Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Heroes aplenty in gutsy comeback against Athletics

Delino Deshields said Athletics weren’t respecting prospect of bunt

Texas Rangers' Delino Deshields said the Oakland Athletics infield wasn't respecting the prospect of a squeeze bunt with two outs and the go-ahead run at third in the eighth inning Sunday.
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Texas Rangers' Delino Deshields said the Oakland Athletics infield wasn't respecting the prospect of a squeeze bunt with two outs and the go-ahead run at third in the eighth inning Sunday.

Baseball reminded us how beautiful it can be Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.

Just when you were about to head for the exits, change the channel, or finish up a boring game story (that was me!), a drab, Sunday afternoon Texas Rangers’ loss turned into a heroic, come-from-behind win.

A day after Game 2 between the Rangers and Oakland Athletics was washed out by an ugly rainstorm, the ballpark was glistening under sunny, blue skies and 68 degree temperatures. And then the Rangers put their stamp on the afternoon.

They scored four times in the eighth to complete the comeback and they did it in spectacular fashion. Danny Santana, pinch-hitting in his first appearance for the Rangers, ripped a game-tying triple to the right-center gap and scored the go-ahead run with two outs on Delino DeShields’ squeeze bunt.

Oh, and Elvis Andrus stole home in the first inning and and went 3 for 4 with a triple and home run.

Five reactions from Sunday’s thrilling win:

1. Santana delivers

Danny Santana came through in the clutch with a game-tying, two-run triple in his first plate appearance with the Rangers and he was as relaxed in the post-game clubhouse as he was standing in the box in the eighth inning. Santana, 28, was signed as a free agent in January after spending the previous two seasons in the Braves organization. Before that, he spent almost 10 years in the Twins organization. He made his major league debut in 2014 when he played in 101 games for Minnesota but last year was mostly spent in Triple-A. Until Sunday’s plate appearance as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, he hadn’t appeared in a big league game since July.

He was called up from Triple-A Nashville with Rougned Odor and Ronald Guzman.

“There is something about him. He is a special guy with special talent,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “You saw the speed, the power, who he is. Everybody liked him in Spring Training so I am really excited to see what he can do. Moving forward, with Rougie down and Guzie down, he is going to see significant playing time. Hopefully we can get some of the same things out of him.”

2. Elvis triples

Elvis Andrus’ first-inning triple was the 45th of his career. It moved him into sole possession for second all-time for the Rangers. Michael Young leads with 55. Andrus was tied with Ruben Sierra until Sunday. Andrus is batting .414, third-best in the majors, with seven extra-base hits, eight runs, 12 RBIs and four stolen bases through 14 games.

3. Elvis encore

After his triple in the 1st, Andrus stole home on pitcher Brett Anderson’s throw to first base. It’s Andrus fifth steal of home and the 32nd all-time for the Rangers’ franchise. The last time it happened was Ian Desmond on Sept. 3, 2016, against the Astros. Andrus’ first four steals of home came between 2011 and 2015. No other Rangers player has more than two. Bump Wills and Dave Nelson both had two.

“I was just trying to anticipate every time, and I just took that chance,” Andrus said. “I felt like it was important that inning to sneak that run (in). And that’s how I play. I’m not afraid. If I see an opportunity, I’m going to take it, even if I (might) get out, that’s something we’re doing as a team, collectively, right now. I’m always a big fan of that.”

4. Sampson’s struggles

Starter Adrian Sampson allowed seven runs on eight hits, including two home runs, in four innings. He recorded two quick outs in the fourth before walking Jurickson Profar and surrendering four consecutive hits  — three singles and a two-run double — that led to a 7-2 A’s lead. Sampson took Edinson Volquez’s spot in the rotation after faring well in two long relief outings. His first start, however, won’t do much to bolster Texas’ spirits about its rotation, which has a 6.27 ERA, third-highest in the majors.

5. Resilient Rangers

The Rangers have three last at-bat wins already and their five-run comeback Sunday was their largest since overcoming a six-run deficit in a 10-inning win at San Francisco on Aug. 24, 2018. 

Rangers manager Chris Woodward explains why he chose to have Delino Deshields lay down a squeeze bunt in the 8th Sunday.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.