Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 11, Angels 10 (10)
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers made a furious rally, coming back from a six-run deficit after 2 1/2 innings and a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the 10th inning. Elvis Andrus was the final hero, getting a one-out, two-run double just inside the third-base bag to give the Rangers an improbable 11-10 win. It was the club's larget comeback since Aug. 13, 2010 vs. Boston.
What it means: The Rangers push the lead in the AL West back to four games over the Angels and 4.5 games over the Oakland A's. ... They will attempt to split the series with a win Thursday.
Walkoff win: Andrus' double was the winning hit, touching off a crazy celebration near the mound as the players mobbed him before he could get to second. ... Nelson Cruz began the inning with a solo homer to left-center that went over the visiting bullpen. An error by shortstop Andrew Romine put Michael Young at first and he moved to second when David Murphy had a tremendous 11-pitch walk (after he was behind 0-2). Hits by Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland got the Rangers closer and Andrus finished it off.
10th-inning homers: Chris Iannetta, the No. 8 hitter in the Angels' lineup, hit a 387-foot home run to left field off Joe Nathan to break a tie game and give the Angels the lead. ... Albert Pujols then hit a two-out, two-run homer to give Los Angeles more of a cushion, but they couldn't hold it.
Five homers in series: Pujols hit two homers in the same game for the second straight night for the Angels and has five in the series. ... He now has 1,400 career RBIs. It was his 44th multi-homer game (third-most among active players). ... His 10th-inning blast came after there was a delay while a fan in the outfield waving a Texas flag (and appeared to have some sort of light on his cell phone) was removed.
Tied in the ninth: After falling behind 6-0, the Rangers came all the way back. Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run off closer Ernesto Frieri over the left-field wall, getting the crowd on its feet and tying the score. It was Kinsler's third hit of the game and second extra-base hit. He had two RBIs.
Terrific throw: Cruz kept the game at 7-6 in the top of the ninth with a strong throw from right field on a single by Maicer Izturis. Kendrys Morales was waved home and Cruz's throw was a little wide, but on a rope. Napoli gloved and then dove back toward the plate and made the tag.
Murphy marvelous: Murphy had a terrific game at the plate. He was 3-for-3, including a double, and had two walks. His second walk came in the 10th with a runner on and no outs and took 11 pitches. He was behind 0-2 and managed to draw the walk to keep the rally going.
Day and night: Darvish went from a pitcher who appeared to have solid command to one who couldn't find the strike zone consistently and fell behind batters. He retired the first seven batters he faced, including striking out the side, but two walks with one out in the third allowed things to slip and by the time he was finished, he'd given up six runs on two hits.
Troubling third: Darvish walked the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters (Iannetta and Romine) to put two on with one out in the third inning. Then some poor fielding helped extend the inning. Mike Trout's grounder back to the mound turned into a fielder's choice instead of at least one out when Darvish threw the ball to second base before Andrus could get there to cover the bag. That loaded the bases. Torii Hunter's ground ball to short gave the Rangers a second chance to turn a double play and end the inning, but Kinsler's errant throw to first helped the Angels score an additional run on the play to go 2-0. Darvish then gave up a two-run homer to Pujols, walked two more batters and watched as Alberto Callaspo's double plated two more. Darvish threw 40 pitches in the inning as the Angels built the lead.
Trout's speed: The feet of the rookie was on display all night. It started as he sprinted down to first base on a bouncer back to the mound in the third. Darvish was likely very aware of Trout's speed and rushed a throw to second base to try to start a double play. ... With the bases loaded after that, Hunter hit a ground ball and Trout raced to second, sliding in hard and helping make Kinsler's throw to first more difficult. ... He then scored from first on a two-out double by Hunter in the fourth to score the Angels' seventh run.
Walk in the park: Darvish tied his season-high with six walks. He's now done that three times in 2012. And the walks were particularly costly Wednesday. Five of the six walks resulted in runs, including four in the third. Three of the walks came with two outs and all three of those scored.
First-pitch strikes matter: Darvish began the game throwing first-pitch strikes to six of the first eight hitters he faced and retired five of them. But when things turned ugly in the third, Darvish wasn't getting his first pitch over for a strike. Seven consecutive batters started off with a ball. That span included three walks, a homer, a double and two fielder's choices. ... When Darvish threw a first-pitch strike Wednesday: 11 outs, 2 walks, 1 single. When not throwing first-pitch strike: 5 outs, 4 walks, 2 doubles, 1 HR.
Four in fifth: The Rangers' offense finally woke up in the fifth. Three straight hits -- Young and Murphy singled and Napoli doubled -- got things started for the bottom part of the lineup and then the top-2 contributed as Kinsler's double scored a run as did Andrus' single. The four runs was the club's most in one inning since the first inning last Friday against the White Sox.
Caught stealing: Kinsler tried to steal second base with the Rangers down two runs in the seventh and was thrown out thanks to a perfect throw from catcher Iannetta. Kinsler got a good jump, it was just a rope to second in the right spot that got him. But it took a baserunner away for Texas late in the game.
Bottom's up: The bottom of the Rangers' lineup helped produce most of the club's runs. The Nos. 6-9 hitters (Young, Murphy, Napoli, Moreland) were 9-for-16 with three walks, six runs scored, a stolen base and five RBIs.
Nos. 3-5 struggle: But Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Cruz couldn't get a hit in Hamilton's return to the 3-hole. As a group, they were 1-for-14 with a walk. The only hit was a monster shot by Cruz in the 10th that went over the visitor's bullpen, just a few bounces from the Captain Morgan Club.
Tidbits: Alexi Ogando pitched the sixth inning and had three strikeouts and gave up a double. ... Robbie Ross, wearing his new number (28), pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up two walks and had three strikeouts. ... Tanner Scheppers gave up three hits, but no runs with two strikeouts, including getting Mark Trumbo on a 99-mph fastball. ... Rangers pitchers struck out 16 batters Wednesday.
Up next: RHP Ryan Dempster makes his Rangers debut. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA with the Cubs this season. Former Ranger C.J. Wilson pitches for the Angels (9-7, 2.88 ERA).