There must be something about ace-caliber pitchers that the Rangers agree with.
For the 2nd time in 3 days, the Rangers forced a Tiger starter to an early exit; last night it was Anibal Sanchez, and just as it were two evenings ago vs. Justin Verlander, he could not manage to get the 3rd out of the 3rd inning.
With sketchy control over the first few innings, Ranger starter Justin Grimm (3-3) appeared to right the ship once the Rangers increased the lead to 6-2 after the 3rd inning. It was a night that was all but destined to see Derek Lowe at some point, and all of a sudden something clicked for Justin, and his final line didn’t look bad at all:
6.2 IP / 2 runs / 7 hits / 1 BB / 2 K’s
Offensively, it was the Elvis Andrus show all night.
In the 1st he singled, stole 2nd, and eventually scored; in the 2nd he hit an RBI triple, and eventually scored again; in the 3rd inning he hit an RBI single, and again stole 2nd; in the 6th he doubled and scored; in the 9th he singled.
If you are keeping track at home, this is Elvis’s 1st career 5-hit game, and in 2013 by far his most productive game with the bat. He went 5-5 with 3 single’s, a double, and a triple, scored 3 times, stole two bases, and drove in two to boot. His triple slash on the season is now up to .282/.328/.350 (79 wRC+).
Mitch Moreland added an opposite-field solo homer, his 10th on the season. Just a smidgen past the quarter mark of the season, and Mitch Moreland is on pace to hit something like 38 home runs. Clearly the rapture will follow shortly thereafter.
Starting last Monday in Oakland, it appeared on the schedule that this 10-game stretch would be crucial. There was to be a home-and-home series with the AL West’s 2nd-place team wedged around a 4-game set with the Tigers — probably the most talented team in the American League.
But here we are. After 6 games the Rangers have taken 2 out of 3 from both Oakland and Detroit, with tonight’s matchup deciding whether the Rangers will split or take 3 of 4 from the mighty Tigers. After they leave, Oakland will come to Arlington for 3.
At the onset of this 10-game snapshot, the Rangers led the division by 6.0 games. At current press time, Oakland is tied at 0’s in the bottom of the 1st against Kansas City, so we’ll just have to see how this shakes out. Either way, the Rangers will still have a lead on the division.