Friday, July 5, 2013
Extra Bases: Lindblom is unexpected hero
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- No one is surprised that Adrian Beltre played the role of hero in the Texas Rangers' 5-4 comeback win over Seattle on Thursday.
But how about Josh Lindblom?
Lindblom, pitching out of the bullpen for the first time with the Rangers, saved the day in the top of the seventh, setting up the Rangers' four-run bottom of the inning as they overcame a 3-1 deficit.
With two runs already in on Raul Ibanez's two-run home run, Texas reliever Neal Cotts, who has been close to perfect this season, allowed a walk and a double to give the Mariners two more runners in scoring position.
Rangers manager Ron Washington went to Lindblom to try to get out of inning. Lindblom, who had made four spot starts this season, broke into the big leagues as a reliever with the Los Angeles Dodgers. So he's accustomed to the role.
He faced switch hitter Justin Smoak first, and after going with a heavy diet of changeups, went with a fastball inside to strike out the former Rangers first-round draft pick.
"That was a big strikeout right there," Washington said.
After an intentional walk to Endy Chavez, Lindblom retired Henry Blanco on a line drive to center field, keeping the Mariners' lead at 3-1.
The Rangers used the turn in momentum in the bottom of the seventh, sparked by Beltre's home run to lead off the inning. But the Rangers probably wouldn't have rallied without the relief work of Lindblom.
"That was huge to hold them right there," Beltre said.
Soria is ready: Right-hander Joakim Soria should join the Rangers' bullpen this weekend. He completed back-to-back outings with Double-A Frisco by throwing another scoreless eighth inning Thursday, needing only eight pitches. He needed 14 pitches to get six outs in his appearances on Wednesday and Thursday.
Nathan dominating: Closer Joe Nathan has saved 12 straight games and has a stretch of 9 1/3 scoreless innings after picking up save No. 28 on Thursday night.
Late heroics: The Rangers are 14-11 in games decided in the seventh inning or later. Six of the losses have come in extra innings.