Blogging from the Ballpark: 7/23

Blogging from the Ballpark: 7/23

Credit: AP

Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz catches a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels' Howard Kendrick during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 21, 2011, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)


by Josh Davis

Posted on July 23, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Updated Sunday, Jul 24 at 6:37 PM

ARLINGTON -- Welcome back to's live coverage of Texas Rangers home games this season! Tonight the Rangers will look to claim the series with the Toronto Blue Jays with a victory at 7:05 p.m. Until game time, read up on the injury to All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre in today's clubhouse notes or peruse today's lineup. Once the game begins, this blog will update after big or scoring plays to form an ongoing game narrative.

For more straight forward play-by-play, check out the Gameview. We'll be underway shortly in Arlington!

Blue Jays take 1st inning lead:

With one out in the first inning, Toronto right fielder Eric Thames doubled to right field off of Rangers' starter Matt Harrison. The 25-year-old righty recovered to strikeout Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays' dangerous designated hitter, but then allowed a second double to Adam Lind. The Toronto first baseman placed the ball just inside the right field line and Thames came around to score.

Harrison got his second strikeout to end the top of the first with the Rangers trailing, 1-0.

With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Texas center fielder Josh Hamilton and designated hitter Michael Young each singled to put runners at the corners. That brought up Nelson Cruz, now hitting in Adrian Beltre's usual fifth spot. Cruz hit into a force out at second to end the first, still down one.

Hamilton's triple ties it up:

After each team faced the minimum in the second, the Rangers escaped the top of the third with a double play.

In the bottom of the third, Toronto starter Carlos Villanueva gave up a double to Ian Kinsler with one out. After an Elvis Andrus groundout, Josh Hamilton placed a frozen-rope line drive to the right-center field gap. Hamilton sprinted into third for a triple, scoring Kinsler. Michael Young nearly added to the lead with a fast-dropping fly ball, but left fielder Travis Snider made a great diving catch to keep the game tied.

We were knotted up at one after the third.

Texas goes ahead on Davis single:

Matt Harrison struck out Bautista for a second time in the fourth on his way to another scoreless inning. He had thrown 53 pitches through four innings.

Rangers left fielder David Murphy singled and then stole second with one out in the bottom of the fourth. After a ground out, Texas again came up with two-out hits. Texas third baseman Chris Davis hit a bouncing single to right field, scoring Murphy to put the Rangers up by one.

Mitch Moreland got another single off of Villanueva in the frame, but he was stranded on a pop out. Villanueva had thrown 79 pitches and trailed 2-1 after the fourth.

Jays storm back in sixth:

Again in the fifth the Rangers came up with clutch hits. Josh Hamilton singled with one out, then stole second after a fly out put two away. Nelson Cruz hit a double hard to the left-center wall, which scored Hamilton and put the Rangers up by two.

Harrison got in trouble in the top of the sixth. Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia led off with a homer 381 feet to left field that came down just inside the foul pole. Then Yunel Escobar doubled to left and the Blue Jays had their third-consecutive extra base hit from Eric Thames, who tripled.

The Thames hit tied the game at three, then Jose Bautista had a go-ahead single to right field that scored Thames. Toronto led 4-3 before Adam Lind grounded into a double play to give Texas two outs. Harrison got a fly out to end the frame, but Toronto led by one.

Starters exit in sixth and seventh:

Carlos Villanueva left the game in the bottom of the sixth after 105 pitches, the last of which was a Mitch Moreland single. Moreland couldn't do anything with the hit as Octavio Dotel got a called strikeout after he entered in relief.

Harrison was able to strike out the first two hitters he faced in the seventh, his seventh and eighth K's of the game. He then gave up an infield single to Rajai Davis, which brought out manager Ron Washington to go to the bullpen. Yoshinori Tateyama came in to pitch. He caught Davis stealing to send the game to the seventh-inning stretch.

Villanueva's final line read 5.2 innings pitched, 10 hits, three runs (all earned), one strikeout and no walks. Harrison's read 6.2 innings pitched, eight hits, four runs (all earned), and eight strikeouts to no walks.

Rangers rally to win, 5-4:

The Blue Jays had a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh, which Tateyama matched (including two strikeouts) in the top of the eighth.

Nelson Cruz struck out in three pitches in the bottom frame before David Murphy hit a soft ground ball that the Blue Jays watched roll just fair for a single. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba followed with a line drive to right field that Eric Thames caught, then threw back to first base to make the out on Murphy, who had left for second. That double play ended the eighth.

In the ninth, Mark Lowe came in to pitch for the Rangers. He walked Jose Bautista, then struck out Adam Lind for the first out of the inning. After a fly out, Aaron Hill singled to put men on first and second with two outs and Lowe left the game in favor of Darren Oliver. Oliver got out of the inning with a fly out.

Marc Rzepczynski came in to pitch the final frame with Texas down one. The Rangers pinch hit Mike Napoli for Chris Davis to begin the inning. Napoli worked a full count after going behind 0-2, then walked. Mitch Moreland bunted and Rzepcynski struggled to field it before his throw to first pulled Lind off the bag. Moreland reached safely on the error, then Craig Gentry replaced him as a pinch runner. Texas had men on first and second, no outs and Jon Rauch came in to pitch for Toronto.

Ian Kinsler also bunted, but he was narrowly thrown out at first. It did however move both runners over. Elvis Andrus followed with a third sacrifice bunt, scoring Napoli from third before he was thrown out at first. That tied the game with one out remaining and Josh Hamilton at the plate.

The Blue Jays walked Hamilton, loading the bases for Michael Young. He hit a single to deep right that Corey Patterson misread in right field. The ball bounced off the warning track as the Rangers flooded onto the field in celebration. Your final score: Rangers 5, Blue Jays 4.

That's it for tonight's live coverage! Check back in later tonight or tomorrow morning for postgame reactions and join us again tomorrow as the Rangers finish their three-game series with the Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m.