The 7-5 victory the Texas Rangers snatched away from the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night was their second improbable win of the road trip.
The Rangers rallied to beat Seattle on Saturday 2-1 despite being down to their final strike. Prince Fielder knocked a homer to tie it, and Rougned Odor won it in the 11th with another solo homer.
Four homers and 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief fueled the Rangers on Wednesday.
So which win was better? I guess that depends on how you like your baseball.
If you like power, from the offense and the bullpen, both games should be satisfying.
Fans of starting pitching and defense probably lean toward Saturday.
Either way, they were both entertaining for Rangers fans and impartial observers.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Wednesday.
1. MLB doesn’t do three stars after each game like the NHL does. If there had been three Wednesday for the Rangers, they would have been Nick Martinez, Odor and Robinson Chirinos.
Odor isn’t a complete surprise, though how he did contributed might have been, but Chirinos and Martinez are. A week earlier, both had been in the minor leagues.
Chirinos was finishing a rehab assignment and was activated the next day. He didn’t homer while rehabbing and went 2 for 21 in six games, but has hit three homers in the past two games.
His first Wednesday gave the dugout some energy en route to a five-run rally that tied the game, manager Jeff Banister said, and the second gave the Rangers the lead after Martinez had gone out and posted a zero in the A’s half of the sixth.
Odor’s first homer was a two-run shot the other way, and that opposite-field power is something new he has shown the Rangers this season. His second homer was hammered to right field off hard-throwing lefty Sean Doolittle.
Odor leads the team with 12 homers and has 27 in his last 149 games since he returned from Triple A last season. Wednesday was the one-year anniversary.
“We’re seeing the opposite-field power show up more this year,” Banister said. “The consistency of it is going to be the key.”
The five-run sixth that erased a 5-0 hole came on 20 pitches against Sonny Gray, who had allowed three hits in five innings and was 7-3 lifetime against the Rangers. A’s manager Bob Melvin called the collapse shocking.
It was, especially with who it came from (Chirinos) and how it was accomplished (Odor the other way) and that the A’s offense couldn’t respond against a pitcher (Martinez) who was in the minors Tuesday.
2. I didn’t need to look at my notifications on the Twitter to see the angst Derek Holland caused when he allowed five runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings, but I looked anyway.
Guess what I found? Angst.
The people weren’t the only ones upset. Holland was fuming, too.
No, he wasn’t mad at Banister as he left the mound in disgust. Holland said that he respects the manager’s decision to removed him but was frustrated that he didn’t pitch well enough to last.
He left down only 3-0, though the two runners he left would score, and allowed only four hits. But Holland walked three and threw 92 pitches. Ugh.
For Holland, it boiled down to not executing pitches. He said it was not a mechanical issue that caused his woes, which were an extension of the problems he had Friday at Seattle in a loss.
One tweet to me asked when A.J. Griffin is scheduled to return, the implication, of course, being that Griffin will take Holland’s rotation spot and bump the left-hander to the bullpen.
Griffin needs two more rehab starts. He tired Tuesday at the 60-pitch mark, which he reached with no outs in the fourth. That’s not good enough to be in the Rangers’ rotation after only one more start on assignment.
The Rangers will have a decision to make late this month. Holland might want to pitch better his next couple times out to make sure he’s not in the discussion.
3. Adrian Beltre will return to the Rangers’ lineup Thursday even though he said there is still some pain in his strained left hamstring. I’ve written before that he should be on the disabled list, and others have the same sentiment, but Beltre and the Rangers feel otherwise.
Beltre definitely feels OK, though, based on what he said Wednesday. It’s same thing he always says when he’s fighting through an injury.
“It’s good enough,” he said.
Anyone who watched the two videos I shot with my trusty iPhone and my steady right hand might have thought Beltre was tersely answering the media’s questions. He was, kind of, but it’s part of the schtick he has with the media.
Or so we hope.
I’ve said it before: Beltre is terrific when he does talk. His veteran insight in invaluable to writers, and he’s usually very honest. And he does it in English, his second language, and does it much better than he believes he does.
He also manages injuries better than anyone in the game. That process starts Thursday.