August 12, 2012

Olt's pinch-hit single in ninth wins it for Texas Rangers

Derek Holland pitches a solid game after a leadoff homer.

ARLINGTON -- Mike Olt got the beer shower and the glory.

After all, the rookie came through with a clutch, two-out single that gave the Rangers a 2-1 walkoff victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

But Derek Holland and Mike Adams were just as important.

Holland matched Tigers starter Justin Verlander all night, allowing one run over 7 2/3 innings. And Adams worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied at 1-1.

In the bottom half, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young drew walks against Tigers reliever Brayan Villarreal. With David Murphy due up, Detroit brought in lefty Phil Coke. The Rangers countered with pinch hitter Craig Gentry, who couldn't lay down a sacrifice bunt and flew out.

Geovany Soto struck out, and Olt came in to pinch hit for Mitch Moreland. Olt fell behind early in the count, 1-2, before fouling off four of the next five pitches. Coke then threw a curveball that Olt shot through the left side of the infield to bring in Cruz.

"I wasn't antsy like I had been the last couple of games," Olt said. "I felt good up there. I've never really pinch-hit before, so I got the call. I focused the whole game in case I got something late. I was prepared.

"To be able to help the team win is always a good thing."

Said manager Ron Washington: "For a young kid, he looked calm to me, not overwhelmed. He recognized that Coke was trying to get him out with the breaking balls. He sat there and battled and got a breaking ball [he could handle]."

An unusual sequence of events unfolded in the top half in which the Rangers used three relievers.

Alexi Ogando started the inning, retiring Omar Infante and then walking Miguel Cabrera. With Prince Fielder up, the Rangers turned to Robbie Ross for the lefty-lefty matchup. Ross, though, walked Fielder and began an at-bat against Delmon Young before Adams came in with a 1-0 count.

Young singled to right off Adams to load the bases with one out. Adams got out of it by getting pinch hitter Brennan Boesch to ground into a fielder's choice and Jhonny Peralta to fly out.

"It was a little interesting, but it worked out," Adams said. "I was supposed to start the batter [Young] in the beginning so it was a little bit different. Just had to bear down and was able to make a pitch to Boesch and get Peralta to fly out."

Washington said he initially stuck with Ross because he wanted to give him a chance to build back some confidence, but pulled the plug after ball one.

"I put Mike Adams in a very tough situation, but he rose to the occasion," Washington said. "That was one heck of an inning Mike threw."

Holland threw one heck of a game.

As he had in his past four starts, though, Holland gave up a home run. It came to the first batter, Austin Jackson, who ripped a solo shot to left. Infante then singled.

Holland wasn't too pleased with himself at that point, knowing he had the stuff to work deep into the game.

"Very upset with myself after the home run," he said. "I left a pitch for Jackson to hit. But I kept my cool and didn't get as [mad] as I usually do."

It showed, as Holland settled down and retired 22 of the next 24 batters, including nine on strikeouts.

He worked out of jams in the fourth and fifth when the leadoff batter reached. He walked Cabrera to start the fourth, but retired the next three. In the fifth, Peralta led off with a single. Once again, Holland got out of it by getting Andy Dirks to ground out and Gerald Laird to ground into a double play.

Holland finished his night by retiring the final 10 batters, exiting with nobody on and two outs in the eighth.

The Rangers had tied the game at 1-1 in the third on a broken-bat RBI single by Cruz.

"He stood up for us when we needed him to and he did," Washington said. "He was competing hard. I hated to go get him in the seventh, but I'd hate for one pitch to get away in that situation."

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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