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G28: Rangers have comeback for the ages, beat A’s 17-16

Good lord! What a game! I was actually at this one, and for the last three innings, I could do nothing more than shake my head. This game was so bizarre, it was a complete roller coaster of emotions ride. This was one of those games where you didn’t seem to notice the pitching – this was an offensive game all around.
It started off strong early – with the Rangers getting out to a 5-0 lead with our first 5 spot frame of the year (I think). It felt good, actually. I thought the five runs we scored in the seconnd inning would be enough to win the game. However, in the fourth and fifth, Darren Oliver (who I mistakenly did not activate in my fantasy team – good thing) gave up a few jacks, and the game was tied up at 5 again. However, in the bottom of the fifth, we came back with several singles, and picked up two runs, going back up 7-5. I thought that was nice, because Darren Oliver was coming out top of the 6th, and we scored before he was officially replaced, so he could get the win.
In comes Matt Perisho. Everyone seems high on Matt, but my gut feeling has always told me he won’t be a big league pitcher all that long. I still can’t get the 98 appearance (when the Rangers also tried Todd Van Poppel) where he gave up 11 or 12 runs in less than two, and he more or less did exactly the same thing again. Matt was bad – walking four guys in the span of his time (could have been more, I don’t have my notes here). The first inning he pitched, he walked the bases full, and then Grieve doubled, scoring all three walks – just to complete it, a home run to Jeremy Giambi brought the A’s to being up by 3 with a 2 run home run. Perisho’s next inning was worse, giving up five more runs, putting us down by a score of 15-7.
At this point, it felt really bleak. However, the next pitch up, Pudge hit a home run on the first pitch of the 7th, and just that one seemed a big momentum builder. Funny, scoring 16 runs, and this was the only one that came off the long ball. We went on to score two more runs in this inning to bring it to 15-10. Still five down, but feeling “Well, maybe it could happen”. Zim gave up the home run to put us 6 back again, and it was like “Oh well”. However, the Rangers didn’t give up (but a lot of fans did; it seemed to empty out after 15-7), put put up a 6 spot (our first of the year) in the bottom of the 8th. Oakland used a ton of different pitchers that inning (four I think), and it didn’t matter – we kept hitting. Singles everywhere, along with a good sac bunt by Jason McDonald in the middle of it, and we had tied the game up. The moment they tied it up, sitting in the stands, you felt that the entire crowd was really proud of the Rangers – I just got this very cool vibe when the score was tied up.
The 9th was also a blast, because Wetteland came in and shut down the A’s, allowing no runs with a strikeout, and a few fly outs. In the bottom of the 9th, however we got it going right away with a single off the bat of Chad Curtis. Pudge grounded into a fielder’s choice (a close call – was almost a dp), and then after a walk, and an error by the pitcher, we had the bases loaded. At this point (and especially after their pitcher ran the count to 3-0), the place was as loud as I had ever heard it – and the place was about half full at this point. It was a great moment, the anticipation. You know everyone wanted to just bust out and do something. Mike Lamb was brought in to pinch hit for Tom Evans (who went 3 for 4), and worked the count to 3-0. The A’s had done the extreme defensive positioning of having only two outfielders, three fielders on the right side of the diamond, and two on the left (all five on the grass). After a strike call, Lamb hit the ball out into the right field gap for the win! I did see him with his arms in the air, and at this point the place went )@#%)@$% nuts! Words couldn’t really explain this one – it was just such an emotional rollercoaster, I felt drained at the end of the game waiting for the (real) post game fireworks. I was really really glad I was at this one in person. Driving to the game, I felt it was going to be rained out. It wasn’t, and boy am I glad of that.
A few notes.. This was the largest come from behind win in club history, coming back from 8 runs down to win. Every Ranger scored at least once (as did all the A’s). Every pitcher in the game except Wetteland (there were ten of them) gave up at least one run, with Matt Perisho having the worst line (2 IP, 16 batters faced, 10 of them scored (7 earned), and Jeff Zimmerman gave up what appears to have become his one home run per appearance. Of the 17 runs scored by the Rangers, only one came via long ball. This ties the total number of combined runs in a game at 33 (the Rangers beat the Orioles 26-7 a couple of seasons ago). The only game I ever witnessed that had more runs was a game back in 1976 where the Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 23-22 in Wrigley Field. :)
Lost in all this is the fact that David Segui didn’t play due to an injury – oh great. Another one. :( :(

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