texas in the midst of all of those runs. Third baseman Adrian Beltre left the game in the second with a strained left hamstring. That's the same hamstring he strained last season, missing five weeks. More on Beltre here.
Super sub: Alberto Gonzalez came in for Beltre and played well. He had a nice game defensively and was 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored. Gonzalez could see some more time in the infield with Beltre injured.
Hamilton hot -- day or night: Remember how day games used to bother Josh Hamilton? It hasn't impacted him at all in 2012. Hamilton smashed a 92-mph inside fastball from Porcello into the right-field seats at 389 feet to give Texas a 3-0 lead. Hamilton is batting .428 (9-for-21) with three homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored in the day this season.
Homer streak: Mike Napoli was 0-for-4 before his home run in the eighth inning. He now has a homer in five straight games (six total in that span). Kevin Mench holds the club record with seven. Napoli is the sixth Ranger to have homers in five straight games and the first since Hank Blalock in 2008. ...Texas has homered in nine consecutive games and did it right away on Saturday with Hamilton's long ball in the first.
Terrific at-bat: Before Hamilton's home run in the first, Ian Kinsler got an infield hit when his chopper went off Porcello's pitching hand. With Kinsler at first, Elvis Andrus had probably his best at-bat of the season. He fell behind 0-2 and then fouled two balls off and took four pitches outside the zone to draw a walk. After that, Hamilton blistered the ball.
Rangers get cycle before fourth out recorded: Beltre's leadoff double in the second gave the Rangers the cycle in the game. A handful of Rangers had singles in the first, but Hamilton had the homer, Kinsler the triple (which scored two runs in the first) and Beltre the double.
Homer happy: Uehara, who gave up 11 homers in 65 innings with Texas in 2011, has given up two in his last two outings. He's pitched 4 2/3 innings this season. Miguel Cabrera hit one off Uehara in the eighth.
Up next: The Rangers and Tigers play again tonight, with first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. CDT. RHP Neftali Feliz goes up against RHP Justin Verlander (TXA21, KSKY 660 AM).