Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 13, Tigers 9
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was a wacky game of sorts, but the Texas Rangers managed to get the 13-9 win Wednesday. The offense helped make a winner of Roy Oswalt, who didn't have his best stuff, and David Murphy went 4-for-5, including two homers, with five RBIs. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers stay 4 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels, who beat the Orioles 13-1. Texas also win its sixth consecutive series, tying its season-best mark to start the season (six straight series wins in April).
Murphy's moments: Murphy hit two home runs off Detroit Tigers starter Doug Fister. It was his fourth career multi-HR game. He bashed an 0-2 fastball over the wall in right for his third three-run homer of the season in the second inning. ... In the fourth inning, Murphy hit the first pitch he saw into the Rangers' bullpen in right to make it 5-0. Murphy is now 8-for-18 with four homers and eight RBIs in his career against Fister. ... He has nine homers so far this season, two fewer than he had all of last year. ... He got his fifth RBI of the night when he singled off left-handed pitcher Duane Below. It was Murphy's first RBI off a lefty this season.
Costly error: Spotty Tigers defense allowed the Rangers to score first. Miguel Cabrera charged a Nelson Cruz chopper and tried to throw off-balance to first. The throw went into the camera well, scoring Adrian Beltre (who led off the inning with a single). It was Cabrera's eighth error of the season, second most among third baseman in the AL (Brett Lawrie leads with 10). It's worth nothing that Cabrera leads third baseman in fielding percentage.
Nice throw: Rookie center fielder Leonys Martin showed off his arm in the first inning, catching a fly ball and throwing it back to first to get Quintin Berry for a double play. Martin's throw was accurate and on a line. Berry, though, managed to run past second base on the fly out. Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus appeared to fake like it was a ground ball, but it's unclear if Berry saw them. Still, it was a nice throw from Martin, who was making his fifth start in CF this season. ... Martin also had a double in the second, hitting a ball over center fielder Austin Jackson's head.
Oswalt allows 13 hits: Oswalt allowed 13 hits and five runs in six innings on Wednesday, but he got the win. The 13 hits were a career high for him. He didn't have the same command as he did in his first start and his curveball wasn't quite as effective, either. But Oswalt did what the Rangers expected from him when he signed: He got through six innings and his team had the lead.
Holding meat of order in check: Despite the high hit total, Oswalt held the two most dangerous Tigers -- Cabrera and Prince Fielder -- to 1-for-7 with two double plays.
Two straight HRs: Kinsler now has a homer in two straight games. And his homer in the fourth was to straightaway center, a spot Kinsler doesn't normally hit them. Kinsler was in a 2-for-21 slump before the past two nights.
Solid rundown: Beltre put on a rundown clinic in the fifth. With Berry breaking at third as a bouncer was hit toward Beltre, the third baseman charged the ball and immediately came home. He sprinted back to the line to receive the throw from catcher Mike Napoli and then chased Berry, faking a throw home to get him to stop and tag him. Beltre did it quickly enough that Fielder, who hit the ball, couldn't get to second base.
Big league debut: Rangers lefty Martin Perez made his major league debut in the seventh inning. He allowed four runs, though only one was earned, on two hits, but also got his first strikeout, getting Berry to swing on a 94 mph fastball. Perez and Justin Grimm are the two leading candidates to start on Saturday.
Aggressive baserunning: Kinsler helped the Rangers score an insurance run with aggressive play. After hitting a popup double that second baseman Ryan Rayburn misjudged, Kinsler scored from second on an RBI bunt by Andrus. Kinsler saw that it was a tough play for Cabrera and as soon as the throw was made a little wide of first, Kinsler sprinted home and slid in ahead of the throw.
Tidbits: The Rangers announced a crowd of 43,379. It's the 29th crowd of 40,000 or more in 38 home games. ... Michael Young appeared to tag Fielder on a run down in the seventh, though it wasn't a well executed rundown. The umpire didn't see it and Fielder was called safe. ... Earl Campbell (no not the real Tyler Rose) made an appearance in the Texas Legends race on Wednesday.
Up next: The Rangers play their first AL West opponent at home since May 17 when the Oakland A's come to town for a four-game series. RHP Scott Feldman (1-6, 6.00 ERA) faces RHP Tyson Ross (2-7, 6.02 ERA).