Rangers walk way to another home win
When a team's going good sometimes it's going to take unique ways to keep a winning streak going.
That was the case for the Texas Rangers Monday night.
Texas ran its winning streak to five games by getting a walk-off walk from Adrian Beltre in the ninth inning for a 4-3 win. That inning included four Texas baserunners off Seattle's Fernando Rodney despite not getting a ball out of the infield.
The walk capped a night in which the Rangers successfully turned a wheel play in the fifth inning to minimize the damage against Cole Hamels in what was then a 2-2 game. Then in the seventh Shin-Soo Choo threw out Logan Morrison trying to score from third on a fly ball to right field.
It took all of that nuttiness to give Texas its eighth-straight win at home. It also pushed the Rangers three games over .500 for the first time since June 23. And most importantly, Texas is now just three games behind Houston in the American League West.
That's the bottom line, regardless of how they got there.
"We're trying to find a way to win ballgames no matter what," Beltre said. "Our pitching staff has done a great job of keeping us in the game and our offense has been more consistent the last two or three weeks. I think those are the keys why we're playing better and those are the things we need to continue to do if we want to get to the playoffs."
Beltre getting hot helps the offense too. He had three hits and three RBI Monday to raise his average to .270 with his third consecutive multi-RBI game. He had RBI doubles in the first and third and then took advantage of a wild Rodney in the ninth.
Ryan Strausborger opened the inning with a bunt single and Delino DeShields beat out a bunt to put runners on first and second. Rodney then hit Shin-Soo Choo before striking out Prince Fielder. That brought Beltre to the plate.
He ended the game by taking a 3-1 pitch low. It was his second career walk-off walk, with the first coming in 2003 when he was playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That came as news to Beltre.
"I didn't even know if I had one," Beltre said. "I've had one before? I think (Dave) Magadan our hitting coach asked me that question and I said 'I don't know.' I have an answer for him now."
In addition to the dramatic ending Monday's game included the best start for Cole Hamels in a Texas uniform. Hamels allowed three runs in seven innings. He struggled with his command (four walks) but struck out eight and was the beneficiary of some solid defense behind him.
He also came out of the start healthy after being pushed back because of a sore left groin. Hamels knows he wasn't at his best Monday but he was happy to be back pitching in a playoff race.
"My legs felt surprisingly fresh, which they should be," he said. "At the same time, being able to go out there and pitch and make quality pitches is something I haven't been able to do here for the past couple of weeks and it's something I have to work on. You have to really give credit to Choo and a lot of the defensive plays because they kept us in the ballgame and I guess revived everything that I had to do."
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