Drama, it seems, is the storyline for the Rangers season thus far. After a thrilling Opening Day that ended in a Texas loss, Adrian Beltre delivered an equally climatic Opening Night ending with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Rangers their first win of 2014.
Beltre’s walk-off hit to right field brought home Shin-Soo Choo, who reached base four times in the game.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said that Beltre did what Beltre does best.
“You’ve got to give Beltre credit,” Washington said. “That’s not the first time he’s been in that situation, and many times he’s been in that situation he’s come through for us. Tonight was just a Beltre, that’s what he does. He get’s big hits for us all the time.”
Beltre said the excitement of a walk-off hit never gets old, but he attributes his success to feeling comfortable in the late innings.
“That’s what we’re here for. When you hit in the middle of the lineup, that’s what you get paid for. In those situations I feel comfortable because I know I can do it. I like the challenge,” he said.
Beltre isn’t the only one who is confident in himself with the game on the line.
“Before he hits the ball, I feel that he can get a base hit,” starting pitcher Martin Perez said.
After five long scoreless innings in pitcher’s duel between Perez and A.J Burnett, the Phillies tacked on two runs off and RBI single by Jimmy Rollins and an RBI double from Ryan Howard that gave them a 2-0 lead.
The Rangers quickly responded in the bottom of the sixth, with Alex Rios starting off with a double and Mitch Moreland sending him in with a single to right. An inning later, Adrian Beltre hits an RBI double, scoring Shin-Soo Choo and tying the game up 2-2.
Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria served as relief for Perez, and all three did their job in withholding the Phillies from tacking on any more runs.
The Rangers entered the bottom of the ninth with the top of their order up to bat, while the Phillies brought in rookie Mario Hollands to make his major league debut. Hollands walked Choo and Prince Fielder, leaving two Rangers on base and one in scoring position. The Phillies brought in the more experienced BJ Rosenburg, and the stage was set for the Rangers’ captain in Beltre.
In the post game conference, Washington said, “Choo set the tone, not trying to be aggressive. Prince did a good job making sure he got a ball in the zone he could handle, and he didn’t get any.”
In the end, A “Beltre” big hit and quality pitching that put the Opening Day starters to shame gave the fans in Arlington something to finally celebrate after it appeared the Rangers were going to suffer from some sort of curse. And though the players continued to stay optimistic, a win made them feel pretty good too.
“It was nice to get that first win.” said Beltre. “There was good pitching on both sides and we were able to come back and steal the win tonight.”
Tuesday marked the first Ranger win as well as the first use of the new replay system at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Washington challenged a play at second base, and a ‘safe’ call was overturned. The first challenge took just over two minutes for the umpires to get the call right.
With the win, the Rangers prove Ian Kinsler wrong. A 1-1 record is typical of seasons past, and the Rangers can now look towards possibly winning their first series - something the Rangers have done each of the past three seasons - tomorrow.
First pitch of the rubber match is slated for 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, and will be televised on ESPN.