G114: Rangers win a long, hot slugfest 10-9 over Boston

I was at this game, and it was one of the hotter games I can recall. I also wasn’t sure I was going to get there in time. I left Garland at 4PM, and was planning on going to dinner beforehand. Yeah, I know they lowered the prices on food and drinks and whatnot. That’s all good, but it’s not like I’m going to suddenly get a meal that is filling at the Ballpark for like $5 or something now. It’s still way cheaper to eat ahead of time. I had a very slow restaurant, and I didn’t get to leave Garland until about 5:10 – and from where I was, my GPS took me a different way than normal (down 360), and fortunately 360 south wasn’t jammed, like it almost always is. I was stunned. Had to park way out by I30 almost, and eventually got to my seat with about 15 minutes to spare. That’s cutting it way too close for my tastes. I like to be in my seat an hour before the game starts. And yeah, it was brutally hot. I had brought three bottles of Gatorade with me, and brought one to the park, figure I’d save the others for the ride back home, as I’d be hot when I got to the car. The one I bought with me was gone by the time I got to my seat. I was in Section 342, Row 23 – the last row. I couldn’t see the scoreboard from where I was, but to be honest, I didn’t much care. One advantage of sitting in the absolute last row is that you get a breeze up there. No matter what it’s like in the park, you almost always get a nice breeze. So once you get up there, it’s not all that bad. It’s not like it’s 70 degrees out, mind you – but the breeze does help.
So the game gets started and Tommy Hunter takes the mound. Was hoping for a good outing from him, and in the beginning, I thought we were gonna get that. The Rangers were up 2-0 early on a couple of RBI singles in the first two innings by Cruz & Andrus. The Sox got a run back in the top of the third on a solo home run, and then it fell apart in the next inning.
The top of the fourth was quite ugly. There were two parts to that. Tommy Hunter gave up three home runs in a row. One to David Ortiz, one to Adrian Beltre, and one to JD Drew. It got worse when Andres Blanco booted a ball that would have ended the inning on a double play ball. But he botched it, and four more runs scored because of that. Sigh. The Sox had a seven spot in the top of the fourth, putting them up 8-2 at the time. It was fairly disheartening.
It was at least comforting knowing that Tommy Hunter apparently was behind the dugout throwing up before he came out in the top of the fourth to pitch. The stomach virus he was having wasn’t helped by the heat, and just pitching wasn’t good, so it explains his performance. Still, we weren’t helped by the Blanco error, and were down six.
The climb back started almost immediately when Mitch Moreland hit his first ever major league home run – a two run shot into the right field stands. That felt good, but we were still down four. Felt better about it after the fifth when Michael Young & Josh Hamilton went back to back with solo home runs.
Yes. There were a lot of home runs this game. But that wasn’t all of it. Not by far. David Murphy made a great leaping catch against the left field wall early in the game to end an inning. Then Josh Hamilton made a great diving play where he slid for a bit after he caught the ball and dove. Those were awesome. But the best catch of the game was Hamilton up against the center field wall. It’s up there with the Gary Matthews Jr catch as one of the best defensive plays of all time. I’ll give Matthews’ catch just a tad more than the Hamilton catch – mostly because the Matthews catch brought a home run back. If Hamilton had missed that, the trajectory of the ball seemed to indicate it wouldn’t have gone out. Don’t get me wrong, it was the catch of the year – by far. But it didn’t rob a home run. If you look at the video highlights to this game, you’ll see the Hamilton one titled “Hamilton makes a dazzling catch in the sixth”. It was awesome, go check it out at the “Game Recap at mlb.com” at the top of this review.
Anyway, the Sox got another run back in the top of the seventh when JD Drew homered again. That felt kind of deflating, actually. While it turned out it was just one one, I ALMOST walked out the door then. I thought about the heat, the drive home with a sold out stadium, and I almost left. But I didn’t. Figured I don’t go to too many games anymore (about 6 at max), so I stayed. Good thing I did, as the Sox were done scoring at that point.
The Rangers picked up a couple in the seventh on a sac fly and a double. But the real fun came in the bottom of the eighth when Josh Hamilton was on second base. Vlad Guerrero (who has been quite cold lately) singled on a ground ball to the second baseman. Oddly enough Vlad managed to beat it out – although replays at home showed the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. What was really cool was that Hamilton never stopped running, and managed to score from second base on a ball that didn’t leave the infield, and didn’t involve a throwing error (well, not one where the ball gets thrown away anyway). That was most impressive, and tied the game at 9-9.
The ninth and the tenth were innings where we had shots, but couldn’t get it done. Don’t like extra inning games where we leave men on. Always feel like it’s going to bite you. But this time it didn’t. We get to the bottom of the 11th, and at this point, Boston has run through all their relievers. The only one they had left was Tim Wakefield. Even before they announced him, I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if we led off the bottom of the inning with a home run on the first pitch?” I know it happens, just not often. Then it was announced that Wakefield was coming in, and we’ve destroyed him this season. I figured we’d win the game off of him. I didn’t think we’d win it quite THAT FAST. First pitch to Nelson Cruz, and it’s bombed out of here over the left field wall. We won the game in walkoff fashion. Man was THAT cool.
I had been texting a friend of mine who was a huge Red Sox fan, so I taunted him some more now that the game was actually over. Another thing that was interesting was that I was during the game chatting with a friend of mine in Section 328 as well as a guy from the press box, and some other people not there. Was an amusing way to keep in touch during the game. Gotta love tech, eh? I’m by myself halfway across the stadium, and was still talking to a friend (Hi Rose!)
So I began the long walk back to my car, which was helped by the fact that this was a fireworks game, so the drive out wasn’t so obnoxious – I don’t stay anymore if I’m by myself. My Gatorade was there, but even inside the cooler bag, it had gotten hot. I didn’t care. Downed two 20oz Gatorades in the span of about a minute and a half.
Man it was hot. But the game made it worthwhile.