G16: Rangers bounce back, beat Twins 6-4

Let’s see. The pitching. Well, I thought Aaron Sele was pitching great. Only gave up a couple of hits through the first few, one run. Seemed to be crusing along, and then Johnny Oates took him out. I didn’t catch the pitch count, but I’m hoping that’s the reason, as he didn’t seem to be in really huge trouble when he came out. Still, he got the win, which was nice. Would have been nice to see him get into the 7th, though. Zimmerman, while not as sharp as he usually was came in and got the job done.
The game was actually a tight game up until the top of the 8th – some good baseball, as the Rangers were up only 2-1, on two solo Home runs by Lee Stevens & Todd Zeile, who both seem to be having nice Aprils. We busted it open to 6-1 on a bloop double to right field by Roberto Kelly scoring two, and then another double by Rusty Greer scoring two more. Given the way we were pitching, I thought it was an easy cruise, especially going into the bottom of the 9th still up 6-1. We then had appearances by Munoz (who was OK and appeared in the 8th), and Crabtree (who wasn’t). Both Munoz & Crabtree pitched only 2/3 of an inning, giving up runs (1 for Munoz, 2 for Crabby). Crabtree was rather ineffective, allowing the Twins to get back in the game at 6-4. Wetteland, who wasn’t expected to show because of the score came in and got a save. I liked that we won, but I didn’t like the fall-apart in the bottom of the ninth.
However, the biggest story was Pudge getting wailed upon in the first inning. At the end of the inning, Mark McLemore threw home as Matt Lawton was attempting to score. As Matt hit the plate, he elbowed Pudge in the head trying to score. Pudge managed to hold on to the ball, and the inning was over, but after getting hit by Lawton, he also crashed into the home plate umpire, and then was laying flat on his back on the ground for a good couple of minutes. He eventually got up, and sat in the dugout for a minute or two before heading to the trainer’s room. He looked really dazed there. Later on we found out that he was hit in the same cheekbone that was fractured in 1993 – although Xrays didn’t show anything broken. Pudge reported feeling dizzy, and he’s listed as day to day. That’s good.
Commentary by Jim Meeks:
Aaron Sele bounced back from a poor start last time out and the Rangers held off a 9th inning comeback bid by the Twins and beat them 6-4 Thursday.
Sele pitched almost 6 innings and gave up just 1 run in his stint. Historically, April is his favorite month to pitch and it’s showed this April as well.
The Rangers got homers from Rafael Palmeiro (his third) and Lee Stevens (his fifth). The Rangers however, managed only 6 hits and can now be officially labeled “in a hitting slump as a team”. The Yankees shut down Texas earlier this week.
This is going to sound like a broken record, but rookie Jeff Zimmerman continues to impress. Really good relief pitchers are extremely hard to find. His value to this team is phenomenal and should not be misused nor under appreciated.
It should also be noted that Rusty Greer and Roberto Kelly (who continues to play *well*) each drove in a couple of runs for the Red Shoe.
The Angels lost and Seattle was postponed on Thursday. The Angels, while playing just about each loss close the past week, are struggling offensively, even though Mo Vaughn is playing again. The Rangers remain in first place.