BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Rangers won their 10th series of the year Saturday afternonoon, beating the Blue Jays 8-7 in 13 innings on a Josh Hamilton walk-off home run. The win following Friday night’s 14-3 pasting of the Jays gives the series win to the Rangers, who have the opportunity to sweep the series in Sunday afternoon’s finale.
Saturday’s game was a topsy-turvey affair. Texas took the early lead with a pair of first inning runs. That lead held until the fifth when the Jays tied the game. Toronto then proceded to go ahead 4-2 with a pair of runs in the sixth. However, Texas came back with three in the bottom of the inning to re-take the lead. All three scored after two were out on three successive solo home runs from (in order) Nelson Cruz, Yorvit Torrealba and Mitch Moreland. It was the second consecutive day for Cruz and Torrealba to hit a round tripper, and it was the seventh time in Ranger history to hit three successive home runs. The lead was short lived though, as Toronto tallied a run off Alexi Ogando, just the fourth he has allowed this year in 26 innings, to tie the game. It stayed tied until the 13th, when the Jays tallied two unearned runs to seemingly take charge of the game.
In the bottom of the 13th, Ian Kinsler walked as the lead-off batter. It was the fifth straight inning the Rangers had put the lead-off batter aboard, but this time he scored, as Elvis Andrus followed with a double to cut the lead to 7-6. That brought up Hamilton, and the rest is history. He blasted a home run onto the center field berm to win the game. It was his league leading 20th home run and 53rd RBI, and it made a winner of Yoshinori Tateyama, his first of the season in his third appearance since being recalled from AAA Round Rock earlier in the week.
The Rangers looked worn out as they dropped two of three in Seattle to start the week and looked offensively challenged doing so. Wednesday’s finale was the end of a schedule stretch of 20 games in 20 days. The combination of Thursday’s off day and the return to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington seems to have jump started the offense. Texas has tallied 22 runs in this series already and has Yu Darvish starting Sunday afternoon in search of the sweep and reaching 12 games over .500 for the first time this season.
The win pushed the Ranger record to 29-18, the sixth time this year that the Rangers have been 11 games over .500. In each of the other five instances, the Rangers lost their next game, such that Sunday’s game provides the opportunity to go 12 games over .500 for the first time this season.
In other games in the division Saturday, Oakland lost to drop seven games behind Texas. The Angels won to climb into second place trailing by 6.5 games in the standings.