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G101: Rangers beat A’s, 7-5; retake first place

Well, tonight marked the major league debut of a former Ranger manager’s cousin – Sam Narron. I always like watching major league debuts. Partly because I like to see a kid get a shot, partially because of the chance that something very cool could happen (like Brian Sikorski against the Yankees a couple of years ago). Anyway, Sam didn’t fare too well tonight, going 2.2 innings and giving up four runs. I hope he’ll get another shot, as I can’t imagine a major league debut is good for a pitcher’s nerves.
He wasn’t helped by Eric Byrnes, who is batting something like .625 against us this year – Byrnes had two home runs, both against Narron. Byrnes also had a double in this game I believe, and was hit by a pitch, so he was on base most of the night. However, after Narron departed, that ended. Surprisingly, Joaquin Benoit came on, and pitched 4.1 innings, and gave up NO runs, on two hits. He was everything we always wanted him to be. Out of the bullpen. That seems to be where he does best anymore. Might be time to think about him being our long man for a long time. ;)
We didn’t get much going against Rich Harden for the longest time – we didn’t get any runs until the 5th inning when we pushed across two. One was on a Blalock single, and the other was a gift on a wild pitch. That was all the scoring on both sides until the bottom of the 8th, when we broke through for a 5 spot to take the lead on two two run singles by Laynce Nix & Mike Young. Tex also had a solo home run in that inning – so we had a nice win on a big inning, not powered by a big home run.
Two other small things. It was damn hot out there. Yeah, I know it’s Texas, but still – I never really feel uncomfortable out there, even on some of the hottest nights. Tonight I was so uncomfortable, I contemplated leaving the game early. I don’t know if it was where I was sitting (section 212), but I did not enjoy the game from that aspect. I did, however, enjoy the retro uniforms. Hell, even Rangers Captain had a retro uniform on, too, which made me chuckle.
The end result tonight? We’re back in first place.

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G100: Rangers lose close one to A’s, 7-6

This was an interesting game for me for a few reasons. First, I had just come back from a trip to Philadelphia. I visited the new Phillies park up there, and I was attending my first Ranger game in a bit. I didn’t see them on TV for a week, and haven’t listened on the radio, so I enjoyed being back at my home ballpark. Second, I was part of the group that was in the Ebbets Field Luxury Box (the second deck one out in left field) with a bunch of folks from Jamey Newberg’s site. That was cool.
I did score the game, but even with that, I felt kind of disconnected from the game, as a lot of time was spent talking to folks, and just generally hanging around. Because of that, I won’t write about the specifics of the game, but there is one good thing to add.
If there ever is a time to be in a luxury box, it’s when you are in a rain delay. :)
We did fall out of first place, and sad as that is – I’ll add this. If I told you we’d be in 2nd place only half a game out of first the day before the trading deadline, I bet you would have thought I was insane. Even if we never get back to first, and miss the playoffs, this will be a great season.

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G93: Rangers blown out by Angels, 11-2

Not much good happened in this one. We lost 11-1, and got a total of three hits, two of them by Eric Young. The Angels, on the other hand had 10 runs and 16 hits.
However, the really bad news was that we lost Ric-Rod for awhile. He was hit in the arm by a line drive off the bat of Robb Quinlan. Later on, they said he had a broken elbow, and is on the DL “indefinitely”. That’s really not good, as he was I’m sure you know was viewed as the permanent third starter. That’s just not good.
One interesting thing happened in this game you don’t often see. The Angels moved their DH in to play the field, which means they surrendered the DH – the pitcher was officially required to bat, although it didn’t happen as Anaheim used a PH in that spot in the ninth.
In case you missed it, this is my last update for about a week, as I’m going home to visit family and check out the new stadium the Phillies have. See you on June 30th as I’ll start up updates again when the Rangers come back home.

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G92: Rangers beat Angels, 3-2

I didn’t start watching this game until 11:45PM last night, so I wasn’t in the mood to score it – in fact, I whizzed through watching the whole game in about 40 minutes in high speed on my TiVo. ;)
What I did see this game was a lot of pitching. Escobar struck out about 600 Rangers tonight. Ryan Drese didn’t allow a whole lot himself over his 7 innings. A well pitched game all around.

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G91: Rangers comeback for win, 6-4

Nice comeback win! Too bad we had to come back in the first place, as Wasdin definitely pitched well enough to win. Wasdin got (technically) a quality start, and left with the lead, but unfortunately, a rare blown save for us – Frank Francisco was lights out his first inning, but gave up a HR ball to let the Sox tie it in the 8th. Almanzar came in, and put out the fire, as Francisco left two on base. Coco came in and was even more lights out, striking out the side to get his 29th save.
Teixeira’s HR streak came to an end, but he got a hit in the bottom of the 8th to help us with the victory. Rod Barajas was hot tonight with three doubles, and Gary Matthews Jr had a two run HR as well. Not a spectacular offensive night – we had 6 runs on 10 hits, but we had ours when they mattered most, it seemed.
Nice night to be out at the ballpark.

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G90: Rangers lose to White Sox, 12-6

The score wasn’t even as close as 12-6, it seemed.
Benoit was crap. What a shock. We had three home runs (Matthews, Blalock, Teixeira). Tex’s was his fifth in a row, tying a club record.
That’s about all I have to say about this game.

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G89: Rangers sweep Blue Jays, 7-5

Well, I was at this game last night, and I have to say through seven innings, it was a real snoozer. We had a single run through those seven – up to that point, Batista was pretty dominating. In the eighth, he appeared to run out of gas. He walked a couple, and then aided by an error by Carlos Delgado, we pushed across two runs, until Mark Teixeira came up, and jacked the first pitch he saw into the Rangers bullpen with the bases loaded for the win.
Yeah, some other things happened this game, but the grand slam was really the only thing that I bet most people will remember from this one. Was a really quick, very thrilling end to what I thought was going to be a real bore of a game.

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G88: Rangers shut out Toronto on “Siegler Box Night”, 4-0

Ricardo Rodriguez continues his streak – he now has 15.1 consecutive innings of shutout baseball – look out Orel! ;) Seriously, it was nice to see two really great performances in a row from him – could he be the third to the Rogers/Drese front end of the rotation? I hope so. If he is, it would have to really cheese off the Indians, as both Drese and Rodriguez used to be their property. Rrod went 6.1 scoreless innings tonight. They weren’t exactly easy, though – only the first was 1-2-3. Several times they had two guys on base, but Rrod managed to get out of all of them. Our bullpen in this game (Shouse, Francisco, Mahay) combined to throw 2.2 innings of hitless relief – something really nice to see.
Offensively, we didn’t have much going on at all. We only had six hits. Three of them were from Soriano, two from Mike Young, and one from Mark Teixeira – a three run blast in the fourth that whizzed right by the group of folks I was with in Section 10; that looked cool. We were out-hit 8-6 in this game, but we got the W, which is what counted.
As I mentioned above, there was a group of us at this game tonight. I organized this with several folks from my forums, and there were 19 of us out in Section 10 tonight. Technically, that doesn’t count as a group by the rules, but my ticket guy said it wasn’t worth losing the sale over a single ticket, so he got me in with 19. It was nice putting some faces to everyone, and while I didn’t get to talk to everyone as much as I would have liked, I had a great time. We had two rows of seats (one of 8 seats, and one of 11 – this was one of those angled sections with odd rows, the one in front had just two seats in it), so that made it hard to be able to talk to everyone, which is what I had wanted to do. I might try and do this again before the end of the season, do this in a game in September. To all of you who came, thank you – I really enjoyed myself. Too bad about the mob scene at the Rawlings Grill. The place really is good, but they get overwhelmed when 43,000 people show up. :)

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One other thing – someone there asked me about the software I use on my Palm to score games. It’s called Scorepad, and you can check it out here. It’s not cheap if you want the whole enchilada, but for what I do with it, I felt it was worth it.

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G87: Rangers open second half with big win, 11-2

The Rangers return to the Ballpark (newly trashed christened with more Ameriquest Field junk) after being on the road for several weeks plus the All-Star break, PLUS an extra day off after the all star break. Seems like we haven’t played here since last season, which might be why they had a psuedo-opening Day feel around the park last night. Anyway, someone who seems to really love this place pitched here last night. Ryan Drese. I’ve done a complete turnaround on him – I said before I never was a fan of his, but he’s proven me completely wrong. I wanted him gone from the moment we got him – not now, and I’m not afraid to say I was wrong about it. Drese has an ERA under two at this ballpark, which is a big accomplishment. He continued his ground ball mastery, and went 7 innings, giving up only one earned run, and was generally awesome.
So much so that it really kept the game moving, the entire game only took 2:15 to play, which is a very low figure considering there was a total of 13 runs scored, and 24 hits total. I suppose that came from the fact that there weren’t a million pitching changes, and the ones that did happen mostly happened between innings.
We bombed last year’s Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay to the tune of 6ER over 4 innings. Not surprising, as it was said on TV that his career ERA in this park was 8.8something. However, Halladay has not been pitching like himself the last few years, but I don’t mind taking advantage of that. The charge was led by Lance Nix, who had a career day getting four hits. Soriano also had 4 RBI’s, and we had three home runs (Texieira, Soriano, Nix). The home runs led to the attention of one of the Ballpark’s newest uh.. “improvements” . The bell.
I’m not going to comment fully on this until I see it myself later today (Saturday) with my own eyes. Didn’t look terribly overwhelming on TV. There were several changes to the Ballpark during the break, but I’ll get into that more fully on my Saturday game commentary.
And in a bit of sad news, former Ranger friend Rick Helling was released by the Rangers after not doing too well in a comeback experiment in AAA. Rick has said he plans to retire – it’s a shame it didn’t work out, I would have loved to have seen him back in Arlington again.
– Joe Siegler

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All Star Game: AL Wins, 9-4

There’s plenty on the actual game itself, so you can read the coverage below, a few comments by me about the Ranger related stuff…
We had five All-Star players this year, a new record. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened with them.
Francisco Cordero: Didn’t play, but then again with the push to avoid tie games, some folks have to be kept out.
Kenny Rogers: Didn’t play, but not surprising, as he was pseudo-hurt anyway. Probably would have had to go extra innings to see him.
Hank Blalock: Came in during the top of the 6th, went 0-2. Didn’t do much, but nice to have him here.
Mike Young: Came in during the top of the 5th, also went 0-2, but made a fabulous defensive play.
Alfonso Soriano: Oh, went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI’s, 1R, and one big three run HR. Named MVP of the game!
Not only did we have the top vote getter in the entire shebang, but he was named MVP of the game. I’m sure part of that stuff has to do with him being a former Yankee, but you know what? He’s wearing our uniform now. Soriano was the first Ranger MVP of an All Star game since Julio Franco did it in 1990.
We did have five players in the game, but it seemed dominated by Soriano. I was quite surprised when he was named the MVP, as I didn’t think there really was a standout player on either side – the standout performance was a negative one, that being Roger Clemens. As usual, my wife and I loved watching the player intros, which I think is the best part for a lot of people. Was it me, or did it seem really rushed? They seemed to spend less time on each player than they did before. Curt Schilling will get fined again, for writing on his cap – that’s a no no that he seems to repeatedly ignore.
Last night, someone on my forums asked me what I thought the score would be. I generally don’t like to predict All Star games, since there’s too many variables, and too many players. Pushed though, I said “AL 7-4″. I ALMOST got it right – it was AL 7-4 for quite awhile until Ortiz of the Red Sox screwed it up for me with a 2 run HR to make it 9-4.
Let’s hope the second half goes as well as the first half does for us, and that Tom Hicks really does replace John Hart with Grady Fuson right away as was implicated on Tuesday in the Ft Worth Star Telegram. :)

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G86: Rangers salvage last game, win 6-5

No time to write about this game.

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G85: Rangers shut out two nights in a row, 14-6

The less said about this one the better. I have only one remark. We got six runs. We got ZERO earned runs. That’s how I explain being shut out and still scoring six.

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G84: Rangers shut out by Red Sox, 7-0

Well, there’s not a not to say here. We got shut out by the Red Sox led by a surprising performance from Bronson Arroyo, and some rather surprising defense by the Sox. We hit into three lineout double plays. We rarely see that, then there are three in one game! That pretty much set the mood of the game.
An extra special thanks goes out to Octavio Dotel, the A’s closer, who blew a lead in the 9th in their game, and let us keep a 2 game lead in the West!

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G83: Rangers totally dominate Indians; win 10-0

As this game went along, I was getting ready to make David Dellucci my star of the game. He went 3 for 4 with two home runs, a walk, 5 RBI’s and three runs scored. It was definitely a career day as Victor Rojas called it. But then it came down to Ricardo Rodriguez. RRod pitched a complete game shutout on just three hits. Thing is, as the game went along, I didn’t really notice how he was pitching until the 7th or 8th inning or so.
This game was dominated by us almost instantly with a leadoff home run by Michael Young (third leadoff this year, 12th overall). We had several home runs, including a disputed one by Kevin Mench. They were Mike Young, Kevin Mench, & David Dellucci twice. Nice power, nice pitching. And we’ll stay in first place.
All that remains now is Boston. And we’re missing Schilling & Pedro, so that’s a good sign. :)

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G82: Rangers survive bad Drese outing; win 9-8

Ryan Drese had his worst outing of the year. Won’t help my fantasy teams that have him, but he did get a no decision. He was gone after 4 innings, giving up 5 runs (4ER) on six hits and four walks. Ron Mahay and Frankie Francisco were good in relief – Mahay looking extremely strong. Cordero was a bit shaky in the 9th, but got the save anyway. That’s it for the pitching. Mahay was the highlight for me. Nothing spectacular to write about pitching wise.
This was a pretty balanced attack offensively. We scored in six of the nine frames (1,2,3,6,7,8), putting up just one in five of those. The big one was the 7th where we had two two run homers from Mark Texieira, who is just annihilating the ball lately, and Garry Matthews Jr, who might be making a case to stay here for good.
However, the best moment for me was the girl who “sang” the national anthem. Having a relative with a disability makes me a little more sensitive to these kinds of issues, and what she did wasn’t terribly unique, as Stephen Hawking amongst others has been doing it for awhile – but it was the WAY she did it that was cool. Sara Pyzka (picture below) was in a wheelchair, and has cerebal palsy – she can’t speak. Technically her voice box machine (I don’t know the real name for it) did the singing, but she controlled it by movements of her head, and it sounded like it had more of a personality than some of the voice boxes I’ve heard in the past (Stephen Hawking for example). Not to mention during it, you could see that she was extremely happy, and was smiling as much as her body would let her. I really enjoyed that national anthem; it was quite moving for me.

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G81: Nick Bierbrodt loses to Indians, 4-1

Well, Nick Bierbrodt walked 7 Indians in his 3.1 innings. Through the first three innings, he managed to escape all his walks pretty well, giving up just one run through three. However, in the fourth, he loaded the bases and was pulled. John Wasdin came in and gave up a hit after getting squeezed on a called third strike call. Had we gotten the call, we would have gotten out of that inning with nothing scoring, and would have been in great shape, as Wasdin gave up just one run in his 3.1 innings, so between Wasdin/Bierbrodt, they pitched 6.2 innings, and would have given up just two runs. Oh well.
The Indians got an emotional lift by getting Bob Wickman back – their closer, who was involved in a big trade between the Indians & the Brewers back in 2000 – he preceded John Rocker as the closer in Cleveland. :) Anyway, the game was a mostly well pitched one, save for Bierbrodt’s walks.
Fortunately, the A’s also lost, so we remained tied with them for first place in the division. This was the halfway point of the season. We’ve played 81 games. There’s 81 to go. I strongly doubt anyone (probably including the Rangers themselves) expected us to be tied for first place, and have a pitcher with the most wins in the majors at this point. This season has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Right now, I’m almost leaning towards not making any moves at the trading deadline. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, I say let them rebuild, and if we manage to get to the promised land with the guys we had, it’ll make it that much sweeter.
A few more roster moves for this one. We put Perry on the DL, and brought up Manny Alexander. That allowed Mike Young to DH for the night, and Alexander played short – a first in both cases for the season. We might have to make another move, as Rod Barajas was hit on the hand with a pitch, and while the reports are encouraging that he’ll keep playing, Gerald Laird isn’t quite ready to come back yet, so we’d have to have our third string catcher acting as our front line one if Barajas has to go on the DL, too. Like we need more players there. Sigh.

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G80: Rangers beat Indians, 8-5

No time to write – too busy coming back to work from the weekend. :)

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G79: Rangers destroy Astros, 18-3

I will avoid the cliche here about scoring this many runs on July 4th and the word fireworks, thank you very much.
A couple of games ago I started my commentary with Bombs away! I should have saved that for this game. We had 6 home runs this game (Soriano, Blalock, Mench x2, & Teixeira x2) as we did that one. However, two of them were history making. We had two grand slams in this game. One was by Teixeira in the 9th inning, and the other was by Hank Blalock. The Rangers have never had a two grand slam game ever before. Hank’s slam was also a pinch hit grand slam as well, so it was a lot sweeter.
On the other side of the coin, when this game started, with a pitching matchup of Joaquin Benoit & Andy Pettite, I figure we’d lose 18-3, not win by that. Benoit went 6 innings, giving up two runs on 5 hits (1BB, 5K). A kind of outing that you’d normally like from your pitcher, but Benoit continues to tease. His next start will probably be 2.2IP with 7ER.
We took back the Silver boot with this absolute destruction of a game against the Astros. Now we just need to put it back together again.
My wife and I ended up going out to Frisco on Sunday night, we had tickets to the Roughriders game. There was this very cool thing during the 7th inning stretch where they had everyone blow up these balloons, and at the end of God Bless America, everyone let them fly into the air – it was a very funny, and rather cool sight – I wished I had my camera with me, would have made for a great picture. One other fun thing was between the top and bottom of the firsts, the Frisco mascot drove around the warning track on a vehicle throwing tshirts into the stands. When his vehicle passed the Riders bullpen in left, the players out there dumped a gatorade tub full of water on the Mascot, and because the Mascot’s outfit is essentially a giant towel/sponge, he was instantly waterlogged – the players in the pen were laughing their asses off. :)
Had fun out there, and we got a great pitching performance by Kameron Loe, and Laynce Nix had an RBI hit in a rehab assignment – that he had to come out of early after diving for a ball. :(
Oh yeah – we had five all stars named to the All Star game this evening. Soriano was voted in. We had Francisco Cordero & Kenny Rogers named from our pitching staff, and the players/Torre brought along Hank Blalock & Mike Young. We’ve never had five before. We had 4 in 1999 (Raffy, Pudge, Zimmerman, Wetteland, 1998 (Juan, Pudge, Wetteland, Sele), and 1989 (Ryan, Russell, Franco, Sierra). I really would have hoped that Blalock could have started the thing, but at least he’s there. I’m happy. For the record the guys I voted for almost regularly in this year’s all star balloting were:
AL:
C – Pudge (voted in)
1B – Mark Teixeira
2B – Alfonso Soriano (voted in)
3B – Hank Blalock (reserve choice)
SS – Mike Young (reserve choice)
OF – Manny Ramirez (voted in)
OF – Carlos Beltran (player vote, but can’t play due to league switch to NL)
OF – Vladimir Gurerrero (voted in)
NL:
C – Mike Liberthal
1B – Jim Thome (reserve choice)
2B – Jeff Kent (voted in – I was voting for Marcus Giles, but he got hurt)
3B – Mike Lowell (reserve choice)
SS – Adam Everett
OF – Barry Bonds (voted in)
OF – Ken Griffey Jr (voted in)
OF – Scott Podsednik
Being that I grew up in Philly, and lived there for over 20 years, that’s why I have a few “homer” votes for Phillies in my NL ballots. There’s also no way in hell I’d ever vote for J.D. Drew or Scott Rolen. Not a chance. Why? Let’s just say it’s a “Philly thing”.
And for the 32nd man voting, I’m voting for:
AL: Paul Konerko
NL: Bobby Abreu

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G78: Rangers lose again to Astros, 10-8

Damnit. Lost two games in a row against the Astros in essentially the same way. Well, OK, maybe not, but that’s what it felt like to me. We had gone up 6-1 on the strength of a 6 run 5th inning (two three run home runs by us). However, Morgan Ensberg stormed back with a grand slam that topped a 7 run 5th for the Astros, gave them the lead, and they never looked back, really. Damn.
Crap. Now we have to win tomorrow’s finale by three runs to take the series and the Silver Boot.

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G77: Rangers lose first game of series to Astros, 7-5

I hate games like this. These are emotional rollercoasters. You get the high of coming back to tie the game, and the BIG low of giving it right back and losing the game. I’m writing this on Monday, so most of the details aren’t fresh in my mind, but this was supposed to be rematch of the pitcher’s duel from Arlington last weekend between Roy Oswalt and Ryan Drese. It wasn’t. Oswalt gave up 9 hits and 5 runs. Drese gave up 8 hits and five runs. Neither was really crisp at all. Drese at least got a ND in the game.
Oh well, the Lone Star series is now tied after we won 2 the last weekend.

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G76: Rangers lose to Mariners, 8-4

Well, this was a day game, which means I only superficially got to pay attention. I did score the game, but about 40% of my scorecard was me looking at what had happened on the MLB Gameday scorecard stuff. And I didn’t miss much. Wasdin was not good today, we fell behind a lot early, and that was about it. Made a little noise when Kevin Mench hit a three run home run, but we were behind the 8 ball in this one almost immediately, and never really had a chance to win, I felt.
The loss makes the 2-2 split in Seattle seem like an 0-4 to me.

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G75: Rangers beat Mariners, 9-6 late

No commentary from me, because something happened last night that almost never happens. I got tired in the middle of the game and went to bed! I hate these 9PM starts.

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G74: Rangers lose to Mariners, 4-3

No time to write commentary today.
Brett Carre: The fun in Seattle ends with a 4-3 loss on Tuesday. This was a game that was on the table, but we couldn’t pull it out. One of the few times this year that we couldn’t pull out one like this.
Benoit pitched decent tonight, but we gave up just too many tonight as we could only produce 3 runs tonight. Some people said tonight his future with the Rangers was on the line. I think he preformed well enough to stop talks about that until his next start!
On the offensive side we had chances but didn’t take advantage of them. This is a game I think we should have won, but Seattle got the big hit tonight by Aurilia, the two run homer with two outs in the 6th.
Kenny is on the mound tomorrow. Does that mean we can already put a check in the “W” column?

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G73: Rangers homer their way to the win, 8-5

There’s no scorecard stuff from me. My brother called, and I didn’t get to start watching the game until 11:30PM. I did actually start scoring it, but after three innings I was falling asleep, so I gave up and watched the rest of the game in about 10 minutes in high speed scan on my TiVo. ;)
BOMBS AWAY!
The Rangers hit five home runs in this game, including two in the first inning, and two overall by Hank Blalock. The offense was the star of this game by far. We also had home runs by Soriano, Mench, & Texieira. The HR accounted for 7 of the 8 runs we got.
It’s good we had offense, as Bierbrodt had nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true, he got the first two batters of the game out, but not much after that. He gave up 3 in his 1.2 innings. Ricardo Rodriguez went 3.2, and gave up a run, not too bad. Mahay, Francisco, Almanzar, & Cordero went a combined 3.2 innings and gave up just one more run. Cordero got his 23rd save.
It was almost all good. A nice start to the road trip.

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G72: Ryan Drese loses to Roy Oswalt, 1-0

Ryan Drese pitched a complete game. He gave up one run, on a double play ball, so there was no RBI involved. He walked two, struck out four, and threw 114 pitches. He was sensational. He lost.
Roy Oswalt was absolutely untouchable. He gave up 4 hits over his 8 innings, and a play in the first inning pretty much summed it up. That was Beltran’s robbing of Mike Young’s home run ball over the center field wall in the first inning. After some theatrics on the catch, Beltran held in his hand the closest thing we had to a run all day. We had a triple by EY, a double by Rod Bajaras, but squat otherwise. Oswalt was absolutely dominating. Was amazing we got what we did, tell you the truth.
Sad part is that Ryan Drese lost the game, when he pitched well enough to win it on any other day. Don’t feel too bad about this loss, as we certainly got enough pitching, something we’ve lacked the last few years. We went 5-1 on the homestand, including 8 of the last 9 to take first place in the division, and as I write this on Sunday afternoon the A’s haven’t played yet, so we will head out on the road in sole possession of first. Whether it’s 1 game or 2, is up to the A’s tonight.
We won’t see another home game until Friday July 16th – 19 days from now.