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G18: Rangers back to losing; drop 5-4 game to Twins

Well, our early season slide continues. I remember saying when we started the season that we’d at best do .500, and it turns out I’m going to be more than right. We’d need to take 5 of the final 6 games of the month just to get to .500, and the way we’re playing, I don’t see it happening.
When I read that we’d be playing against Brad Radke, I kind of figured it would be a good pitching game, as Radke is the best they have, even though he hasn’t been terribly dominating against us lately. Still, he went out there and pitched really well, allowing only one run and a few scattered hits through the 8 innings he pitched. He allowed the first two batters in the 9th to get on, so he was pulled. Royce Clayton (more on him in a minute) hit a three run home run in the bottom of the 9th to make it 5-4, but quite honestly, the game was nowhere near as close as this score indicates. Most of our innings were 1-2-3, or if not, we only sent 4. Radke never pitched more than 16 pitches in any one inning, and he was not completely dominating, but dominating enough to keep the Rangers from getting on any kind of track offensively.
On the other side, Darren Oliver pitched, and also seemed to be pretty much in control. As I recall (I don’t have my scorecard with me now) the runs he gave up weren’t really of the bad nature – I know there was a bloop single to left that scored two runs with the bases loaded, but that was the worst thing that appeared to happen. I felt that Darren pitched a pretty good game, but was again the victim of no run support.
Frank Catalanotto was placed on the DL after yesterday’s game, and Mike Lamb was brought up, and he started third. He got a bloop single in his first ever ML at bat (which they announced at the Ballpark after it happened); however he also made his first ML error in the game. Was nice to see Lamb in his first at-bat. My wife loves rooting for underdogs, and new players, and she got a kick out of this. Two defensive gems – an awesome running catch by Gabe Kapler in right early in the game, where he dove for a ball got big applause. There was also a nice diving catch by Jason McDonald in left field. The Rangers also turned a few more double plays, which we seem to be doing a lot of this year. Raffy had his usual one triple per season this year – he barely missed a home run to left center – their left fielder missed the ball on the wall, and it rolled away from him, allowing the triple.
Even though we lost, I enjoyed the game, because I was there on free tickets (remember that contest the Rangers ran recently in the paper where you could win season tickets? I didn’t win, but I got four free tickets from them as a “Hey, thanks for entering” consolation. Gave two to a co-worker and friend of mine, and he brought his son), and even though it was a bright sunny day game, my seats were in the shade, so it wasn’t too bad. :) Can’t beat free tickets ever.

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