G78: Tommy Hunter wins his first; 3-1 over Tampa Bay

Yesterday was Tommy Hunter’s 23rd birthday, I believe. I know it was his birthday, not sure of the number, but that’s really irrelevant. He started the game for the Rangers, and looked pretty decent last time out. So he took the mound on his birthday (with his family in the stands), and threw a pretty decent game this time out, too.
He went 5.1 innings, throwing 90 pitches. I missed when he came out of the game, so I’m not sure of the situation, but the one runner he left on base didn’t score. Didn’t seem like a huge jam from the boxscore, but I missed that part of the game. Anyway, Hunter allowed just three hits and one run. He also walked three and struck out five. Not exactly dominating numbers, but definitely good enough for the win, which was his first in the majors.
That was held up by our bullpen, who backed up Hunter with 3.2 innings of no hit, shutout relief. Jennings & Wilson held it for Frank Francisco who bounced back from his meltdown in the return to the closer’s job. Frankie threw one inning, allowed no hits and no walks, striking out one for the save. Nice to see this kind of pitching. Wish it would have been more consistent in June.
Offensively, we didn’t have a ton going on. While Tampa Bay only had three hits the whole game, we didn’t do a ton better. The Rangers had just five hits. All five of our hits were against Tampa starter Scott Kazmier. Their bullpen was as good as ours. However, it was enough. No Ranger had more than one hit, they were scattered, however, there was some power hidden in there. We had two doubles (Byrd, Cruz), and the big deal was suddenly power stroke heavy Hank Blalock. Hank hit a two run home run out over the center field wall in the fourth inning, putting us up at the time 2-0. Both teams added a single run in the fifth, and that was the end of the scoring.
Bit surprised that our offense is still in low gear, but the win was enough to tie us for first place with Anaheim again. Feeling good about that, as I’m sure most of us are.
To quote Jamey Newberg: Smoaklahoma! Here he comes. September callup? :)