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G113: Rangers beat A’s, 8-6

Kason Gabbard took the hill in this game, and looked pretty decent. He got in a bit of hot water in the third, but got his way out of it. Not so much in the fourth when he gave up the first run of the game on a hit to Donnie Murphy. Gabbard gave up a single to Piazza and then a home run to Mark Ellis in the sixth after setting down the previous four in a row, and 7 out of 8 before the Piazza single.
The bottom of the sixth was a big one for the Rangers. It started off with a Cruz walk, and then a rather interesting play on a screaming liner by Jason Botts. It forced Cruz to dive back to first, that was an odd looking play, we almost ended up with two runners at first. Then Cruz was doubled in by Saltamacchia. Gerald Laird then doubled in two runs, knocking out Chad Gaudin (who I dropped from about four fantasy teams I had him on before the game). After the pitching change, Ramon Vazquez bunted Laird over to third, which seemed a bit of an odd move in the middle of a big inning. Frank Catalanotto then doubled in Laird. Then a real puzzler, the A’s intentionally walked Michael Young to get to Marlon Byrd. It ended up working, as Byrd grounded out to third, ending the inning, but it worked – we scored four runs.
Kason Gabbard came out of the game in the top of the seventh after a pretty decent line. Six innings, three earned runs (technically a quality start), five hits, three walks (too many), and four strikeouts. Way too many pitches, though – 107. Still, six innings is doable.
Wes Littleton came on, and was completely ineffective, allowing all three runners to get on base, leaving for Frank Francisco with the bases loaded. But Francisco navigated his way out of that mess, and did not allow anyone to score. I know how that feels, the Rangers have done that. Nice to have it happen for us, as opposed to against us. Francisco just mowed ‘em down in the seventh. Cust flied out, Piazza struck out, and Mark Ellis grounded into a fielder’s choice. Into the eighth, Dan Johnson lined out, and Marco Scutaro flied out. Those five outs in a row came on just 12 pitches. Donnie Murphy’s at bat end that with a double, followed by an RBI single by Curt Suzuki, followed by a home run by Shannon Stewart making it 7-6, a close game again. Frustrating outing by Francisco, as he was totally dominant his first five batters, and then totally not the next few after that.
The Rangers did add one in the bottom of the 8th, and had a chance to bust it wide open, but just settled for the one.
That was it for the A’s, though. CJ Wilson came in and pitched the rest of the game, not giving up any runs, and getting the save. Kason Gabbard got his first win as a Ranger, and his first in Texas.
Random comment: Jason Botts just looks gigantic at the plate. :)