Thursday, June 5, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Orioles 6
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers won the final game of the three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. A few thoughts:
How it happened: Texas blew a 5-0 lead, but scored three runs in the seventh inning -- thanks in large part to Orioles mistakes -- and held on for the 8-6 victory.
What it means: The Rangers avoid a sweep and also get back to .500 for the season at 30-30. The Oakland Athletics lost to the New York Yankees, so the Rangers are now seven games back. They also are 14-15 at home.
Quick start: The first four batters for the Rangers reached base on Thursday and two of them scored on Mitch Moreland's single to left field. Texas had a chance to make it an even bigger inning but couldn't do it after Alex Rios struck out and Chris Gimenez hit into a double play. Still, Colby Lewis was handed an early lead.
Other way: Moreland, hitting just .182 in his last eight games prior to Thursday, didn't try to do too much on a 2-2 pitch. He shortened his swing and hit it to the left side of the infield, beating the shift (the ball bounded past where the shortstop normally would have been) for the two-run single.
Choice cut: Michael Choice blasted a two-run homer in the second inning, hitting it into the Rangers’ bullpen. It was Choice's fourth homer of the season and 20th and 21st RBIs. He has reached base in seven of his last nine games in the midst of some overall struggles. He was batting just .202 coming into the game.
Poor play: Leonys Martin made a bad decision in the third inning, attempting to steal third base with two outs. Martin had just stolen second base with Choice at the plate. But he then tried to steal third and was thrown out easily to end the inning. You hear coaches and managers talk about it all the time: Don't get thrown out at third to end an inning. Martin did, eliminating a chance for Choice to drive him in.
Lewis lets lead slip: Given a 5-0 lead, Colby Lewis wasn't able to hold it. He gave up two runs in the third and three in the fifth to allow the Orioles to tie the score. Adam Jones had two RBIs on a double to center with two outs in the inning. Martin took an odd route to the ball, tried to dive and then couldn't come up with it. Chris Davis, the former Rangers first baseman, singled home Jones to tie the score. Lewis finished giving up five earned runs on seven hits in five innings.
Orioles mistakes help Rangers: Baltimore's J.J. Hardy had a rough night, committing a career-high three errors. He had two costly ones in the seventh. Rougned Odor got a hit, then went to second on Hardy's wide throw. He advanced to third on Shin-Soo Choo's grounder and scored when Hardy couldn't handle the bouncer to short off the bat of Elvis Andrus. Odor scored the go-ahead run. The Rangers added from there as Adrian Beltre, Rios and Gimenez hit three straight singles to score two more runs.
Scheppers back in eighth: So much for easing Tanner Scheppers into the bullpen. With the Rangers up 8-5, Scheppers came in to handle the eighth inning, a role he had last season. The 27-year-old, fresh off the disabled list, gave up a leadoff home run to Jones but ended up getting a double play to end the frame with Rangers lead 8-6.
Briefly: Robbie Ross pitched two scoreless innings in a tie game. It was his third straight inning of scoreless relief.
Everybody in the starting lineup but Choo had a hit.
Former Rangers OF Nelson Cruz struck out three times against Lewis.
Officially, there were 770 dogs in attendance on Bark at the Park night.
Up next: Yu Darvish takes a 5-2 mark and a 2.08 ERA to the mound Friday against the Cleveland Indians and right-hander Trevor Bauer (1-2, 3.63 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. CT on TXA21 and ESPN 103.3 FM.