Game 23: Moments that Mattered
By Mike Luna
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 Monday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
These were the moments that mattered…
1) Taking the Extra Base — Adrian Beltre jumped on Kyle Drabek in the 2nd inning, lining a double to right on a full count. David Murphy followed by getting something up in the air and deep enough that Beltre was able to move to 3rd easily. Beltre’s aggressive base-running would pay off as he scored on a Nelson Cruz double two pitches later.
2) Special K’s — Yu Darvish started the bottom of the 2nd with a four pitch walk and an HPB. He got the first out on a shallow flyball to left, then got Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus on back-to-back strikeouts. More on Darvish further down.
3) Take Your Base — With one out in the 3rd, Ian Kinsler took a four-pitch walk. Elvis Andrus followed with a double in the gap and Kinsler easily trotted home. That would prove to be the winning run, as Toronto could only scratch one across against Darvish and the ‘pen.
4) Get What Yu Need — With the Rangers only up by one in the 6th, Rasmus led off with a single. After getting ahead with two strikes, Darvish coaxed a groundball to 3rd. Michael Young easily scooped it up to start a 5-4-3 DP. Toronto would threaten again in the 7th, but by then Texas had added some insurance runs and the game was less at risk of turning around.
Also of note…
- Darvish pitched well against the Blue Jays. He went 7 innings, gave up 1 run on 4 hits, struck out 9, walked 2, and threw 97 pitches. The run came on a homerun, which is Darvish’s first since coming stateside.
- Drabek pitched well in his own right, giving up 2 runs and 5 hits, striking out 8, and walking 2. Not bad, but not as good as Darvish.
- Josh Hamilton did not play tonight because of the back issues that took him out of Sunday night’s game. He is currently listed as day-to-day. My wildly uneducated guess is that he’ll see action again this weekend in Cleveland.
- Ron Washington isn’t taking any chances with Beltre’s hamstrings. The third baseman is expected to DH throughout the series to avoid extra time on the Toronto turf. No doubt his bat would be missed if he went down for significant time.
- Mitch Moreland hit an opposite field homerun in the 7th. Craig Gentry followed up by pulling a homerun of his own, which went 399 feet and is the first non-inside-the-park homerun of his career. For those of you scoring at home, Gentry is yet another Ranger with more homeruns than Albert Pujols.
- Mike Adams and Joe Nathan pitched in the 8th and 9th respectively. Both set the Blue Jays down in order. Adams threw 9 pitches and Nathan threw 10. Not a bad way to close it out.
Texas and Toronto will go at it again tomorrow night at 6:07 Arlington time. It can be seen on FSSW and Neftali Feliz is expected to take the hill.
Press on, Rangers fans.
(Leave a comment or find me on Twitter @BleacherSeatsTX. As always, thanks to Baseball Reference for their invaluable resources.)