Texas Rangers: Ryan Sweeney
The Texas Rangers steamrolled the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, getting 18 runs on 21 hits and a quality start from Colby Lewis. The Rangers were behind 2-0 after the first inning, but immediately took the lead in the second with four runs and never looked back. Texas mashed six homers (two from Mike Napoli) and scored eight of their runs in the eighth inning alone. It was an impressive game all the way around for the Rangers. It's the club's fifth consecutive win and eighth in its last nine games. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers set new season-highs for runs (18), hits (21), home runs (6) and runs in an inning. They had eight runs in the eighth thanks to three home runs. The trio of Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz hit them. They just kept hitting. The inning took 32 minutes and the Red Sox threw 60 pitches. Texas had seven hits, including the three homers. Every Rangers starter in the game had at least one hit and the 18 runs are the most in franchise history at Fenway Park.
|Rangers manager Ron Washington talks about the Rangers' series-opening 18-3 win over the Red Sox.
Still on a roll: Hamilton's first-inning single means he's hit safely in 10 of the 11 games the Rangers have played this season. Hamilton also had a first-pitch hit. He's now 6-for-10 when he swings at the first pitch this season (and he's swinging at the first pitch more than anyone in MLB).
Five RBIs: Hamilton tied a career-high with five RBIs. That included a monster home run to right field that was absolutely crushed. ESPN Stats and Information puts it at 469 feet, the second-longest homer in MLB this season. Travis Hafner hit one 481 feet Sunday against the Royals. In his last three games, Hamilton is 8-for-14 with two doubles and three homers.
Great throw: Hamilton made things happen in the field, too. Playing in left, Hamilton snagged a ball off the left-field wall and fired it to second to get Jason Repko and end the fourth inning. Hamilton has had a sensational first 11 games.
Playing the wall: Craig Gentry did a nice job of playing Ryan Sweeney's double off the wall in center. Gentry was able to catch it right away after it hit the top of the wall (the ball never touched the ground) and immediately got it back in. That kept Adrian Gonzalez at third. Lewis then got a soft ground ball out down the first-base line to end the inning and limit the damage.
Lovin' Fenway: Cruz, who came into Tuesday's game batting just .211, also came into the game hitting .385 (37-for-96) agianst Boston. He hit a one-out double in the second to the deepest part of Fenway (it probably went 410 feet and wasn't a homer) and scored on Napoli's two-run shot. He later had a home run and ended up 3-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
Two-strike hit: Napoli came into Tuesday's game 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts on two-strike counts. But he crushed an 0-2 inside slider thrown by Jon Lester in the second inning. The ball went over the seats on top of the Green Monster in left. Napoli made the swing and then didn't even look at the ball as he trotted around the bases. He knew it was gone. The homer tied the score. Napoli's homer on Sunday in Minnesota may have gotten him going. He had two Tuesday -- both two-run shots. Napoli's second homer in the ninth curled around the foul pole in left. It looked like Bubba Watson's hook shot on the second playoff hole at the Masters earlier this month.
Speed helps: With the bases loaded in the second, Elvis Andrus didn't hit the ball very far. But with his speed, it was far enough. His dribbler between the mound and third-base line was enough to score the go-ahead run and allow him to get to first base without a throw.
Strange play: Left fielder Cody Ross had a fly ball from Hamilton go off his glove in the second. He was camped under it, but maybe looked up too soon to see where he was going to throw the ball. Instead, Gentry scored and Ross threw to third for a forceout of Ian Kinsler.
Long at-bat: Beltre's second-inning at-bat was 12 pitches long and ended up as an infield single. In fact, if not for a terrific diving grab by Pedroia, Beltre would have had an RBI. Still, he helped drive up Lester's pitch count.
49 pitches...in one inning: Lester threw 49 pitches in the second inning alone. The Rangers had five hits and two walks in the inning, scoring four runs.
Walk in the park: The Rangers came into Tuesday's game last in the AL in walks with 18. But they walked seven times Tuesday.
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Mike Napoli
1B Mitch Moreland
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Endy Chavez
SP Colby Lewis
2B Jemile Weeks
3B Scott Sizemore
DH Hideki Matsui
LF Josh Willingham
RF David DeJesus
1B Brandon Allen
CF Ryan Sweeney
C Landon Powell
SS Eric Sogard
SP Trevor Cahill
* Despite not having his best stuff early in the game -- seven runs allowed in the first four innings -- RHP Scott Feldman managed to grind out seven innings on 111 pitches. It was a gutsy effort. His sinker got better, helping him settle down. He got the final 12 batters he faced, most of them on fly balls. It was important that he saved some of the bullpen by eating up innings. That's especially big with the quick turnaround to a day game Wednesday.
* Feldman had a rough first, second and fourth inning. In the first, he gave up a ground ball single on an 0-2 pitch to Daric Barton and then surrendered a homer to Ryan Sweeney. It was Sweeney's first homer in 51 games. Kevin Kouzmanoff also had a hard hit on Feldman, who did get out of the inning after allowing two runs.
In the second, Sweeney struck again with two more RBIs. It happened after Feldman loaded the bases. Eric Patterson doubled and was picked off on a fielder's choice hit by Landon Powell. But the Rangers weren't able to take advantage of the break. With two outs, Barton walked to load the bases. Sweeney then hit a ground ball single behind second base that Elvis Andrus just couldn't quite get to. Kouzmanoff added another run on a single. Feldman had thrown 49 pitches through two innings and was behind 5-0. Feldman surrendered a leadoff walk in the fourth and then three straight hits to give Oakland a 7-4 lead. That's when he calmed down and got through seven without allowing anything else.
* The five RBIs for Sweeney were a career high and a high for an A's player this season. He previously had four RBIs on Sept. 14, 2009, against the Rangers. The guy loves playing Texas, apparently.
* DH Vladimir Guerrero hit the first pitch thrown to him in the third inning out to left field for a grand slam. It was Guerrero's sixth career grand slam and his first since May 1, 2007, when he took Kansas City's Zack Greinke deep. Five of Guerrero's grand slams have come since 2005. It was also Guerrero's 410th homer, moves him past Jason Giambi into 43rd place all-time.
* Guerrero added a single with two outs in the fifth to score Andrus for his fifth RBI of the night.
* Josh Hamilton drew a four-pitch walk before Guerrero's home run to load the bases. The Rangers drew three walks in the inning, in fact. Guerrero's homer scored Julio Borbon (on via fielder's choice), Andrus (walk) and Hamilton (walk) in front of Guerrero.
* Michael Young's single in the first (on a 1-2 pitch) was hit No. 1,692. That ties him with Rafael Palmeiro for second place on the club's all-time list. Pudge Rodriguez is first with 1,747.
* 2B Ian Kinsler was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. It was his first hitless game since his return. Ron Washington is contemplating giving him the day off.
* Good piece of hitting by Hamilton in the seventh. With one out and a runner at third, he went the other way to left field (through the hole between short and third) and scored the runner. Earlier in the game, he drew a four-pitch walk, leading to Guerrero's grand slam.
* Andrus did his usual stuff in the leadoff spot. He had his team-leading 18th walk and had two bunt singles. His speed is a real asset. He also stole a base in the fifth and seventh innings. He has 10 on the season. He stole third in the seventh and helped the Rangers manufacture a run when Hamilton's single scored him.
* C Matt Treanor got a hit in the ninth to give the Rangers an opportunity to tie it. Craig Gentry was the pinch runner and he stole second, but was later stranded. The Rangers had the tying run at second with no outs and couldn't score him.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.