ARLINGTON, Texas — For three innings Friday night the Texas Rangers looked like the team with the best record in the American League.
Scott Feldman didn’t allow a hit through three innings and Josh Hamilton’s homer got things going as the Rangers led Detroit 2-0.
Unfortunately for the Rangers the rest of the game didn’t look anything like that as Detroit scored the game’s final six runs on its way to a 6-2 victory.
Two dives may have turned the game as Feldman missed on his attempt to grab a grounder off the bat of Andy Dirks and the Tigers ended up scoring four runs in the sixth inning. Nelson Cruz missed on a dive on an Austin Jackson grounder and that led to an inside-the-park homer and a stiff lower back for Cruz, who exited the game.
“I was trying everything I had to try and get it to try and prevent those two guys from coming up after him,” said Feldman of the Dirks single.
The two guys that followed Dirks were Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Feldman (6-7) didn’t have any luck against either of them. The Dirks hit, which was fielded by Ian Kinsler who threw late to first, came with two outs. It was followed by a single to right off the bat of Cabrera to put runners on first and second in a 2-1 game after Feldman had gotten ahead of him 0-2.
He fared much worse against Fielder who hit a 2-1 changeup in to the stands in right to put the Tigers on top for good at 4-2. Feldman was replaced by Robbie Ross, who gave up another run. But by then, the big damage had already been done.
“That jam shot of Dirks, he beat that out,” said Texas manager Ron Washington. “(Miguel) Cabrera fought for his at-bat and I thought he (Feldman) beat him. If it was a normal hitter up there, we probably could have caught that ball. With him (Cabrera) up there we were a little extra deep and it fell. He just made one bad pitch, a changeup he left up to Fielder, that was it.”
The top of the sixth changed the tone of the game as the Rangers, who had seven hits in the first five innings, managed just three singles the rest of the way.
The night didn’t end well for Cruz either. He thought he had a play on Jackson’s one-out liner in the seventh, but his dive didn’t pay off as the ball bounced in front of him and then rolled all the way to the wall. Jackson became the first opponent to have an inside-the-park homer at Rangers Ballpark since Grady Sizemore in 2006.
Cruz then dropped a pop up later in the inning before leaving. The good news is that Cruz hopes to be back in the lineup Saturday.
That was little consolation to him after the game though.
“I felt like my lower body went over my front part,” Cruz said. “I just tried to catch it. As soon as he hit it I thought I was good and then went I went to dive I was like ‘dang’. The ball kind of sunk a little bit. I guess it wasn’t a good idea.”
It was all good for the Rangers early. Hamilton’s 31st homer put Texas up 1-0 in the first and Elvis Andrus added an RBI single off Max Scherzer in the third to double the Texas lead.
Feldman (6-7) was also cruising. He allowed a run in the fourth but went into the sixth having thrown just 68 pitches. He wouldn’t finish the inning though and was on the losing end of a decision for the first time since June 14.
“We didn’t win the game so it’s not a pleasing performance,” Feldman said. “I was close to getting out of that inning a couple of times. They kept it going and ultimately it was the big inning there. I threw the ball well for the majority of the game but the Prince pitch I wish I could have back.”