BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers recorded their most improbable win of the season on Sunday afternoon to take the series with the Colorado Rockies two games to one. Despite the series win, the blistering hot Houston Astros completed a 10-game road trip undefeated pushing the Rangers a game farther down in the standings. The Rangers are now 19 games out of first place in the American League West.
The fairy tale story of this series though was a little known double-A catcher. Jose Trevino, the Rangers’ top minor league catching prospect, was driving to Frisco’s Dr. Pepper Ballpark Friday afternoon expecting to play for the AA Rough Riders that night. On the way, he received a phone call from Frisco manager Joe Mikulik summoning Trevino to is office when he arrived at the park.
It was a life changing phone call. The message was that Trevino would be playing Friday night in Arlington instead of Frisco. Ranger catcher Robinson Chirinos had been bowled over by the Dodgers Matt Kemp Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The bench clearing fracas that ensued earned Chirinos a one-game suspension. Chirinos was sore from the collision and needed Friday night off anyway, so he accepted the suspension to get it out of the way.
Trevino then was to be Carlos Perez’s backup Friday night. The thought was Trevino would get a taste of the Major Leagues from the Rangers’ bench Friday night and return to Frisco on Saturday. It was supposed to be a one day trip to the Majors.
However, fate stepped in. Perez injured his ankle in the second inning on a tag play. He finished the inning on the field, but when his turn at bat came in the bottom of the inning, Trevino pinch hit and played the balance of the game at catcher.
Trevino had a nondescript game going 0-4. Texas plated five runs in the first inning, getting two run home runs from Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo. The 5-0 lead didn’t last long however, as Colorado came back with six runs in the second inning, tagging Yohander Mendez, who came up from AAA Round Rock to make the start.
Mendez was out after three innings, and the Rangers never scored again. 9-5 was the final score, with Mendez (0-1) taking the loss.
On Saturday, Perez was placed on the 10-day disabled list, so Trevino’s stay in the Majors was extended. Chirinos was still sore, so Perez got his first Major League start instead of returning to Frisco.
Mike Minor pitched his best game for the Rangers Saturday. He gave up two runs over seven innings. The Texas bats were quiet against Rockies’ starter Kyle Freeland, who shut the Rangers out over the first six innings. The Rockies scratched out single runs in the second and sixth innings to take a 2-0 lead into the seventh.
Rougned Odor led off with a triple and cut the Rockies’ lead in half when Isiah Kiner-Falefa doubled him home. Kiner-Falefa later scored the tying run on Trevino’s ground ball single, his first Major League hit and RBI.
An inning later, the Rangers tagged the Rockies’ bullpen for three more runs, taking a 5-2 lead. DeShields walked leading off the inning and went to second on a Profar single. Adrian Beltre then tripled both runners home, and Guzman completed the scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Jose LeClerc and Keone Kela shut down Colorado in the eighth and ninth innings to secure the win. LeClerc is 2-2 with the win, and the save was Kela’s 15th.
Sunday afternoon’s Fathers’ Day matinee was a warm game. Chirinos was able to play. It was one of those days when pitchers just could not have any success. John Gray started for Colorado and was sharp for five innings, allowing just a run. The Rockies backed him with five runs. In the sixth though, Gray fell apart, as the Rangers put a five spot on the board to take the lead.
The momentum of overtaking the Rocks on the scoreboard didn’t last long. Colorado came back in the seventh inning with five runs of their own to take a 10-6 lead. Alex Claudio started the inning, but retired neither of the two batters he faced. LeClerc followed and gave up hits to four of the five batters he faced. When smoke had cleared, Claudio was charged with two runs and LeClerc was charged with three.
Texas drew within a run by scoring three in the seventh inning, but the Rockies pushed across two insurance runs in the ninth inning. They led 12-9 and sent their closer Wade Davis to the mound to wrap it up.
Davis is one of the best closers in the game, but on Sunday afternoon, he couldn’t find the plate. He ended up throwing 38 pitches, only 15 of which (39%) were strikes. He gave up a hit and walked four batters to pull the Rangers within a run at 12-11.
Adrian Beltre had pinch hit for Chirinos in the eighth inning, so Trevino caught the ninth. His turn in the batting order came up again in the Rangers’ half of the inning. The bases were still loaded, and Trevino blooped a single into no man’s land in left center field. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was the runner on second, and he got a good read on the hit, and didn’t hesitate to see if it would be caught. He scored the game winner without a play, and Trevino was the center of a mass of players celebrating the improbable win.
Jesse Chavez (3-1) was the winning pitcher for Texas.
The Rangers now go on the road for six games starting with three in Kansas City. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Bartolo Colon on Monday, Cole Hamels on Tuesday and Yohander Mendez on Wednesday.
ROSTER MOVES: The weekend was filled with roster moves. Prior to the series STARTING, Hanser Alberto was sent to AAA Round Rock to make room for Friday’s starting pitcher, Johander Mendez, to be added to the Rangers’ roster. The hole in Round Rock’s starting rotation left by Mendez’s promotion was filled with waiver claim of Deck McGuire from the Toronto Blue Jays. Martin Perez was moved from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for McGuire.
Trevino was called up Friday to be the back-up catcher with Chirinos serving the one game suspension for his part in Wednesday’s collision at home plate and the bench clearing that ensued.
Relievers Chris Martin and Matt Bush were also placed on the 10-day disabled list. That made room on the active roster for Trevino and reliever Brandon Mann, who was called up from Round Rock.
Mann was returned to AAA Round Rock on Sunday and Doug Fister was moved from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the active roster and 40-man roster for Yovanni Gallardo, who started Sunday’s game.
Elvis Andrus is expected to be activated from the disabled list when the Rangers go to Kansas City this week. To make room for him on the active roster, Ryan Rua was sent to Round Rock after Sunday’s game, and Deck McGuire was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
* The Rangers are now 2-3 in inter-league play this season, and have an all-time record of 19-17 against Colorado, including 11-7 in Arlington.
* Shin-Soo Choo reached base in all three games to extend his streak to 31 consecutive games of reaching base. That’s the second longest streak of the Major League season, trailing Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera, who reached base in 40 consecutive games.