Friday, June 29, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Athletics 3
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to four games with a four-run rally in the eighth inning for a 4-3 victory Friday night. The Rangers trailed 2-0 until the eighth when they exploded with a three-run triple by Craig Gentry.
Matt Harrison pitched well Friday night, but his teammates didn't provide him with any run support until late. The Rangers had chances, loading the bases in the second and eighth and getting runners on first and second in the seventh.
Harrison pitches well: Left-handed starter Harrison earned his 11th win of the season. It ties him with David Price of Tampa Bay for the AL lead in wins. Harrison has won a season-high seven consecutive games and dominated a team that ranked last in the majors in hitting (.224) and last in the AL in runs (292) coming into the game. Harrison's only trouble spots came in the fourth and fifth innings. He gave up a leadoff triple to Jemile Weeks and Yoenis Cespedes singled him home. Harrison finished the inning, getting Jonny Gomes to fly out to right and inducing a double play from Brandon Inge. In the fifth, Coco Crisp drove in Chris Carter with a two-out single to left to make the score 2-0. Harrison, who threw 121 pitches, had little trouble afterward. A leadoff single by Derek Norris was followed by three outs in the seventh, and a two-out hit by Cespedes was followed by Gomes flying out to center to end the eighth. For the night, Harrison allowed two runs on eight hits and he struck out seven. He walked one.
Loading the bases finally works: The Rangers loaded the bases in the second inning but Mike Napoli struck out and Leonys Martin retired to first to end the inning. But in the eighth inning, patience worked for the Rangers. With one out, Elvis Andrus singled and stole second. Josh Hamilton walked and after an Adrian Beltre flyout, reliever Grant Balfour walked Michael Young and Nelson Cruz. Gentry, who pinch hit for David Murphy in the seventh, tripled over the head of left fielder Cespedas to drive in three runs and give the Rangers the lead.
Napoli with rough night: Napoli, the Rangers catcher, came into the game hitting .304 the last six games. But Friday night, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The two strikeouts came with runners on base. When Napoli's night was done, he stranded five baserunners. In the second inning, with the bases loaded, A's starter A.J. Griffin struck Napoli out looking at a curveball. In the seventh, Napoli came up again, this time against reliever Jerry Blevins and he struck out again, swinging on a sinker.
News, news, news: The Rangers made some news prior to the game. Reliever Mark Lowe was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal muscle. Yoshinori Tateyama was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to replace him. ... Martin Perez will get the start Saturday night. Manager Ron Washington said he's on a start-by-start basis. ... Yu Darvish said he's not sure if he's deserving of an All Star bid. He was probably being modest. He's got 10 wins and could tie Price and Harrison for the AL lead with a victory Sunday. ... Rangers also announced Matt Hicks will temporary replace Dave Barnett in the broadcast booth. Hicks will do radio play-by-play with Eric Nadel.
Notes: Andrus stole his 16th base of the season in the eighth inning. ... The announced crowd of 46,013 marked the 23rd sellout of the season. ... Oakland is now 2-3 on this seven-game road trip. ... The Rangers are 9-8 in one-run games. The A's are 8-12 in one-run games. ... Tanner Scheppers earned his first big league save. Joe Nathan had pitched for three consecutive days and was given the night off.