The first night on interleague play in the 2010 season started great for the Rangers beating the Chicago Cubs at home with a score of 2-1. Colby Lewis gave a quality start, pitching 6 full innings giving up five hits, only one earned run with 3 walks with four strikeouts. After tonight’s win Lewis leads the Rotation with four wins and is sporting a 3.45 earned run average. Surprisingly a reliever leads the team with Frank Francisco having five wins so far this season.
The first two innings were shaky for Lewis although he only gave up one run in the second inning. The lead off batter of the inning was Mike Fontenot who doubled on a perfect hit which landed down the left field line on a 0-2 pitch. On a 3-2 pitch the next batter Xavier Nady singled on a line drive to left fielder David Murphy moving Fontenot to 3rd.
Finally after giving up two consecutive hits to start the second inning, Lewis got Catcher Geovany Soto to ground into a double play, although Fontenot easily scored from third. Fontenot’s run was the only run the Cubs scored in the game.
Darren O’Day pitched a scoreless 7th inning getting two of the outs on strikeouts. Frank Francisco pitched the eighth inning working around 2 two hits to finish with two strikeouts and a scoreless eighth inning setting up for closer Neftali Feliz to pitch the ninth inning for his 12 save in 14 opportunities for the season.
The Rangers were able to play small ball to score two runs in the game which was one more run than the Cubs and good enough for the win. The two runs came in the fourth inning, with second baseman Ian Kinsler leading off the inning with what should have been nothing more than a single if not an out.
Kinsler hit a dribbler to third baseman Mike Fontenot, Fontenot fielded the ball and threw to first base. First baseman Derek Lee is unable to field the ball, although Second baseman Ryan Theriot ran to back up the throw to first base and fielded the ball once it passes Lee. At this point Kinsler was able to advance to second on a throwing error by Fontenot.
Theriot then attempted to get the ball to shortstop Starlin Castro who was covering second. The throw by Theriot was a again a poor throw and the ball passed Castro and ended up in left field. Former Ranger left fielder Alfonso then fields the ball, although at this point Kinsler had already made it to third base. The whole play from when Kinsler made it to first until he made it to third was some of the worst defensive play I have ever seen. You can view the video here.
Cubs starter Ted Lilly must have been frazzled by this point, because he gave up a double to Vladimir Guerrero on the first pitch scoring Kinsler from third to tie the game. The next at-bat was just about as shocking as Kinsler’s base running to third, Josh Hamilton laid down his first bunt of his major league career.
The sacrifice bunt moved Guerrero to third base. Nelson Cruz then doubled scoring Guerrero from third base breaking the tie making it 2-1. Neither team scored another run and the Rangers then picked up their fifth win in a row.
The Rangers now lead the American League West by four games over the Oakland Athletics with a record of 25-18. The Rangers are playing great ball in May, 14 of their 25 wins coming in May. Al son in the month of May the Rangers have a record of 14-7 which is a .750 winning percentage.
The three game series against the Cubs is somewhat of a homecoming for players and and a coach on the Cubs team. Former hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo who spent several seasons with the Rangers is now the hitting coach for the Cubs. Center Fielder Marlon Byrd spent the previous three seasons patrolling center field for the Rangers. Left fielder Alfonso Soriano is also a former Ranger coming to the Rangers in the Alex Rodriguez trade before being traded to the Nationals.
When Soriano arrived to the Rangers he was a second baseman with the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez was a short stop with the Rangers. Rodriguez switched to third base, since the Yankees already had Derek Jeter at shortstop. Soriano was hesitant to switch positions and that is how Michael Young ended up at shortstop.
Soriano was still hesitant when traded to the Nationals, somewhat refusing to move to the outfield before ending up in the outfield and eventually signing with the Cubs once he reached free agency and he stayed in the outfield. Michael Young however ended up moving to third base to make room for the short stop of the future in Elvis Andrus which shows his commitment to the Rangers. Young has this commitment, although he has never made it to the playoffs, but 2010 maybe the year the Rangers go all the way ended up with a world series ring.