They did not.
And I really want to just leave it there, but I already used one game story this week to instead tell you about tarantula hawks, so let’s get through this together.
Texas led 2-0 by the top of the fourth. Adrian Beltre had singled home Shin Soo Choo in the first before getting himself thrown out trying to advance to second base, then Carlos Gomez doubled a ball over first base to score Rougned Odor in the 4th.
Cole Hamels was perfect for two innings, before hitting a patch of ice in the third. He corrected course, assuming everything was okay, but UH-OH he turned Fourth Inning Corner to discover that the road was completely frozen over. Jonathan Schoop hit a solo home run to tie the game at one, and then Hamels spun three whole rotations (walk, hit-by-pitch, walk). But juuuuust as he was about to slide into a tree, he found enough traction to stop. Heart racing, breath coming in gasps. Thoughts of the damage that was so narrowly avoided. All of these things are instantaneous. that was close. But the car was intact, albeit in some pretty deep grass. The 25-inning scoreless streak was over, but hey. We’re all alive, and the Rangers are still winning 2-1. Just call a tow truck and let’s get home.
Mike Napoli Towing Company™ arrived promptly. With Andrus and Beltre on board, He hooked up the ol’ trusty diesel, blew his horn cheerfully, and pulled the game out of the ditch. “There you go, Mr. Hamels. Just keep ‘er on the road this time.”
SPOILER: Hamels did not keep er on the road.
He instead took a pull from the old-timey XXX bottle on the front seat, super-glued the pedal to the floor, yelled a disconcerting “WOOHOO THIRTY QUARTS OF WEST VIRGINNY WHITE LIGHNIN’ HEADIN’ YOUR WAY, TAMPA. EAT IT JOHNNY LAW!” and did three doughnuts before setting the course for a burning building, looking back at Jeremy Jeffress and yelling “SHE'S ALL YOURS NOW, PAL!” and tuck-and-rolling all the way to the showers*.
Jeffress, who had been in the back seat taking a nap, continued to do so, earbuds solemnly playing the Donnie Darko version of “Mad World” on repeat.
By the time he woke up, the car was on fire, had two flat tires, and the building was looking down sorrowfully, leaning in for a hug.
The Orioles had scored a combined nine runs in four innings: one in the fourth, three in the fifth, four in the sixth, and one just for added humiliation in the seventh, when Chris Davis hit Baltimore’s fourth home run of the night. Meanwhile, after Napoli’s home run, the offense had gone 0-for-their-next-12-plate-appearances.
Numbers 13-16 did their best to make it interesting, though. After a scoreless inning from Jose Leclerc, and after two quick outs and two strikes, it appeared 9-5 was going to be the final. But Robinson Chirinos doubled down the left field line, then moved to third on a wild pitch. Delino DeShields (who had a bad night) walked, then advanced to second on defensive indifference. Shin-Soo Choo, who had walked three times in the game already, now singled up the middle to score them both.
9-7 is more interesting than 9-5. But Elvis Andrus, batting as the tying run, failed in his final attempt to pull the game from the flaming rubble: his fly ball to right landed just a few feet short of the wall, in Joey Rickard’s glove.
The Rangers are now 45-50, and almost certainly sellers at this year’s trade deadline.
Watch ‘em while you can: the spectacle is probably going to change soon.
*Sorry. This is my Cole Hamels character now. It’s the mustache.
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