I want you to remember this game the next time you are driving westbound at sunset and slow down an extra couple of mph while you squint, pull down your visor, and proceed with extreme caution. The sun is a benevolent tyrant, omitting enough energy to keep us alive in the icy void of space, grow enough food to sustain seven-plus billion humans and countless other animals, insects, and assorted creatures and plants. It is also ruthless, killing great swaths of this planet and scorching those closer than us with its uninhabitable and oppressive burning.
It glows with such fury and heat that its gravitational mass holds great planets in orbit, even millions of miles away. It can be seen from as far away as we humans have figured out how to shoot space-machines. It sustains life, serves as an intergalactic road map for the only known vibrant neighborhood in the cosmos, and also it hates your eyeballs, cursing them with blindness should you be so audacious as to look directly into its face. Just a glimpse into its fiery visage of nearly 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit will result in a white streak, and an instant flood of tears, the eyes trying to protect themselves from the poor decision that the brain has made in directing them sunward.
Lorenzo Cain knows this as well as anyone right now. In the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, his brain and eyes engaged in a trilogy of battles as the rest of his body chased down fly balls by Carlos Gomez, Nomar Mazara, and Mike Napoli. The brain won the first two, and the third was won by a surprise outsider: the center field wall, which snuck up on Cain while he was focusing on the tiny white ball in front of the enormous yellow ball. He pulled up just in time to watch the former clear the wall. When it did, the score was 2-2.
Yes, it was another low-scoring affair. Napoli’s home run was Texas’ second of the game after Drew Robinson’s solo shot in the third. It was Robinson’s fourth MLB hit and his third home run. The Royals, on the other hand, took advantage of poor Rangers defense and kept the game even: in the first inning, Kansas City took a 1-0 lead on a wild pitch. In the third, after the Robinson home run, they got a two-out walk and Eric Hosmer scored on a Moustakas double (that run was on Darvish). Then in the seventh, after the Napoli homer, they took a 3-2 lead when Nomar Mazara mis-handled a double off the wall, allowing Drew Butera to score from first.
But in the eighth, with Joakim Soria just one strike away from a perfect inning of work, Elvis Andrus doubled, then scored when Mazara redeemed himself by swinging at a 94mph fastball at the letters and singling home Andrus.
That takes us to the 9th. With Darvish finished and Matt Bush and Alex Claudio having held the door, it was Jason Grilli who worked himself into a mess: Alcides Escobar singled, Alex Gordon singled, and then pinch-hitter Sal Perez hit a ball that Drew Robinson, playing near the bag, dove to his left and stopped. Had he fielded it cleanly, it might have been a double play, but he was able to recover quickly enough to beat Escobar–who had inexplicably paused–to the third base bag for the first out of the inning.
Then Grilli hit Merrifield with a pitch to load the bases. With one out. Everyone seemed to come to grips with the fact that this game was shaping up to be a loss. But baseball decided to dangle one last hope in front of us: Grilli struck out Jorge Bonifacio on a full-count, down-the-middle, 92mph fastball.
With two outs, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, it was Lorenzo Cain at the plate. And given how the game ended, why wouldn’t it be? Cain’s eyes were no doubt still stinging from the time spent staring into the nearest yellow dwarf star. Hurt people hurt people, or so they say. So it makes sense that Cain would want to inflict punishment on his fellow human. He lofted a ball into right field, 317 feet away, and directly eclipsing the sun’s brightest shine.
Fly ball to left and we're going to the ten--hang on a minute. To the ten...or of a fanbase in utter dismay, I meant. pic.twitter.com/96IktcphtV— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) July 16, 2017
The Rangers lost 4-3.
They fall back to a game under .500, and fall back to a half-game behind the Royals in the Wild Card race. They will now head to Baltimore for a four-game series.