In today’s game the Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison pitched six solid innings. In his first start of the season he gave up six hits, one walk, four strike outs and one run. When he left the game the Rangers were leading 2-1; although the bullpen eventually spoiled his start.
After Harrison left the game in the bottom of the six inning Nelson Cruz homered on fly ball to left field giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Reliever Dustin Nippert started the seventh and got through the inning fairly easily giving up only two hits. After he gave up the two hits, there was a coaching visit to the mound and he got the final two outs of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Rangers put a couple of men on base before Michael Young recorded the final out of the inning on a fly ball to center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. Neftali Feliz replaced Nippert on the mound and worked a 1-2-3 inning. The Rangers then batted in the bottom of the eighth recording no runs.
At this time heading into the top of the ninth the Rangers are leading 3-1 and closer Frank Francisco entered the game to shut the door on the Mariners. The first batter Francisco faces is Casey Kotchman and he singles on a 1-1 count. Francisco then gives up a walk to Rob Johnson on a full count and Kotchman then moves to second.
There is a coaching visit to the mound and then Jack Wilson records a sacrifice buntmoving Kotchman to third and Johnson to second. Then Ichiro Suzuki steps up to the plate and rips a single to center field on the first pitch of the at bat. This causes Kotchman to score, although the Rangers still lead 3-2 with one out.
Future hall of famer Ken Griffey Jr. singles on a line drive to center fielder on the first pitch to score Johnson, the game is now tied at 3-3 and Ichiro Suzuki moves to 3rd base. Manager Ron Washington and Pitching coach Mike Maddux then decide to put Darren O’Day on the mound instead of Francisco.
In 1/3 of an inning Francisco gave up three runs. O’Day then digs in and gets a first strike on Franklin Gutierrez singles on a ground ball causing Matt Tulasosopo who entered the game as a pinch runner for Griffey to score. The Rangers are now down 4-3 with only 1 out, with all three of the runs of the ninth being charged to Francisco in 1/3 of an inning of work. O’day finally gets out of the inning on a double play and the horrid top of the ninth is finally over for the Rangers.
One last half inning is all the Rangers had to tie the game or be heros and win the game. Mariners send David Aardsma to the mound to record the final three outs and he did that with little ease. He finished the inning with a 1-2-3 ninth securing the win for the Mariners and a blown save for Frank Francisco.
The highlights of game today were that Julio Borbon got his first hit of the season and now sports a season .48 batting average. The play was kind of strange in that Borbon hit an infield single and since Joaquin Arias was on third, so instead of throwing to first to get the easy out, Mariners second baseman Chone Figgins decided to throw home to record the out. The throw was off and catcher Rob Johnson was unable to catch it and it ended up at the back stop allowing catcher Taylor Teagarden to score.
Since Borbon realized that the catcher did not catch the ball, he tried to stretch out his fielders choice single into a double and was tagged out at second base. Essentially Borbon’s first hit of the season ended in an out. At least he finally got a hit.
One highlight for the Rangers in their 2-3 recorded is that Nelson Cruz has been on fire hitting his fourth home run in five games. So far this season he is batting .444 with four home runs and eight runs batted in. Unfortunately for the Rangers and Matt Harrison another quality start was wasted due to lack of offense, but especially a shaky bullpen, well not the entire bullpen, but the Closer Frank Francisco. He is the biggest concern thus far for the Rangers considering he currently sports a 27.oo earned run average in only 2 inning pitched. He needs to get his stuff figured out for the Rangers to succeed this year, he owns two of the three losses of the Rangers this season.
Tags: Casey Kotchman Chone Figgins Darren 0'Day David Aardsma Dustin Nippert Feftali Feliz Frank Francisco Franklin Gutierrez Ichiro Suzuki Jack WIlson Julio Borbon Ken Griffey Jr. Matt Harrison Matt Tulasosopo Michael Young Mike Maddux Nelson Cruz Rob Johsnson Ron Washington