August 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) gets swarmed by teammates after hitting a two run walk off single against the Los Angeles Angels in the tenth inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers won 11-10 beating the Angels. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

Game 103: A Night in August

It was a night when Yu Darvish tried to strikeout the ballpark, but wound up walking it instead.

Darvish’s night consisted of 7 runs on 4 hits, 6 walks (5 of which scored), and 7 K’s. He squeezed 108 pitches into 5 innings of work and only 59 of those pitches were strikes.

It was not a good night for Darvish, but he said after the game that he knows he needs to be better. Maybe we’ll call this one a learning experience or a turning point or something.

It was a night when you thought it might be over in the 3rd inning.

After enduring the brutal month of July, the last thing you wanted to see was the Rangers falling behind by 6 runs so early in the game. Up in Section 324, I wondered to myself if the 42,000+ were in store for more of what we’ve been seeing for the better part of the last month.

Two guys at the end of my row actually left in the 4th. They finished their beers, told the couple behind them to have a good night, and they were gone.

That was fine, though. I moved down to one of their seats to give myself a little more elbow room.

It was a night when the bullpen did a lot of heavy lifting.

The relief corps stepped it up in this one, something that was perhaps lost in all of the excitement.

Alexi Ogando, Robbie Ross, and Tanner Scheppers combined for 4 shutout innings and struck out 8 Angel hitters. That gave the Ranger bats a chance to get back into the game.

It was a night when the Ranger bats got back into the game.

Down by 6 runs, the offense started plugging away. Garrett Richards (the Angels’ SP) was good early, but got touched up for 5 runs in 5.2 innings of work. By the time he left the game, Texas was down by only 2.

In the 8th, they tacked on another run after a walk, a wild pitch, and a single. Down by only 1.

It was a night when Ernesto Frieri lost his magic.

Coming into the game, Frieri was 12-for-12 in save opportunities and the Rangers hadn’t touched him. He had also given up only 1 HR since coming over to the Angels.

That would all change in an instant, as Ian Kinsler took a 2-0 pitch over the wall to tie the game and send it into extra innings.

It was a night when Joe Nathan didn’t have his best stuff.

Nathan came in to preserve the tie in the 10th, but didn’t really have anything going.

Chris Iannetta (the Angels catcher with a .203 BA) took Nathan deep to lead off the inning. Two outs later, Torii Hunter got hit on the hand, then Albert Pujols also went deep (his second HR of the game). Down by 3 again.

The emotional high from tying the game came crashing back down and a lot of fans headed for the exits.

It was a night when the Rangers won the damn game.

Nelson Cruz led off the bottom of the 10th by hitting a baseball further* than I have ever seen anyone hit a baseball. Michael Young then reached on an error (leadership?) and David Murphy followed with a walk.

(*Seriously, go watch video of it. It was a tear-the-cover-off-the-ball hit.)

Fast forward to Elvis Andrus at the plate with the bases loaded, a full count, down by a run. Elvis pulls the payoff pitch down the line, the 3rd baseman can’t get it, it’s in the corner, and Texas wins 11-10 in the 10th inning.

The game was far from perfect, but they won. Sometimes you just need to win.

Welcome to August, Rangers fans.

(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @twbbg. Per usual, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)

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Tags: Alexi Ogando Anaheim Angels Elvis Andrus Ernesto Frieri Ian Kinsler Joe Nathan Nelson Cruz Robbie Ross Tanner Scheppers Texas Rangers Yu Darvish

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