G58: Late inning heroics lift Rangers, 4-2

As I’ve said many many times before, I detest going up against young pitchers on other teams, making either their major league debuts, or have only pitched a game or two. These guys knock us out. Tonight was no different.
We went up against KC rookie Bobby Keppel. who I believe was making only his third or fourth start. And, true to form, he kept us off the board. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though; we had several balls to the warning track that died just before going over the fence. Still, we were shut out for 8+ innings.
Keppel went into the ninth, and gave up a single to the first batter he faced, Hank Blalock. Following that, Buddy Bell went to his bullpen and brought in Ambiroix Burgos. While I understand Bell’s decision to go to the pen in the ninth with your rookie protecting just a two run lead, the Royals’ pen has the worst ERA in the American League (what a stunner), with about a 6. Burgos came in, gave up a single to DeRosa, struck out Wilkerson, and then hit Mench, loading the bases. Kinsler hit a sac fly to break up the shutout, making it 2-1. Barajas was down to 0-2 with two outs, and blooped a single into left, tying the game at two.
Bell brought in Elmer Dessens to try and stop the bleeding, but it didn’t help. Gary Matthews Jr, who I hope gets an All-Star nod, doubled to left, scoring Barajas & Hairston (who had run for Mench). That put us up 4-2 for the eventual win, amidst rather a lot of boos from the few fans who were there in Kansas City.
John Koronka had the ball for us. Koronka, who has been one of 2006′ better surprises has slipped a bit his last couple of starts. He did however pitch pretty well this game. He went 6.1 innings, giving up two runs (QS) on 6 hits with 2BB, and 1K. He got a no decision, but i think he needed to have a good outing line score wise. I don’t think he was in danger of losing his job or anything – but you don’t want to have too many bad starts in a row.
Our bullpen was much better than KC’s (again, not hard). Alfonseca, Otsuka, & Cordero pitched, and din’t give up any runs. Now Otsuka set up Cordero, but I think that only happened because we scored a bunch of runs in the top of the 9th to take the lead, I think the idea was to get Otsuka work in the 8th, and that was it. I don’t think this was a formal change back to Corder as closer.
Oakland lost, so our lead in the West is back to 4 and a half games. I still maintain it’s not great, as we have the worst record of any of the six division leaders, but it’s still nice to say “First place Rangers” again. Been awhile since I could say that.
Also, I got a laugh out of what MLB.com’s game wrapup had as a headline for this game.. Fab four sings in No. 9 I doubt whoever wrote that will see this text, but if you do, it made me laugh. :)