The slide towards season’s end continued for the Rangers on Saturday night in Anaheim, as the offense couldn’t muster much of anything against Parker Bridwell or the Angels bullpen. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels took a hard-luck loss, pitching 7⅓ innings and allowing just four hits and four walks, striking out five, and allowing two runs, both on Justin Upton solo home runs that book-ended the evening: Upton’s first shot came on Hamels’ sixth pitch of the night, and his second came on Hamels’ 105th (and final) delivery of the game.
You never want to read a game story about all the times the team got runners into scoring position, but in the absence of any other compelling Rangers-centric storyline, that’s what we find ourselves in the middle of, here. Even that didn’t happen for the first time until the fifth inning, when Joey Gallo’s double down the right field line broke up Bridwell’s perfect game. Robinson Chirinos followed with a walk, but Rougned Odor popped out to shorstop Andrelton Simmons in shallow left field and Willie Calhoun struck out to end that threat.
In the sixth, an infield single by Delino DeShields was eventually followed with a single to center field by Elvis Andrus. But with runners at the corners and two outs, Adrian Beltre hit a grounder to third base. I’m curious (though I do not want them to race so I can find out) who is slower right now: Adrian Beltre with half a hamstring, or Albert Pujols on his feet constructed of old dinosaur bones and bass guitar strings. The point is, any grounder that either of these two future Hall of Famers hit tonight was always going to be an out, even if the infielder ran it to first base themselves.
The third time the Rangers had a runner in scoring position lasted approximately ¾ of one second. Joey Gallo walked to lead off the seventh, and after a Robinson Chirinos strikeout, Gallo stole second base with Odor at the plate. Gallo’s hand was clearly safe on the bag before the throw, but Simmons had positioned his foot right in front of the base, so as Gallo’s body slid, headfirst, over the bag, it surely must have felt like his left foot was resting on the bag. In reality, it was resting on Simmons’ shoe. Simmons held the tag on Gallo.
Gallo lifted his left hand to call for time.
After that, the only real action (aside from Upton's secone home run) was for Simmons to walk, then be caught stealing himself. The Rangers went in order in the ninth inning, and with the loss, Texas has now lost three consecutive series and five consecutive games.
The two teams wrap up the three-game series tomorrow at 2:37pm Texas time. Miguel Gonzalez takes the mound for the Rangers against Garrett Richards.