Adrian Sampson: ‘We have the same first name so I pretended like they were rooting for me’
On a day Adrian Beltre’s No. 29 was retired by the Texas Rangers, another player named Adrian just about overshadowed the future Hall of Fame third baseman.
OK, maybe not. But Adrian Sampson put in a beauty of a performance Saturday night in the Rangers 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics in front almost 40,000 in attendance at Globe Life Park.
They may have come for Beltre, but Sampson gave them an equally impressive show. The right-hander held the Athletics to one run on four hits and a walk in his first-career complete game. He retired the last 12 batters of the game. It’s the first complete game thrown by a Texas rookie since Chi Chi Gonzalez in 2015. He struck out seven and gave a reprieve to the Rangers’ bullpen on a doubleheader day. He improved to 5-3 with the win.
“I just feed off the energy,” Sampson said. “Obviously, today was all about him. We have the same first name so I was pretending they were rooting for me instead. Hunter [Pence] talks about it all the time, visualize playoff atmosphere. And when you have a big crowd like that, everybody is cheering like that, it makes it a little easier. But I just feed off that kind of stuff.”
It’s the second complete game by a Rangers pitcher this season. Mike Minor threw a shutout on April 16.
More importantly for the Rangers, they improved to a season-high five games above .500 at 34-29 with a sweep of the split double-header. Texas beat Oakland 10-5 earlier in the day. The two losses pushes the Athletics back to under .500 at 32-33.
The teams finish the four-game series at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Rangers offense wasn’t exactly gangbusters after scoring 10 runs on 11 hits in the early game. Danny Santana had two of the team’s five hits, including an RBI triple in the sixth that gave Texas a two-run lead. Jeff Mathis’ RBI single and Delino DeShields’ sacrifice fly in the fifth gave Texas a 2-1 lead.
Sampson’s only mistake of the night was a solo homer to Mark Canha in the fourth.
“I can’t overstate the importance of that game right there,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He was phenomenal, very similar to what he was last time. Very efficient, throwing strikes, commanding both sides, commanding his slider, a lot of swing-and-miss, a lot of weak contact.”