G133: Rangers beat O’s 9-4 behind Millwood complete game

I did something I actually haven’t done much this year, which was go to a Rangers game. I’ve written before about the cost of these things – so I won’t go into that again, but cost is the reason why I don’t go to as many anymore. By the end of August, I’ve gone to roughly 20 by this point. This year I think my total attendance is under 10. I’d have to go count, but it’s probably 7 or 8, I think. But I went using one of the ticket vouchers the Rangers have sent me in a “Hey we want you to come back” kind of promotion. Was a great night for baseball. As I knew the place would be mostly wide open, I decided to sit in Section 3 up against the Orioles’ bullpen. I hadn’t ever intentionally sat out in that area before (that I can remember anyway), so I decided to give it a go. Was a nice night weather wise, so I chose that (Sec 3, Row 7, Seat 1 formally). I ended up sitting amongst a family of Baltimore fans, which who were nice to chat with.
So I filled out my lineup card with a bit of trepidation, as Kevin Millwood is not known for stellar pitching performances in Arlington. However, it was in the mid 80’s when this game started, and that seemed to really impact him, as his overall line was pretty good. 9 IP, 4ER, 8 hits, 8 strikeouts, and NO walks. Now the strikeouts seemed to be helped by Larry Vanover, who had a really wide strike zone (O’s pitching had 11 Ks). After the early couple of innings when Kevin seemed to be relying on just his fastball, he mixed in his curve, and things got going. In the top of the third, Jay Gibbons doubled, but that would be the last hit the Orioles would get until two outs in the ninth. Millwood retired 18 in a row at one point. He gave up a couple of hits in a row in the top of the ninth for the fourth run, but from the third on, he was masterful, he was the ace we’re paying him to be. I’m hoping that in 2007 he can parlay his’ years’ experience pitching here into better home results.
The game offensively was a see-saw battle early, with the O’s scoring two in the top of the second, then we got three in the bottom, and they tied it up with the aforementioned double in the top of the third. It stayed that way for a bit until Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run in the fifth that BARELY cleared the wall in right field. That gave us the lead we never looked back on.
The only other scoring the Rangers would do would be a nice five spot in the bottom of the seventh, mostly against Rodrigo Lopez, who appeared to be completely out of gas when eventually taken out – he probably should have been out much earlier than he was. Hank Blalock & Mark DeRosa had the big hits in that inning driving in most of the runs. Hank’s was a double against a left hander (Byrdak) who had come in just to face Hank. Odd that the Homies weren’t there to cheer him.
However, the best moment of the game for me aside from the Rangers win was Corey Patterson’s catch in the second inning. Going full tilt into the wall, he caught it and crumpled over – it was quite a spectacular catch. From where I was sitting, I had a GREAT view of it, as I was sitting exactly parallel to the center field wall, so I had a completely close and perfect angle to see it. It was quite the catch, I had to applaud it even before the customary applause a team’s fans gives an opposing player who has gotten hurt. It was quite the catch.
But I was glad I went – it wasn’t opressively hot, we won, and I had a nice time. Too bad it has to be so darn hot to sap these nice feelings out of people in the summer.