G34: Rangers blow out M’s early, win big 10-1

After the third inning, I needed to hit the head, so on the way I remarked to my wife (who was reading in the bedroom) “Man, it’s about time the Rangers had a game like this, we’re winning 10-0 in the third inning”. Since our daughter was born, my wife has kind of tuned out on Rangers games. That’s fair, since she spends so much time taking care of our girl that when Samantha is asleep, Mommy usually wants to pass out. Last night though she watched the first inning with me, and the Rangers were up 2-0. So when I walked by her last night saying we were winning, she remarked that she needed to watch them more. She also remarked in the inning she did watch, “Wow, I don’t know any of these guys”. I did inform her about what I wrote about her in the Rusty Greer entry from yesterday, which is what made her say she didn’t know anyone.
The game started off nicely, as Miguel Batista (who normally pitches well against us) was really putting up a stink in Seattle. He threw I think 47 pitches in the first inning, walked several, and had virtually no command to speak of. To be honest, he should have given up more than two runs in the first inning. If I remember right, we left the bases loaded, and it just felt like we should have nuked Batista a lot worse, although that was still to come.
Sidney Ponson, who seems to be the 2008 “Lightning in a Bottle” pitcher for Texas so far started off the bottom of the first with a walk and a single, and you thought – “Uh, oh – here we go”, but he ended up getting out of the inning with no runs scored. Good. So Batista goes back out there for the second, and gives up just a single run, which wasn’t too bad for the Mariners. 3-0 is still manageable, even if your starter is stinking worse than the animal barn during the State Fair. Ponson follows that up with a 1-2-3 in the bottom of the second. Then the Rangers come out for the third.
Batista is still out there – at this point having thrown about 6,453 pitches. Not surprisingly, Milton Bradley leads off with a walk. David Murphy followed it up with a home run to right field. It was a line drive home run from a ball rather high in the strike zone (if not out of). Was nice to see it go out – because off the bat, it didn’t have the trajectory that looked like a home run – it looked like a double in the gap. Batista did get Boggs to strike out, but then walked Catalanotto (Batista’s SIXTH walk), which prompted John McLaren to finally pull Miguel Batista. In from the pen comes Cha Seung Baek, a guy who has traditionally in the past done extremely well against Texas. Not tonight – Baek was just as bad as Batista (in this inning, anyway). Saltamacchia flies out to Ichiro, but Ramon Vazquez followed up with a single. Michael Young singled, scoring both Catalanotto and Vazquez. Funny thing about Young’s single is that it looked like an out – was heading up the middle, but Seattle second baseman Jose Lopez had the ball go just under his glove. Really – it looked like an out, and then – whoops – there it is in center. Lopez probably REALLY wished he had caught it a few minutes later, because it would have ended the inning. Instead Lopez watched with everyone else as a Josh Hamilton hit ball was deposited WAY up in the upper deck in right – it was a SERIOUSLY impressive home run. The kind that you just watch and go “HOLY CRAP – Look at that!” Josh & Tom were both impressed with it. I didn’t hear it on the radio, but I suspect Eric & Victor were also impressed. If you click on the MLB Game Recap for this game, there’s video highlights there, and you can hear the Mariners call of the home run too – even they were impressed with it. Milton Bradley finished up the inning with a ground out (he was the first and last batter in the frame).
That home run restored Hamilton to the major league leading lead in RBI’s with 36. Josh is looking quite good, and boy, I hope he stays on the field. I know Volquez is looking good in Cincinnati now (at this point, 6GS, 4-1, 1.27 ERA), but Hamilton has been equally as good on our side, so it’s nice to see this trade working so well.
I watched through the fourth, and at this point did something I didn’t normally do – I turned off the game when we were winning. I did that because I wanted to play some Grand Theft Auto IV – if I waited till the end of the game, I’d be too tired to get in some gameplay. Peeked in on the game from time to time, but I was confident in the win – turns out (for once) I was right about it – the Rangers didn’t score any more this game. The Mariners did pick up a lone run in the fifth on two consecutive doubles by Balentien and Ichiro.
Ponson got the win, and is now 2-0. Sidney went seven innings, gave up seven hits, one walk, one run. Didn’t strike out many (two), but had a pretty decent, if not dominating outing. Can’t argue with one run over seven innings, no matter what the rest of the numbers were.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention a catch by David Murphy (which is in the video highlights on the MLB Game Recap link above) later in the game. I missed it live, but I did go back and watch it a few more times. Nice rolling, diving catch. I’ve said it a few times already, but I really like the acquisition of this kid. I expect the emergence of David Murphy has really kind of negated the acquisition of Frank Catalanotto, who hasn’t done a whole heck of a lot since his return. I know Cat is signed through next year (with an option for 10), but it wouldn’t surprise me if Murphy keeps going like this if Cat isn’t moved or released after this season.
Funny thing is with ten runs, you’d think we’d have a boatload of hits. We didn’t. The Rangers only had eight hits all evening. Granted, two were doubles, and two were home runs, and the Mariners pitching staff gave up 10 walks (all the walks came early, too), but still – you’d think we’d have like 17 hits or something. Nope, just eight.
Very efficient evening, very nice to see a night like that. It also keeps the Mariners with us tied for last place. Two more games in Seattle – be nice to take both, and not leave Seattle still tied for last place.