On Thursday, May 11th, the Rangers entered the bottom of the 9th inning trailing 2-1 and finished it with a 3-run walk-off home run.
On Friday, May 12th, the Rangers entered the bottom of the 9th inning trailing 2-1 and finished it with a 3-run walk-off home run.
On Saturday, May 13th, the Rangers entered the bottom of the 7th inning trailing the A’s 4-2, but tied it with an RBI single from Elvis Andrus (scoring Delino DeShields) then took the lead on an RBI double from Nomar Mazara to score Andrus. They won the game 6-5.
On Sunday, May 14th, the Rangers entered the bottom of the 7th inning trailing the A’s 4-2, but tied it with an RBI double from Elvis Andrus (scoring Delino DeShields), then took the lead on an RBI single from Nomar Mazara. They won the game 6-4.
You can’t predict baseball, this much is true. But it seems like winning on Tuesday against the Phillies would be a good idea, just in case.
Today, after no post-sixth-inning comeback wins in the team’s first 35 games, the Rangers completed their fourth late comeback in a row. There was a little of everything: fantastic catches, gutsy base running, clutch hitting, and even injuries. In addition, a few people who are not named Carlos Gomez also did things.
The Rangers had a lead before they had an out. From the top of the first inning, it appeared that A's starter Kendall Graveman–whose last outing in Texas started with seven hitless innings–would have no such success today. It wasn’t so much that Graveman pitched poorly, it was just that his middle infield was made up of two deep-rooted hickory trees who, try as they might, just couldn’t move fast enough to get to the baseballs as they bounced past them and into the infield.
Delino DeShields singled through the infield, then stole second base on a pitch that sailed past A’s catcher Stephen Vogt. “I had enough time to round and make a decision,” DeShields would say later. “I know the brick wall back there, it can kind of ricochet back, but it just kind of ricocheted the other way, and (Vogt) was kinda just being lackadaisical, so I saw an advantage, an opportunity to maybe advance an extra 90’ and help us get on the board early.”
Advance he did. With DeShields on third, Elvis Andrus drove in the game’s first run with a single, and after a Mazara single, scored on a Jonathan Lucroy double play. It was 2-0. But after those two runs, Graveman settled in and held the Rangers scoreless... for awhile, anyway.
The A’s turned the tide gradually (and temporarily). Trevor Plouffe hit a solo home run in the second inning. Then in the fifth, so did Adam Rosales. The game was tied for two batters: Rajai Davis doubled and Matt Joyce launched a ball to the batter’s eye in center field. It was 4-2.
The A’s threatened to make it worse for Texas and put the game out of reach in the 6th. Plouffe walked and Vogt hit a bloop single. With two on and no outs, it was time for Jeremy Jeffress. He induced a 6-4-3 double play from Mark Canha, and then–with a runner still on third–he and Gomez paired up the pesky Rosales: a low liner to center field that caused Gomez to sprint in hard, dive and angle his torso to his glove side to haul in.
Then came the seventh. “It’s funny,” DeShields chuckled after the game “because when I came in (before the 7th inning) I told Maz ‘we’re going to win this game’.”
Gomez singled to left field, then advanced to second on a mis-hit ball by Joey Gallo, the scariest swinging bunt you’ll ever see. With one out, it was DeShields’ turn, and he hit a ball that the third baseman Plouffe had to sprint towards home plate to capture and throw. “I was almost mad that I missed the pitch,” DeShields laughed. “But I just put my head down and ran. That’s kinda how I play the game anyway.”
DeShields was safe at first, but he was not the only one. As Plouffe threw the ball to first, Gomez had rounded the bag and was sprinting home. He beat the return throw from first baseman Yonder Alonso, but did not slide, and grabbed his hamstring on the way back to the bench.
“I was going to go into a slide when I realized the bat was in front of the plate, and the catcher was not in the right position, so I kinda tried to speed up more, and that’s how my leg grabbed. I (was going) full speed, but when I saw that I didn’t have time to slide, because I would probably get hurt, I tried to accelerate again.” (Gomez will have an MRI and be reevaluated tomorrow.)
The game was tied, but only for a sec. The Andrus double scored DeShields, the Mazara single scored Andrus, and it was 5-4. Sam Dyson worked a two-hit-but-ultimately-scoreless eighth inning, contending with a crowd that decided a one-run game with the home pitcher on the mound was the best time for the wave (it’s the worst time for the wave, by the way). Pete Kozma added an insurance run with a check-swing bloop single to make it 6-4. Matt Bush came on in the ninth and with one out, allowed a single before retiring Jed Lowrie on a buy-one-get-one-free 4-6-3 double play. The game was over, and the Rangers had a 6-game winning streak.
Texas has a day off tomorrow, and will face the Philadephia Phillies for three at Globe Life Park starting on Tuesday. Yu Darvish and former Rangers prospect Jerad Eickhoff (traded to the Phillies in 2015 as part of the Cole Hamels deal) are the projected starters.
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