Oakland’s Walk-Off Home Run Beats The Rangers Wednesday
BY: Dic Humphrey
Thursday afternoon, Oakland’s Brandon Hicks tagged his first Major League home run leading off the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie. It was the Major League leading ninth walk-off win this year for the A’s and it gave Oakland a split in this two game series with the Rangers. The Rangers record fell to 55-36 for the season and 3-2 on the current road trip. Texas has now won four of six games since the season high five-game losing streak shortly before the All-Star break.
Colby Lewis came off the disabled list to start for Texas. He lasted five innings, allowing a lone run, and left in line for a win with the Rangers leading 3-1. “In that fourth and fifth inning, you could see he was tired a little bit; but up until then he executed his pitches,” Manager Ron Washington said about Lewis’s first start in more than two weeks. Lewis struck out three, walked two and threw 75 pitches.
The bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, as the A’s came back to tie the game in the seventh inning. Josh Reddick doubled off Alexi Ogando to drive home two runs. Ogando simply did not have command of his pitches, and clearly left the ball Reddick hit over the fat part of the plate. It was just the fifth blown save for the Ranger bullpen this year and the first in two months. Ironically, the last blown save came on a Josh Reddick home run off Alexi Ogando on May 17.
The Rangers offense mustered just eight hits, six of which were singles. Both extra base hits were doubles. Nelson Cruz was the only Ranger with a multi-hit game. He drove in a run, as did Craig Gentry and Michael Young.
In game one, Roy Oswalt was the story. He pitched his best game as a Ranger in his fifth start. He threw six scoreless innings, and then gave up a lead-off home run to start the seventh inning. He faced and retired one more batter before turning the game over to the bullpen. For the outing, he struck out six and walked none. Indeed, he looked like the Roy Oswalt that was one of the National League’s best pitchers for a decade. Certainly, the Athletics are offensively challenged, but it was a very encouraging performance for Texas. The win moved his record to 3-1, and the Rangers are 4-1 in his five starts.
Offensively, the Rangers scored more than four runs in a game for the first and only time in July. The Rangers banged out nine hits including home runs from Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton. Craig Gentry was the only Ranger with more than one hit. He drove in a run and his speed led to another that he scored. Hamilton’s home run was a solo shot, but he drove in another with a sac fly. Those two at bats came after he struck out the first three times at bat, his 9th, 10th and 11th strikeouts of the month in 11 games.
Texas gets a second off day this week on Thursday. It’s the last week of the season with two scheduled off days; and in fact, there are just five more off days until season’s end. This weekend, the road trip concludes with a three-game set in Los Angeles, a series that is the most prominent in baseball this weekend. Texas and Los Angeles are among the top five teams in baseball, and they will be playing head to head for the division title. The FOX network will televise Saturday’s game, while ESPN has chosen Sunday’s game for their national telecast in the evening. The pitching matchups are:
Friday Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57) vs. Jered Weaver (11-1, 2.25)
Saturday Yu Darvish (10-6, 3.96) vs. Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.60)
Sunday Matt Harrison (12-4, 2.87 vs. TBD
- Texas activated Alexi Ogando on Tuesday and Colby Lewis on Wednesday. To make room on the active roster, Yorvit Torrealba was placed on the paternity leave list and Martin Perez was optioned. Torrealba is expected to return for the Los Angeles series this weekend, at which time it is anticipated that Luis Martinez will be returned to AAA Round Rock.
- Koji Uehara was expected to be activated Tuesday, but a pre-game throwing session did not go well. He reportedly stopped the session early and left clutching his throwing shoulder. He will be examined, but undoubtedly will go back to the minor leagues for more re-hab appearances before returning to the active roster.
- Texas dominated their West Division foes in 2011, finishing 40-17 against Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle. This year, divisional opponents have been much more problematic, as the Rangers currently are only 16-15. They are 7-6 against Seattle, 6-6 verses Oakland and 3-3 in the six they have played with Los Angeles.
- Forbes Magazine recently published their list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises, and the Rangers made the list at number 50 with an estimated value of $674 million. The Mets (49), Phillies (48), Cubs (36), Red Sox (24), Dodgers (6) and Yankees (3) are the other Major League teams on the list. The Dallas Cowboys tied the Yankees for third place at $1.85 billion. Manchester United ($2.23 billion) was first.