ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers clubbies had work to do Monday night that they haven’t had to do much this season.
They had to clean up the clubhouse after a rare victory beer shower triggered by a walkoff win.
It was a refreshing one for the Rangers, who came into Monday with a lifeless offense and mired in a four-game slide. That’s all in the past now though as Geovany Soto hit a walkoff homer with two outs in the ninth to lift the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
The Soto homer gave the Rangers their second walkoff win of the season and their first victory of the season when trailing after eight innings. They were 0-39 and trailed 3-2 before A.J. Pierzynski led off the bottom of the ninth with a tying homer off Ernesto Frieri to set the stage for the Soto heroics.
Soto then lifted a 3-2 pitch into the left-field corner. The ball just stayed fair and Soto was mobbed at the plate and then drenched in the clubhouse.
“Today was a good game coming from behind,” said Soto, who went 2 for 4 with a double to go along with his homer. “It felt good that walkoff and hopefully it’s something we can build on. Sometimes these things can build the team up and hopefully this is the case.”
The rally salvaged what was shaping up to be another bad night for the Rangers.
They trailed Los Angeles 3-0 in the fifth and their scoreless inning streak had extended to 26 innings, the second-longest drought in club history.
But the Rangers ended that streak in the sixth on an RBI single from Ian Kinsler, got another run back in the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Kinsler, who was moved from leadoff to the No. 3 spot in the order before the game.
That gave them a chance for their first walkoff win since May 5 with a pair of unlikely heroes in Pierzynski and Soto. Pierzynski was 4 for his last 27 and had resorted to biting his bat to keep from swearing after a strikeout in the sixth inning.
And Soto came into the game hitting just .198.
None of that mattered after Monday’s game.
“It had been so frustrating offensively for a while no,” said Pierzynski. “To have a game like that means a lot. I was really happy for Geo to come up in that situation, to do what he did, was obviously needed. It was fun. It was finally fun to be out there again.”
The Rangers had a chance to rally because once again the pitching kept them in the game. Matt Garza, making his second start with Texas, allowed three runs in seven innings. Neal Cotts then worked out of a jam in the eighth inning after he allowed back-to-back singles to open the inning and then got a grounder with the bases loaded.
That gave the offense enough time to find its footing. Through the first five innings the Rangers managed just one single off Jered Weaver. But over the final four frames, they scored all four of their runs and had eight hits.
The win came one day after the Rangers had a team meeting following their second-consecutive shutout in Cleveland. Texas manager Ron Washington liked what he saw from his team throughout the game Monday, but getting a big win makes things even better.
“If it (the walkoff) wouldn’t have happened, I would have been still proud of them,” Washington said. “The way they bounced back. They came out tonight with intent, the way we know we can play. We’ve just got to hold onto it.”