G148: Rangers win wild one against Royals, 12-11

Now this game I was at. I drove to the game actually not knowing who was starting for the Rangers, which is odd for me – as I’m usually up on this. Been rather busy with a few things of late, and haven’t been paying as much attention to the Rangers at this stage of the game (let’s say that a crappy season wears on the fan web sites too – it’s hard to write about a bad team as much. I suppose if I was getting paid for it, I’d be doing it, but since I do this for my own fun, eh.. )
Anyway, when I found out that Darren Oliver was pitching, I thought “OH god, we’ll be down 7-2 by the fourth”. Well, guess what? We weren’t. Darren actually pitched well, and looked like he belonged here. Darren gave up a bunch of hits, but seemed to get the outs when he needed ’em. When he came out of the game, I felt like he could have stayed in – which was an odd feeling for 2000 – or for 1998, too. :D However, our bullpen was crap. Darwin Cubillan was totally ineffective, and when Jeff Zimmerman came on, he inherited three baserunners. One pitch later, and all four were home, along with the batter – a first pitch salami ball to Damon. Mike Venafro, who came in later, threw one pitch – that pitch hitting Damon (who later scored). What a mess.
We blew our rather large lead, which we had built up with a 5 run first, and a few runs over the next few for a 9-1 lead in the top of the 6th. Our first five batters all scored – it was 5-0 with no outs in the bottom of the first, and with no outs, too! After the fifth, we were up 9-1, and life was feeling pretty good. Then the rails fell off – we gave up a 7 spot in the top of the 6th to bring the Royals to within one. We then topped off the fiasco with two more runs in the top of the 8th, giving the Royals a lead – setting up the worst loss we’d ever given up a lead to get.
However, we came through with one run in the bottom of the 9th. Just when we were feeling good about ourselves again, the Royals went and got yet another run in the top of 10th off and increasingly ineffective John Wetteland. Given the way we usually perform in extra inning games, I figured that was it. Another Wetteland gaffe, and we lose.
However, we showed some spirit in the bottom of the 10th when Pedro Valdes reached first on an infield single, and then went to third on a double by Raffy. Gabe “Mr. RBI” came up, and sac flied to right, scoring Valdes to tie the game. After Ricky Ledee was intentionally walked, Kelly Dransfeldt came up, and slapped a single to left, scoring a rambling Rafael Palmeiro, who chugged all the way from second to score the winning run.
We used a ton of players in this game – we used every position player except Bill Haselman, who was unofficially done for the season anyway with surgery scheduled for Monday. Boy, I have to say that if we make a coaching change with Dick Bosman, I’d love to see Bill Haselman take over – I think he’d be a great pitching coach.
Overall a great game to sit in the ballpark and watch – but I would have rather won without giving up quite so many runs.