David Murphy and Adrian Beltre each hit first inning home runs, and in his ML debut as a starting pitcher Ross Wolf (1-0) threw 5 mostly effective innings to help Texas salvage the series at home against the Athletics. The Rangers finish their 7-game home-stand 4-3.
All the Rangers’ scoring came in the first inning: Elvis Andrus lead off with a base hit to left, and David Murphy thusly made the game 2-0 with a home run. Two batters later, Adrian Beltre followed suit with a solo shot of his own to center to extend the lead to 3-0. Jarrod Parker wouldn’t allow another run in 7.0 innings of work.
Despite only throwing 71 pitches, Rangers’ manager Ron Washington decided to lift Ross Wolf in the 6th inning (with runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out) having allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3 Oakland hitters. The man who replaced him — Neal Cotts — has been Wolf’s teammate at Round Rock all season, posting one of the more staggering strikeout rates (16.43 per 9 IP) in all of the Minor Leagues.
On cue, Cotts struck out the side to get out of the 6th-inning jam. Then he went out and tossed a scoreless 7th. If you are keeping score at home, what’s in front of you is the truth. Ross Wolf and Neal Cotts combined to hold down the A’s in an afternoon game in Arlington to prevent a sweep. I’m not lying, I swear! THAT REALLY HAPPENED TODAY.
Basically, a 3-0 Rangers’ lead turned into a 3-1 Rangers’ lead, and it kind of just stayed there. After Wolf exited in the 6th the Texas bullpen combined to hurl 4.0 innings of shutout baseball, surrendering just 1 hit with 6 punch outs. Post- Neal Cotts, Robbie Ross had 2 K’s in an inning of work — lowering his ERA on the season to 0.42 — and Joe Nathan came in to record his 14th save in as many opportunities (if you are into that sort of stat).
A Jurickson Profar Note
– With RHP Jarrod Parker on the mound, Ron Washington decided to give Mitch Moreland a day off in favor of Jeff Baker, and Leury Garcia, as was expected, got the start at 2B over Jurickson Profar. Mitch has been a bear lately, so I’ll excuse the platoon advantage Washington gave OAK by starting the right-handed batter Jeff Baker, but why is Jurickson Profar on the Major League team if he’s not going to start every day?