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Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Tigers 5

By Clint Foster



ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers evened their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers with a 7-5 win Tuesday night. The Rangers came back from a 3-1 deficit to force a rubber match with the Tigers and give Yu Darvish his 10th win (the most by any American League rookie). Some thoughts on the game:

What it means: With the win, the Rangers even their current series with the Tigers and improve to 4-2 against Detroit this season. The Rangers also retain a 4 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, which is the largest lead of any major league division leader.

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Don't Yu worry: Darvish struggled to find the strike zone early against the Tigers, walking Austin Jackson to lead off the first inning and hitting Miguel Cabrera in the head with a 92 mph fastball. That opened the door for a two-RBI double off the bat of Prince Fielder. Darvish was tied for the league lead in walks going into Tuesday's game with 49. But he rebounded and found the strike zone in the second inning, throwing first-pitch strikes to each batter. He didn't struggle much from then on, pitching seven innings, and allowing four hits, four earned runs and one walk.

Easy as 1-2-3: Darvish had back-to-back 1-2-3 innings twice, in the second and third, and in the sixth and seventh. He also had 10 strikeouts (one short of his career high). He has struck out 10 or more four times this year, which is the most in the AL and tied with R.A. Dickey for the most in the majors.

Make way for Prince: Prince Fielder gave the Rangers fits, fueling the Detroit offense essentially on his own. He was the only Tiger to have a hit through the first four innings, supplying a two-run double in the first and a solo home run in the fourth. Fielder finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.

Leadoff HR: Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff home run in the Rangers' half of the first to cut the deficit to 2-1. Kinsler had not hit a home run since June 8 against the San Francisco Giants (15 games). It was Kinsler's third leadoff homer this season and the 23rd of his career, which is a club record. Kinsler finished 2-for-4 with two strikeouts.

4-ever Young: Michael Young started a scoring run in the fourth inning when he hit a triple to drive in Adrian Beltre. Nelson Cruz added an RBI single to bring Young home, and Yorvit Torrealba and Brandon Snyder followed with RBI singles to put the Rangers up 5-3. The four-run fourth ended on an 8-2-6 putout at second when Snyder tried to take the extra base on his single. Going into Tuesday's game, Young was hitting .167 (7-for-42) with runners in scoring position over the previous 40 games, despite starting the year 15-for-38 (.395) with RISP. Young finished 2-for-4 with one strikeout.

Home run Hamilton: Josh Hamilton hit a home run for the second straight night, blasting a 422-foot solo shot in the seventh. Hamilton has struggled lately, by his standards. Going into Tuesday's game, he had a .197 average for June. But he still has 24 home runs on the season (tied for most in MLB) and 67 RBIs (eight more than any other major leaguer). Hamilton is just the eighth Ranger to have 23 home runs and 66 RBIs before the All-Star break. Hamilton finished 1-for-4 with one strikeout.

Flirting with danger: Mike Adams found himself in a jam in the eighth after allowing a leadoff single and a walk. With runners on first and second and no outs, Cabrera had a chance to tie the game at 7. It looked like Cabrera had done just that when he sent Hamilton to the warning track in center field, but Hamilton came up with the out against the wall. Fielder then had an RBI groundout. Adams was able to escape the inning with minimal damage when David Murphy caught the final out of the inning on Delmon Young's drive to the warning track in left field to keep the score at 7-5.

Gentry back: Craig Gentry saw action in center field in the ninth inning. He had rolled his ankle in consecutive games against the Colorado Rockies. He caught a flyout to help close out the game.

If you can't stand the heat: The temperature at first pitch for Tuesday's game was 103 degrees. Temperatures are expected to stay in triple digits for the next two days.

Up next: The Rangers get one more shot at the Tigers in a rubber match Wednesday. RHP Roy Oswalt will make his second start for the Rangers against RHP Doug Fister at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW/ESPN.