Rangers edge Phillies on Adrian Beltre’s walk-off single
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers couldn’t have drawn up a blueprint for success any better than the 3-2 victory they orchestrated Tuesday night.
Three veteran pieces of the bullpen put the Rangers in position for the win, and then the top of the order did the rest as Adrian Beltre’s walk-off single capped off the first win of the season for the Rangers.
Beltre’s single to right-center scored Shin-Soo Choo with the game winner and capped a night in which the Rangers trailed 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
"Tonight was just a Beltre," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "That’s what he does. He gets big hits for us all the time."
The Rangers put Beltre in position for the big hit by executing in the bottom of the ninth. Choo walked to start the inning and was moved to second on an Elvis Andrus bunt. After Mario Hollands walked Prince Fielder, the Phillies went to right-hander B.J. Rosenberg to face Beltre.
Beltre responded with his second run-scoring hit of the night and helped the Rangers erase the memories of Monday’s 14-10 season-opening loss.
"When you’re hitting in the middle of the lineup, that’s what you’re paid for," said Beltre, who was responsible for two of the seven walk-off wins by Texas last season. "In those situations I feel comfortable. I feel comfortable because I believe I can do it. Most of the time we fail, but somehow I feel comfortable in those situations and I like the challenge."
The Texas pitchers were up to the challenge Tuesday night too.
Left-hander Martin Perez allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings and then turned the game over to the trio of Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria. While Texas has several moving parts in the bullpen, those three are entrenched as the winning pieces and it showed Tuesday.
Frasor came on with runners on second and third in the sixth and got a groundout from Carlos Ruiz to end the inning with the Phillies up 2-0. He then worked a perfect seventh before Cotts worked a scoreless eighth and Soria a scoreless ninth.
He pitched in the ninth inning just eight times last season with Joe Nathan as the Texas closer. But with the game on the line Tuesday, Soria worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
"It felt really good," Soria said. "The whole offseason we prepared for this and now that it’s here you have to enjoy it. I was throwing in the eighth inning and seventh inning (last year) and sometimes we had a chance to come back and win the game or whatever but never for a win or save. You always get up. If you lose that, you have to do something else. You have to have the emotions going on."
There were plenty of positives for the Rangers Tuesday, with the start of Perez standing tall. He didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning and the Phillies didn’t have a runner in scoring position until Cesar Hernandez led off the sixth with a double.
While the Phillies scored two runs in that inning, the damage could have been worse. But Texas manager Ron Washington successfully challenged a pickoff call at second base. Ben Revere was originally called safe on the Perez pickoff attempt. Washington challenged the call and after a review of more than two minutes, Revere was called out.
Choo also starred, reaching base in four of his five at-bats and scoring two runs, including the game winner.
"It was great," Choo said. "Yesterday was a tough game for us."