G110: Rangers walk off with another one, 9-8

When a team starts coming back all the time like the Rangers have been doing, you start hearing a lot about “We never quit”, and “This team just won’t give up”, and things like that. Fans sometimes get into it too, with the “There is no lead they can’t come back from”. Me, I’m not that blind with belief. I always assume we’ll do something wrong, and the rally will fizzle. That way when they DO come back for a win, it feels that much cooler.
That’s what we got tonight. Another walkoff win. Those are always fun. This wasn’t the kind where it ended with a home run, and you had the dancing pile of players at home plate. This was the kind that ended with a David Murphy single, so you had two piles. One at home plate for the winning run, and another over near first where David Murphy was. Those always seem both more exciting and less exciting. Less because of the impact that having all the players in one big mob generates. More, because you have some guys running all over the place, since they don’t know what to do, or which jumping pile of players to celebrate with. Either way, they’re fun, and that’s what happened at the end of this game.
It didn’t start off that way. Tommy Hunter made his major league debut pitching tonight, and his performance is generally the way ML debuts go for pitchers. They’re generally not going to go eight innings with four hits and one run. They go more like Hunter did – five innings, eight hits, two walks, and six earned runs. ERA of 10.80. His game did start quite odd, though. The first two batters were retired easily enough, but the third (Alex Rios) was awarded first base on pitcher’s interference. Hunter and Chris Davis kind of crashed into each other going after the ball, and by the time Rios got down the line, there was nowhere to go, Davis & Hunter blocked the path to the base. If that wasn’t goofy enough, the next batter (Lyle Overbay) also reached – this time due to catcher’s interference by Gerald Laird. Was a very odd way to get going in your first major league inning. Hunter got out of the inning, but that was about it. In the second, Scott Rolen hit a three run home run. In the next inning, Lyle Overbay hit a two run home run, putting the Jays up 5-0 in the third. They tacked on another in the fourth to go up 6-0.
Josh Hamilton drove in a couple more runs on a two run home run to dead center field, setting off one of the better pileups of kids on Greene’s Hill I’ve seen in awhile. The clip of the kid who got the ball out of the dogpile made it to the Top 10 plays of the night on ESPN’s SportsCenter too – that was rather amusing. A bunch of singles and a double or so mixed in all put together gave us a nice 4 spot to tie the game 6-6 after five.
It stayed that way until the ninth when the Blue Jays plated a pair to go up 8-6 in the top of the ninth. They did that on a single, a triple, and a ground out RBI (by Shrek, no less). That set the state for the bottom of the ninth, where the Rangers made a big run at Toronto closer, BJ Ryan. Salty walked, Michael Young singled, and then Brandon Boggs doubled, scoring Salty. Marlon Byrd was intentionally walked (to set up a double play at any base presumably). Thing is David Murphy singled down the left field line far enough away which allowed two runs to come across, winning the game, setting off the player excitement I talked about above.
Nice comeback win, although I’m getting tired of having to come back from 4 or 5 runs all the time. Turns out team management was too, as the rangers fired their pitching coach & bullpen coach after the game. Out are Mark Conner & Dom Chiti. Their replacements are Andy Hawkins & Jim Colburn respectively. Colburn I don’t know much about at all except he was a pitching coach for the Dodgers & Pirates under Jim Tracy. Andy Hawkins has worked with a lot of our current guys in AAA, so that should work well.
We try again to get to five over .500 on Saturday.