For much of Shin-Soo Choo's on-base streak, he has been crushing the baseball or working a walk.
When he came to the plate with two outs in the top of the ninth his 46-game on-base streak was in jeopardy.
Choo, who was 0 for 4 leading up to the at-bat, only got his fifth at-bat because Ronald Guzman singled in front of him. Carlos Tocci then struck out, making way for Choo, who fell behind 0-1 before tapping a dribbler to third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who did not attempt a throw.
Choo reached for an infield single to break a tie with Julio Franco and set a Rangers' record. Oh, and the Rangers won the game 3-0 to split the four-game series at Comerica Park.
The Rangers' dugout erupted as soon as Choo made contact, with teammates Adrian Beltre and others screaming for Choo to run hard down the line to beat a potential throw. Choo has been nursing a sore right quadriceps muscle for over a week.
"I heard them yelling to me to run hard but they know I'm not 100 percent with my leg condition. I think they're more excited than myself," said Choo, who has the longest on-base streak in the majors since former Reds' teammate Joey Votto had a 48-game streak in 2015. "So I’m really appreciative of my teammates. I'll give him a big hug and take care of [Guzman]."
Choo reached on an error in the second inning but that isn't included in the Rangers' on-base streak records.
"We were kind of bummed it didn’t happen [in the second inning]," said Beltre, who singled in the eighth to tie Dave Winfield for No. 20 all-time with 3,110 career hits. "We had a slim chance for him to get another at-bat and we were all chanting for him in the dugout and the way it happened was unbelievable."
Beltre said the dugut out was scared and excited at the same time when Choo made contact knowing he's not running well at them oment.
"We were like, 'Oh no! Be careful but run fast,' because we wanted it to happen but at the same time we didn’t want to lose him [to injury]," he said. "We're glad he didn’t get hurt and he got his hit."
Choo broke Franco's single-season Rangers' record set from July 28-Sept. 15, 1993.
"A lot of things have to go right in streaks," said Rangers' manager Jeff Banister, who was ejected by homeplate umpire in the second inning after arguing that Carlos Tocci was not running inside the line towards first. "[Choo's] second at-bat looked like it could have been a bad hop. [The call] could have gone either way."
Choo grounded out in the first, reached on an E3 in the second and flew out to the track in left field in the fourth. The Rangers lead 3-0 after score a run in the first and two in the second as starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx held the Tigers scoreless for 5 1/3. Jose Leclerc and Jake Diekman combined for 2 2/3 of scoreless relief before to move the game to the top of the ninth. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Guzman and Carlos Tocci were due up. One of them needed to get on base and the others had to stay out of a double play to give Choo one more chance. Kiner-Falefa flew out before Guzman singled to left-center field after falling behid in the count.
"I had it in my head," said Guzman, who had three of the Rangers' eight hits and an RBI. "I didn't want it to be a 1-2-3 at-bat. I was just trying not to do too much. It's unbelievable what he's been doing. It's really, really fun to watch and I'm happy he got that hit in his last at-bat."
The last longer streak in the American League was Kevin Millar's 52-game stretch for the Orioles in 2007.
The last time Choo didn't reach base at least once was May 12 when he went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts against the Astros in Houston. He struck out looking three times against Charlie Morton, who had 14 strikeouts that night.
Since May 13, however, Choo has 61 hits, including 12 home runs and 11 doubles, 41 walks and 26 RBIs in 46 games.
His batting average has risen from .239 (on May 12) to .293.
"You'e not going to have a streak this long without getting some things like that," said Banister, who presented Choo the historic ball in the clubhouse. "These type of things take on a life of their own. He's the one in the middle of it but he's got 24 players, coaching staff, training staff and an entire organization rooting for him every time he has an opportunity to go to the plate. The different ways he's been able to do it every day is pretty astounding."
Choo's on-base percentage is .470 during the stretch and his .402 OBP is fourth in the AL. Choo is one of three players in the AL with minimum slash line of .290/.400/.500. The others: the Angels' Mike Trout and the Red Sox's Mookie Betts.
"To break that record would be great but as I've said many times, I'm just trying to help the team, especially in my job hitting in the lead-off spot," Choo said. "Wherever I hit [in the lineup], getting on base is always my goal, but especially hitting lead-off I feel even more that I have to get on base."
The previous two games Choo didn't wait long to extend his streak. On Friday, he hit the second pitch of the game for a homer. On Saturday, he drove the first pitch off the wall for a double. Choo's previous single-season on-base streak was 28 games in 2007 for the Indians. He also had a 35-game on-base streak that went from 2012 into 2013. Choo has downplayed the streak and said if he lines out five times in a game, it's OK because he's hitting the ball hard.
"That’s nice to do but I can’t do it by myself. It’s my teammates, how the game is going, the umpires. A lot of things help," he said. "These kinds of records the baseball Gods give. So I’m not really thinking about it. I can’t do it by myself."
The major league record for consecutive games on-base is 84 by Ted Williams in 1949.