We love baseball for all its insanity and unpredictability, the crazed-staring Rumplestiltskin that dares us to predict anything, then revels in finding new and frustrating ways to foil our hopes and dreams. But if the universe was only unpredictable chaos, there could be no covalent bonds holding together the carbon and the carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen that make up most of the human brain. No neurons, no memories, no planet, no universe. Chaos requires order, otherwise, there is no way to appreciate when something goes hilariously haywire.
So for every 9-2 lead-turned-supernova, baseball must behave once in awhile. Occasionally, it goes above and beyond, dressing up in formal wear and holds court with a charming smile, dazzling the entire party with stories of travels abroad, speaking eloquently on current affairs, and pouring an exquisite cup of tea.
Tonight was one such night. Tyson Ross, making his third start back after missing nearly a season and a half with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, was masterful, mixing his pitches well and inducing beautifully messy swings with his slider. He did allow the leadoff batters to reach in each of the first three innings–the second of which scored when Jose Ramirez stole second and scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall single–but didn’t allow a single baserunner after Yan Gomes’ third-inning walk, retiring the final 12 batters he faced.
Meanwhile, Mike Clevinger was composing a ballet of his own, his wild hair swaying side-to-side, Arabesque-ing and Brisé Volé-ing through six innings, two hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts. He, too, allowed just one run: a Robinson Chirinos solo home run in the fifth; it was Chirinos' 11th home run of the year.
In the top of the seventh, with both starters now having ground each other to a 1-1 draw, it was time for a bullpen dance-off. Brian Shaw pitched a 1-2-3 seventh with two strikeouts, so Jose Leclerc matched it.
In the top of the eighth, Andrew Miller allowed one baserunner (a Chirinos walk) then retired the rest. Jose Leclerc allowed one baserunner (he hit Carlos Santana in the foot with a pitch), then Keone Kela retired the rest.
In the top of the ninth, with Miller having thrown just 17 pitches, interim manager Brad Mills opted to go with Cody Allen. Allen got two quick outs, and then the orchestra swelled and the hero entered the stage and almost before the spotlight could find him, Adrian Beltre was taking a bow: his 450th career home run (his 2,969th career hit) soared high and far into the Cleveland sky and landed deep in the left field seats.
The Rangers led 2-1.
Then Matt Bush came out for an encore, both of tonight’s excitement and of his most recent outing: a save of a one-run game in New York. Tonight, Bush again allowed but a single to left field by the #3 hitter in the order, but did not allow a run. The last pitch of the night settled in Nomar Mazara’s glove in left field, and the Rangers had won a perfectly well-behaved and elegant baseball game.