Rangers' rally icing on cake for Young's 2,000th hit

Posted Sunday, Aug. 07, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
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The road to 2,000

A look at Michael Young's year-by-year hit totals:

'01 96
'02 150
'03 204
'04 216
'05 221*
'06 217
'07 201
'08 183
'09 174
'10 186
'11 152

*Led American League in hits Star denotes All-Star selection

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ARLINGTON -- Michael Young's next individual goal is career hit No. 2,001. His overall goal Sunday night was just trying to win a ballgame.

Josh Tomlin was doing his best to prevent that, even though the Cleveland right-hander couldn't prevent Young from collecting his 2,000th career hit.

No. 2,000 might look like a line drive in the box score, but the fact is neither it nor No. 1,999 left the infield grass. That was a sign of how effective Tomlin, a native Texan, had been through the first seven innings.

He hadn't allowed a hard-hit ball and had faced just two more than the minimum. But Tomlin gave the Texas Rangers an opening in the eighth, and the Rangers' bats kept pumping as soon as the door to the visitor's bullpen opened.

The Rangers scored five times in the eighth, all after Tomlin exited, to escape Rangers Ballpark with a 5-3 victory and give Young a win to go with his latest hitting milestone.

"The win means everything," Young said. "I would've come into the clubhouse with no music and guys taking showers, and worrying about tomorrow instead of guys being happy and feeling good about themselves.

"That's the most important thing. Everything revolves around wins, especially the way we did it."

Young became the franchise's all-time hits leader last season. He hit No. 2,000 in the seventh inning with a dribbler down the line. It was a near carbon copy of his hit in the fifth.

He became the 11th fastest since 1900 to reach 2,000 hits, in his 1,621st game. The only right-handed batters to reach 2,000 any quicker were Hall of Famers Al Simmons (1,390) and Rogers Hornsby (1,462).

Young said the fact that the milestone came on a 65-footer doesn't bug him one bit.

"I don't care," he said. "I don't see too many 2,000th-hit replays, do you? Nobody cares about your 2000th hit.

"It means something. I don't want to belittle it, but I'm trying to see the big picture and keep my priorities in line."

Young was underselling the achievement just a bit. The 37,431 in attendance certainly cared, giving him a rousing ovation, and the Rangers unfurled a banner that congratulated Young in center field.

But the Rangers were down 3-0 after the hit. The only other player with a hit against Tomlin to that point was Mike Napoli, who got the eighth-inning rally started with a leadoff walk.

Mitch Moreland followed with a sharp single to center field on a high fastball, and Tomlin was removed despite having thrown 95 pitches in seven stress-free innings.

Joe Smith entered, but the Rangers' bats kept going. Yorvit Torrealba reached on an infield hit to load the bases, and pinch hitter David Murphy followed with an RBI single.

The next hitter, Ian Kinsler, drew a walk to bring home another run, and Elvis Andrus gave the Rangers the lead with a two-run single. Josh Hamilton added an insurance run on a fielder's choice.

"We're capable of that every single inning," Kinsler said

It was a win they needed in order to preserve their one-game lead over Los Angeles in the AL West. But it was also nice to give Young a win, which his is ultimate goal.

"He appreciates everything, but I don't think he's too worried about hits," Kinsler said. "He's worried about World Series championships."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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