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ST28: Rangers pen blows it; we lose to Pirates 11-9

This is a game I thought we had wrapped up, but then our usually stable bullpen threw a major boner and gave up 6 runs in the top of the seventh. We didn’t make any errors today, but our relief pitching wasn’t all that great. Mark Clark looked good today, which was nice, and Ruben Mateo had an absolute bullet in from right field. There was a play where he tried to throw out someone scoring (he didn’t), but the throw was something of beauty. From about mid-deep right field, he one bounced it to the plate – no one touched it, and the bounce was about 3/4 of the way from the pitcher’s mound to the plate. I can’t recall the last time I could see someone who threw like this. Scarbrough Green also made a few really nice defensive catches in center field, too. We were offensively crushed by the Pirates’ non roster player Ivan Cruz who was four for four with a home run and four RBI’s.
Johnny Oates said during the game that he feels that the positions still up for grabs are not going to be decided until after Saturday afternoon’s game (the final pre-season game). Quite frankly, none of the relief pitchers (except Jonathan Johnson) did anything to help themselves today.
There was a nice thing today and yesterday where the TV announcers were hooked up via wireless mikes to various coaches. Over yesterday and today, we got to hear from Johnny Oates, Dick Bosman, Jerry Narron, and one or two others. Gave some nice insight into what they think of the team, and what the first and third base coaches actually say to players when they’re on base.
Rusty Greer had a really nice home run when our first base coach was on the microphone that was really helped out by the wind which brought a very foul ball back in fair for a home run. Pudge also had a solo shot earlier in the game. Overall I felt the Rangers lookd good, especially Mark Clark – but the relief pitching let us down. We sort of mounted a comeback after we were down 11-6, but it wasn’t enough to come back and win the game.
Commentary by Jim Meeks:
Relief pitchers Al Levine, Tim Crabtree and Jeff Zimmerman blew a 3 run Rangers lead and the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated Texas 11-9.
Mark Clark was the starter for Texas and even though he wasn’t terrible, he didn’t pitch well either (5 IP, 3 ER, 7 H). But it was the bullpen that lost the game Sunday.
Offensively, the Rangers banged out 12 hits and continue to smoke the ball this spring. Rusty Greer (2-3, 3 RBI) and Pudge Rodriguez each smashed homers. Rodriguez remains the American League’ top hitter this spring.
Todd Zeile and Lee Stevens added 2 hits each but the 9 runs the Rangers plated just weren’t enough.
The Rangers had only their 3rd errorless game of the spring.