June 5, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (5) hits the ball down the third baseline to bat in two runners against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Game 56: Moments that Mattered

I’ve heard it said that the outcome of any given game comes down to about 4 plays. I’ll do my best to pinpoint those plays from Tuesday night’s game against the Oakland A’s.

These were the moments that mattered…

1) Winning the Battle, Winning the WarCraig Gentry laid down a sacrifice bunt in the 3rd, advancing two runners into scoring position. Ian Kinsler worked an eight pitch at-bat and wound up doubling to bring in the first runs of the night. That set the tone for an eventual Ranger win.
2) Tough Love — In the bottom of the 3rd, Derek Holland gave up a lead-off single, got two quick outs, and then walked Colin Cowgill after getting ahead 0-2. Ron Washington immediately made his way to the mound to talk to his pitcher and it was pretty much a one-sided conversation. My guess is that Wash wasn’t going to let Holland nibble himself to death and give up another big inning. He put a stop to the foolishness right then and there.
3) Workin’ on the Right Moves — Holland pitched well enough through 5 innings, but Yoenis Cespedes led off the 6th with a solo shot. The homerun was followed by a walk, a pop-out, and a single. Wash gave his young lefty every chance to get out of it, but was forced to bring in Alexi Ogando to finish the inning. Ogando got the job done, preserving the 5-3 lead.
4) The Big Pitch — Ogando stayed in for the 7th, walking the first hitter he faced, striking out the next two, and giving up a single. Brandon Inge stepped to the plate and, in the middle of his at-bat, Ogando uncorked a wild pitch. With the tying run on 2nd, Inge swung through the perfect slider to preserve the lead for Texas.

Also of note…

  • Holland pitched alright in his first start since blowing up against Seattle. He threw 92 pitches in 5.1 innings, gave up 3 runs on 7 hits, walked 2, and struck out 2.
  • A lot was made of Holland’s diminished velocity in the middle innings and it sounds like he may be dealing with a stomach bug. He certainly didn’t look happy coming off the mound and I figured it was more than frustration after a so-so outing.
  • Gentry led off the 9th with a double. With Kinsler at the plate, he attempted to steal 3rd and was thrown out. More significant than the caught stealing was the fact that Gentry’s right hand seemed to catch underneath him. He was gripping his wrist and getting checked by a trainer after returning to the dugout. Hopefully he only jammed it and won’t miss any time.
  • That’s all for tonight. Sorry for the short recap, but these West Coast games take a lot out of you. Time for me to get some sleep.

The Rangers and A’s are back at it tomorrow night at 9:05 Arlington time. Colby Lewis will be on the mound and you can catch it on FSSW.

Press on, Rangers fans.

(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @BleacherSeatsTX. As always, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)

Tags: Alexi Ogando Craig Gentry Derek Holland Ian Kinsler Oakland A's Ron Washington Texas Rangers

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