Just when you thought the Rangers couldn’t possibly bring any more surprises, they do in the form of another walk-off victory. Or excuse me, walk-off walk victory, by a score of 4-3.
Shin-Soo Choo was brought to the Rangers with the purpose of getting on base, and with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, that is exactly what he did did. Putting his trademark patience to use, Choo allowed Phillies’ pitcher Jonathan Papelbon to reach a full count. On the last pitch of the game, Choo watched, and then he walked, and then the Rangers won.
“That ninth inning was on display for everyone” said Rangers manager Ron Washington. “That at bat Choo had was certainly a good one. If he saw a pitch across the plate he did like he’d swing at if, if he saw one he didn’t like he didn’t swing at it. That’s why you play nine innings. That’s what we do every night, we play nine innings.”
Though starting pitcher Robbie Ross pitched well, the Phillies jumped to a quick 3-0 lead after an error in the first and a two-run homerun from Ryan Howard in the third. The Rangers’ bullpen fought through the last four innings, and were able to keep a comeback within the grasp of the hitters.
“You’re out there pitching and you know you’ve got guys out there who are going to come behind you and pick you up” Ross said. “Obviously I’d have loved to have gone six or seven innings, but I didn’t, but we have bullpen guys who come in and get it done.”
Many Rangers reached base in the first eight innings, but they were all left stranded. It wasn’t until the ninth, when captain Adrian Beltre started the rally off with a single, that the team was able to make it count. A double by Mitch Moreland, his second extra-base hit of the game, allowed Beltre to advance to third. Jim Adduci came in to pinch-hit, and did exactly what he was supposed to do. With a chopper to third, Beltre was able to come home, bringing the score to 3-2, and Adducci used his “sneaky fast” speed to beat the throw to first.
When asked about being pinch-hit in such an adrenaline packed situation, Adduci said, “I think for me it’s a matter of someone has to do it and I’m up to the challenge. I’m not saying that every time is going to be great but I just want to give myself the opportunity to contribute someway somehow.”
Leonys Martin then hit the game-tying RBI single, scoring Moreland, and followed up his hit by stealing second. With Adduci on third and Martin on second, Papelbon walked Donnie Murphy to load the bases. Choo came up to bat, and the rest is history.
It’s been a long time since the Rangers won a game off a walk-off walk. The last time the team won a game with a bases-loaded walk was July 16, 1999 when Todd Zeile walked with the bases juiced against Arizona.
It should be noted, however, that there is something different about the dynamic of this Rangers’ team compared to the team’s North Texas has watched the past couple years. If the first series taught us anything, it’s that the 2014 season is sure to keep us on our toes. At least, that’s what the team wants us to think.
“Just to see how we’ve come together in the last couple games, it may not look like it from the outside, but I think that from looking at it from the inside, we’ve come together and we’ve made it happen” said Moreland.” “We gave it everything we had for nine innings.”
Fans will have to wait until Friday to see if the magic continues, as the Rangers visit Tampa Bay at 6:10 p.m. The game will be televised on KXTA.