G18: Rangers come from behind, take game and series, 4-3

I tuned in Sunday afternoon knowing I wouldn’t be able to watch this whole game. I had to leave for a Sunday evening event at my church at about 4:30, so I figured, OK, I’ll get 7 innings in or so. That’s about what I got. When I left, the game was in in the bottom of the seventh, and when I got to where I was going, it was just starting the bottom of the 8th. We were losing 3-1. It was a typical 2007 Rangers game so far; decent pitching, no hitting to speak of. It’s quite odd writing that. One of the guys who has regularly produced is Kenny Lofton, but the guys behind him (Cat, Young, Tex) aren’t doing much of anything at all, and Ian Kinsler is our only serious offensive threat.
Anyway, Oakland starter Chad Gaudin pitched well. He went six, giving up just one run (an RBI single to Kinsler in the second after a triple by Blalock) on four hits. He looked pretty decent. Noticed someone picked him up after the game in one of the fantasy leagues I am commissioner for through this site. That usually happens after some opponent pitches really well against us. :)
On the flip side, we got the good Robinson Tejeda. Outside of one mistake pitch to Shannon Stewart that was bopped over the fence, Tejeda was pretty good himself. Including the home run, his line was 6.1IP, 3ER, NO walks, and six strikeouts on nine hits. Now it’s not the kind of thing we saw the other day from Cole Hamels for the Phillies great, but this was a decent outing. It was a great outing if you took away the home run, so I’m satisfied with that. He was relieved by Willie Eyre, making his Rangers 07 debut, and Eyre was pretty good as well. Eyre finished the seventh, and pitched the 8th, allowing no runs and just one hit. He walked one, but it didn’t hurt him.
Then the offense clicked in the bottom of the eighth. Lofton led off with a single, and Catalanotto wasn’t the 2007 easy out, and he had a hustling double to right field. OK, now we’re good. Second and third, nobody out. Feeling good. Michael Young, who normally would drive those guys in struck out. Mark Texiera worked a walk, OK. Bases loaded, one out. Not feeling AS good, but still feeling good. That brings up Sammy Sosa, who I’m sure everyone would have loved to have earned his nickname, “Slammin”. He walked as well. OK, not a home run, but still gets a run in. That’s good. That brought in Oakland’s closer, Houston Street, who gave up an 0-2 single to Blalock, driving in Hairston (who pinch ran for Catalanotto) & Texiera, giving us the lead, and the eventual win. There was no more scoring, but that’s the kind of inning we haven’t had all season long, and the kind we need a lot more of going forward.
The ninth had some drama as Eric Gagne finally got to take the mound in Arlington in a save situation. He got Jason Kendall to ground out, but then Gagne hurt himself. He had to come out in the middle of the at bat to Mark Ellis; he was replaced by Akinori Otsuka, who did get the save. Can’t say I’m surprised by the Gagne thing – he still seems way to fragile to have offered 6 million guaranteed to.
Still, a win is a win, and we took the series from division rival Oakland. We now face a short two game series at home against Seattle against Cha Sueng Beck, who probably will be a hard game, and Jarrod Washburn, who we don’t seem to have a problem knocking around in Arlington. Good thing we’re missing Felix Hernandez. :)
We go into the series 8-10, one game behind Oakland and the Angels who are tied for first. Given how lethargic and crappy we’ve been playing overall, this could be a heck of a lot worse.