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G162: Season ends with 7-0 loss to Angels

After the first two games in this series, Rangers fans (at least the ones still watching) got excited, we beat the two best pitchers the Angels had. Could we three peat that? No, the local team went out there and reminded you that they’re the Texas Rangers and not the Anaheim Angels.
Joe Saunders pitched the way I thought Lackey & Santana would. Six innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, and nine strikeouts. The three innings tossed by the three Angels relievers were no different. No more runs, and just one hit in all that, too.
So yeah, we acted like the Texas Rangers in a shutout tossed against us. This put an exclamation point on the 2008 season, I would think.

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G161: Rangers beat Angels again, 8-4

OK, last night we beat John Lackey. Tonight we’re up against Ervin Santana, another pitcher who we never seem to be able to beat. Couldn’t pull that off twice, could we? Yes we could.
In another surprising turn of events, the Rangers beat the Angels 8-4 behind Scott “We’re reducing your workload” Feldman. Scott had a pretty good outing. Went six, gave up just one earned run (two overall) on five hits, two strikeouts, and no walks. He too is probably a real candidate to start the 2009 season in the rotation. He was pretty efficient with pitchers too, just throwing 82 over his six innings. Probably pulled him so others could get some work at the tail end of the season. I mean, they [b][i]ARE[/i][/b] trying to reduce his workload, you know.
The other side of the coin brought a second straight bad performance by an Angel starter not known for them. Ervin Santana went 5.2 innings, giving up 10 hits and one walk for eight runs. Not even close to being good there. We didn’t have a massive inning – in fact, our runs were scored over three frames. One in the third, three in the second, and four in the sixth.
The biggest point I suppose of the offense was the fact that we broke the major league doubles record. Hank Blalock did the deed, giving us the record, and then Chris Davis added one on later on. On top of that, the Rangers passed 900 runs scored for the season for just the fourth time in franchise history. If that wasn’t good enough, Josh Hamilton regained the lead in RBI’s in the American League, with two on Saturday night.

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G160: Rangers bomb Lackey & Angels, win 12-1

Whie Vicente Padilla has been a pretty decent pitcher this year, I don’t think anyone expected him to beat John Lackey. This is a guy that normally beats us (at least it feels that way). So I think it was rather a big surprise when the Rangers unloaded on Lackey, especially after the way we were mowed down the last time we faced him. Look at this:
Lackey on Sep 21st:
6IP, 0ER, 2H, 3BB, 12K, 110P
Lackey on Sep 28th:
2.2IP, 10ER, 12H, 2BB, 1K, 73P
That’s a major difference. I was quite surprised when we started unloading on John Lackey, you just don’t do that. It was so bad that in the third or fourth innings, every single Angel position player was changed. Only one player remained, and he changed position, but the eight other defenders in the field were different players. That really felt like a game played in March, not in late September.
It was bad (for Anaheim). Every Rangers starter got in on the hit parade. We had 19 in all. Six doubles, one triple, two home runs, and a pile of singles. The Rangers scored one in the first, seven in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth, and that was actually it. All the scoring was in the first four innings. However, the six doubles were notable as they tied an all time major league record. They now have 373 doubles for the season, which ties the 1930 Cardinals, and the 1997 and 2004 Red Sox for the all time lead. Given we still have two games left, one would think breaking the record would not be a problem. :)
The Rangers staff was quite good today, but that pretty much got overlooked by Lackey’s (lack of) performance. Combined, the Rangers pitchers went 9 innings, gave up just five hits, and one run on five walks, and ten strikeouts. It’s the kind of performance that wins you a lot of games, but it’s the kind of performance the Texas Rangers don’t normally get a lot of.
The win did clinch second place for the Rangers in 2008, something that the Rangers have never actually done, since the alignment went to a four team AL West.
Why o Why could we not do this more often than not during the season?

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G159: Rangers blow out A’s 14-4

In the final game of the season against Oakland, we got out the whipping sticks and trashed ‘em, 14-4.
The Texas scoring got started with a big three run home run for Hank Blalock, who has homers now in like three or four games in a row. We pushed across two more runs in the fourth with several singles, but then the big can of whoop-ass came out. This would be the bottom of the sixth when we scored eight runs. This is another one of those innings where I’ll just post the text from the play by play from the game.

Rangers 6th (Rangers 13, Athletics 2) — H. Blalock hit by pitch. N. Cruz hits a home run to left-center field on a 0-0 pitch, H. Blalock scores. Pitcher Change: S. Casilla replaces D. Eveland. G. Laird walks. T. Metcalf doubles down the left-field line, G. Laird scores. With G. Duran batting, wild pitch by S. Casilla, T. Metcalf to 3rd. G. Duran singles to left field, T. Metcalf scores. M. Young doubles to right-center field, G. Duran to 3rd. Pitcher Change: J. Gray replaces S. Casilla. J. Hamilton doubles to left field, G. Duran scores; M. Young scores. M. Bradley doubles to left-center field, J. Hamilton scores. M. Byrd grounds out, B. Crosby to D. Barton, M. Bradley to 3rd. H. Blalock singles to left-center field, M. Bradley scores. N. Cruz flies out to T. Buck. G. Laird grounds out, D. Barton to J. Gray. (8 Runs, 7 Hits, 0 Errors, 1 LOB)

Seventeen hits, five doubles, three home runs (Blalock, Cruz, Metcalf), nine singles, that’s a lot of offense. Mike Young went 4-4, and six guys had two hits each. Was a lot of bat swinging going on. Just check out the box score, it’s all there!
On the pitching side, Matt Harrison made his final start of the year, and came away with his ninth win. This I think makes him a serious candidate for the 2009 opening day rotation. I don’t see how you can not include him. Matt was pretty good, going six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. He’s turning out to be a great pickup. Not that we didn’t expect it from what was said when we acquired him, but it is definitely nice to actually SEE one of these deals work for us, instead of for someone else.

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G158: Rangers retake 2nd place with 6-4 win over A’s

This game was pretty much evenly matched for quite awhile. Was 1-1 after 2, 3-3 after two, and then a pile of zeroes. The A’s put up a run in the seventh, and then we retook the lead, retook second place as well.
Dustin Nippert took the hill today, and was “meh”. I’ve written how surprised I was with his pitching the second time around, and this looks like a downswing, although it is his last appearance of the season, so it will probably weigh heavy. Dustin went 6.1 innings, gave up six hits, four earned runs, on three walks and four strikeouts. Two of the six hits were home runs (Jack Cust, Joe Buck), so he was done in by the longball. Our pen (Wright, Madrigal, Francisco) was pretty good, going 2.2 innings, combining for zero hits, zero runs, and zero walks. That was an nice performance.
Offensively, the big shot was a two run home run by Hank Blalock, whose shot came in the bottom of the seventh, and gave us the lead we never relinquished. We had several guys with multiple hits. One had three (Bradley), and four guys had two (Young, Byrd, Blalock, & Cruz). Three were doubles, and all the rest (save for Hank’s HR) were singles. Of the starters, only Laird & Metcalf had no hits.
Was a pretty nice come from behind win to retake second place in the division.

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G157: Rangers lose in 11 to A’s, 4-3

The Rangers lost a good performance by Kevin Millwood in this one. Kevin went seven innings, allowed just two earned runs (one unearned). Few too many hits (eight), and just one walk. Six strikeouts. Pretty good performance. He’s actually been pretty decent since his last stint on the DL. I don’t think he’s ever going to be the guy he was that one year in Cleveland while wearing Texas on his chest, but this end of year Millwood is a decent one. if only it could be harnessed all season, he’d be pretty darned good.
Hank Blalock continues to tear it up late this year, making people (myself included) if it actually might not be a bad idea to keep him in 2009. I know a lot has been said about we have other pieces we can use instead of Hank, but it now feels like he’ll still be here in 2009 to me. Question is, first or third?
Hank led the offense with a 3-5 night, and two runs scored. However, the big blow was a home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Frank Catalanotto got a triple (!) in a pinch hit role, and both German Duran & Milton Bradley had two hits. All the rest of our hits were scattered, with nobody getting more than one. 11 in all, we had one double, one triple, one home run, and eight singles.
Oakland played the carousel, using seven pitchers in all. Texas used five.
There was a lot of seesaw action early on. Rangers up 1-0, A’s up 2-1, Tied 2-2, A’s up 3-2 after the top of the third. Stayed that way for quite a long time, when the Rangers finally tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. However, Luis Mendoza gave up the winning run to the A’s in the top of the 11th, and we couldn’t tie it again.
Oh well. This did knock us out of second place, bit of a bummer there, everyone appeared to have assumed we were a lock for second place.

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G156: Rangers lose to Angels again by same score, 7-3

When you’re doing recaps for games a week after they happen, and you see the same score two days in a row, it always makes you think, “Now wait, that can’t be right”. Not near impossible, but the same score two days in a row to the same team usually doesn’t happen. That’s what happened here.
Despite our scoring three runs, this game was dominated by John Lackey. He didn’t even allow a hit until the fifth inning, and in his six innings of work overall, he struck out 12 Rangers. Gave up three walks and two hits, and no runs at all. It was quite the dominating performance, one we’ve seen from him many times in Arlington. I was there in person when he made his major league debut a few years back, and recalled then thinking this guy is going to be some kind of spectacular. If there was a downside to his game, it was that he wasn’t efficient. He threw six innings, but also tossed 110 pitches. That’s been a major plus to the 2008 Rangers, they’re acting like the late 90′s Yankees, or the A’s. Take a lot. This is a good thing, and as I recall one of the things Ron Washington said he wanted to instill in our hitters when he took over as manager. Glad to see it is taking hold.
We had six hits in all. Two by Teagarden (one a double), two by Blalock (one a double), and just one hit each by Marlon Byrd (double), and Milton Bradley. That’s it. The fact we managed to score three runs at all was a testament to efficiency. That and Mark Bulger’s lack of command in relief, leading to the three runs all coming in the bottom of the ninth, making things a bit exciting there.
But this really was John Lackey’s game. Simple as that.
Oh yeah, Scott Feldman is out of gas. They better start limiting his pitches.

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G155: Rangers drop another to Anaheim, 7-3

Vicente Padilla got into the seventh, but really didn’t pitch that well. His official line was 6 innings pitched, seven hits, five earned runs, and three walks. Not terribly great. Also gave up a two run home run to Garret Anderson. On top of that, he did throw two wild pitches.
Offensively we had five more doubles (and five singles). Hank Blalock led the way, going 4-4 with an RBI and a run scored. He’s been on fire lately.
There really isn’t a whole lot to write about this game. Fairly “meh” game.

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G154: Rangers lose 15-13. Fans sigh.

Whenever I see a score like this, I am reminded of a game I’ve spoken of a few times over the years on this site. The Phillies / Cubs game from the late 70′s where the Phils beat the Cubs 23-22. You’d think 13 runs would be enough to win the game. Not this time.
First off, I had tickets to this game, but could not go. I’ve been hurt lately, I had an X-Ray and now an MRI on my knee, so the walk from parking to my seat and all that would have been too much pain. So I stayed home. Rangers lost, but I certainly would have seen an entertaining game, had I been able to go.
We were down 7-0 going into the bottom of the third, and then we unloaded with a nine spot in the bottom of the third. Not long after that, the Angels put up a five spot, followed by a three run bottom of the fifth, so there was little pitching in the first five innings, as the score at that point was 13-12 Anaheim, and we hadn’t gotten to the sixth yet!
In the final four innings, the Angels outscored Texas 2-1 in the final four frames. I’m not even going into details as to pitchers and batters. It was just scoring all over the place. If you want that level of detail, hit the MLB Recap link at the top of this story. :)

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G153: That was just awful. Rangers lose 17-4

I don’t have time to write a full commentary, but even if I did, I wouldn’t have wanted to.

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G152: Rangers walk off with 5-4 win

No time to write about this still, but a huge win in the bottom of the ninth sounds great. Wish I would have seen it. :(

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G151: Rangers outslug Tigers, win 11-8

No time to write commentary for this game.

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G150: Rangers lose to A’s again, 7-4

No time to write commentary for this game.

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G149: Rangers lose big to A’s 7-1

No time to write commentary for this game.

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G148: Matt Harrison dominates A’s, Rangers win 7-0

Nolan Ryan’s recent edict was that pitchers in our entire organization need to pitch longer into games. He must have loved this one. Matt Harrison pitched a complete game shutout. His line was specacular. Nine innings pitched, five hits, four walks, and ZERO runs allowed. The kind of line that would make any team president happy, but one with the pedigree of Nolan’s? Oh yeah, he was loving that. It also was a historic win, too, as Matt Harrison is now a record holder for a lefthand rookie pitcher with eight wins.
Offensively Hank Blalock had another home run, and looked like he had a second (would have been a slam), but it didn’t quite get out. Chris Davis hit a few balls around the yard hard, too. Taylor Teagarden also continued to shine offensively with another home run. Extra base hits were the order of the night, as we had six of them (out of 10 hits). Three doubles (Hamilton, Davis, Laird), one triple (Davis), and two home runs (Blalock, Davis).
But the night belonged to Matt Harrison. Nights like this will go a long way towards 2009. However, one always wonders about these kinds of things. I’ve seen a ton of pitchers have great Septembers, but by the time spring training comes around, they seem to have forgotten all of this. Hopefully it sticks around.

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G147: Dustin Nippert and Rangers get win over A’s, 6-1

Dustin Nippert continues to prove me wrong. As I’ve said before, I really was in the “WTF” group of fans when he was brought on board late in spring. He stunk up the joint early, but lately has been quite good. His outing this Thursday won’t win any awards, but you can’t argue with the two most important stats, IMO, those being the win and the runs allowed (one). He was effectively wild, going five innings on 104 pitches, four hits, four walks, and as was said, just one run allowed.
That was the only run the Rangers allowed in all. Our pen shut down the Mariners for four innings, a nice job by Jamey Wright, Bill White, & Frank Francisco. All of them allowed no runs, but no hits either, which was very high on the coolness scale. But what was better was that none of them gave up any walks, either!
Offensively, the Rangers had 14 hits in all. Four doubles, one home run, and nine singles. On the negative side, Joaquin Arias was picked off first by a very nice pickoff move by Dallas Braden. Josh Hamilton was 3-4, Arias & Blalock were 2-5, and all the other hits were scattered. No Rangers batter (starter or sub) was hitless. That’s the kind of thing that’s nice to see.
Nice to get the series win, but I would have preferred the sweep – it is just the Mariners, after all.

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G146: Rangers drop game to Mariners, 8-7

The fact that Kevin Millwood lasted five innings in this game was the big surprise. Eleven hits, two walks, seven runs allowed (five earned), 103 pitches. He wasn’t good. Meh.
Offensively, we jacked four home runs, but it was’t enough. Millwood gave up too many. The home runs were by Nelson Cruz, Taylor Teagarden, Hank Blalock, & Chris Davis. Like to see all of those names (especially me who picked up Teagarden as a catcher in a couple of fantasy leagues). Taylor also had a double, but again, it wasn’t enough. Interestingly enough, batting slots 2-3-4 had no hits the whole game, and the leadoff slot had just one.
Kind of interesting to see the Mariners throw out seven pitchers, that’s a lot for one game.

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G145: Rangers get to Hernandez & Mariners, 7-3

Felix Hernandez certainly isn’t looking like the great/awesome/whatever pitcher he has been touted the last few times he’s played the Rangers. I don’t have a list of all his games in front of me, but against us, he seems to not do as well. This game was no different. The Rangers got to him for the tune of six earned runs on six hits and four walks. Not very good at all. Certainly not “King like” to me at all.
Hernandez’ downfall was of course due to the Rangers offense, which was led by Marlon Byrd & Taylor Teagarden. Each of them got three hits each (of the total 10 hits we got). Each of them had a double, as did Josh Hamilton. All the other hits we got were singles. Byrd was 3-4 with 3 RBI’s, and Teagarden was 3-5 with 3 RBI’s of his own. These guys were the game for us.
Another notable was Nelson Cruz going 1-3, but with two walks. Has Cruz really figured it out?
We ran a bit, with four steals in the game (Byrd, Hamilton, Young, Arias). Was nice to tweak Hernandez, mostly because his nickname irritates the heck out of me.

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G144: Rangers drop finale against Red Sox, 7-2

Well, the luster came off McCarthy’s return, as he was blown out by the Red Sox. 5.1 innings, seven hits, three walks, and six earned runs. Not that I think anyone was expecting Cy Young here, but you got a gut feeling (or I did) that he figured it out and was going to be really awesome every start the rest of the year. Oh well, I guess that’s just me being naive. That’s the vibe you got when he was finally activated to pitch in the majors this year.
Paul Byrd kept the Rangers off the board, going six shutout innings on just three hits and three walks. Not much else to add to that.
Offensively, we had just six hits. One a Teagarden double, the rest all singles. None by Michael Young, either who took an ofer. He still needs 35 hits in 18 games. Not impossible, but unlikely; time appears to be running out on him for another 200 hits in 2008.

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G143: Rangers destory Wakefield, bomb Sox 15-8

With a knuckeballer, you usually get shut down totally, or you light him up like several Christmas trees. In this game, we got both from Tim Wakefield. He started the game for the Sox, and through the first inning and two thirds, he was spectacular. Then after getting two outs in the second, not only did the bottom fall out, but the wheels came off too, and any other platitude you’d want to stick in there. He was horrendously bad there. In the last out there, he gave up four hits, four walks, and seven earned runs. The carnage was pretty bad. It set the tone for the game.
In addition to the seven spot in the second, we also had two in the third, one in the fifth, three more in the sixth, and a pair in the bottom of the 8th. There were runs all over the place. Nine of our sixteen hits were of the extra base vareity. I’ll cheat and paste from the box score regarding extra bases…
2B: Laird 2 (21, Wakefield, Timlin), Davis, C (18, Smith, C), Catalanotto (23, Pauley), Cruz (2, Pauley).
3B: Boggs (4, Timlin), Hamilton (5, Timlin).
HR: Cruz 2 (3, 3rd inning off Smith, C, 1 on, 1 out; 5th inning off Timlin, 0 on, 2 out).
Matt Harrison threw for the Rangers, and did well enough. Not stellar, but not great either. Six innings, seven hits, one walk, and four earned runs. “OK”, but not awful.
Was nice to see Nelson Cruz pop a couple of home runs. Makes you wonder if he really has figured it out for real, and will no longer be a AAAA player. If he has, it will make our outfield situation much more interesting next year, as it seems we will have an abundance of qualified candidates for the job next year. I suspect some worthy people will be sitting in AAA for being blocked.

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G142: Millwood stumbles, Rangers lose big, 8-1

After the last several outings, we wondered how well Millwood would do against the Red Sox, or at least I did. After three innings, he was down 1-0 on a solo home run to Mike Lowell, who just came off the DL this game. Nice for him to get back in the saddle that fast. However, going into the fourth, Joaquin Arias dropped a ball that was a routine grounder to second, and that opened the floodgates.
The Sox pushed across four runs in the fourth inning. Technically only one was unearned, but the fact that Millwood had to keep going seemed to rattle him – at least to me, this “guy on the couch at home”.
Thing is, we were never really in this game anyway. Josh Beckett started, and like Lowell, was just coming off the DL. He allowed no runs in his five innings of work, striking out seven, and giving up just four walks. The guys who followed him were just as good. Manny Delcarmen pitched two innings, giving up nothing and striking out three. Justin Masterson followed with a scoreless frame (although he walked two). The Rangers finally got to a Sox pitcher, that being Hideki Okajima when he gave up two hits and a walk. That was a Nelson Cruz single which plated German Duran.
Bummer the Rangers lost. While the Sox are probably going to make the playoffs as the wild card, but it would have been nice for the Rangers to sweep the Red Sox and help ‘em not make the playoffs. Be nice to have a playoffs without BOTH the Red Sox and Yankees.

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G141: Dustin Nippert stellar in 1-0 win over Seattle

When the Rangers aquired Dustin Nippert from the Diamondbacks at the tail end of spring training, most fans (myself included) were thinking WTF. This was not a name that made you think “Hey, let’s bring him in, he’s so much better than what we have”. His April performances were pretty godawful (6ER in 0.2IP in the first, and 8ER in 2.1IP a few appearances later). He was banished after that, not to appear again for awhile. The guy we saw in this game was nothing like the guy we saw earlier in the year. If THIS was the guy the Rangers thought they were trading for, then hell yeah – that was a decent move.
Granted, it’s just one game, but how can you not get excited about this? Seven innings pitched, ZERO runs scored, no walks, and seven hits and 99 pitches. It was quite the performance, and if this version of Dustin Nippert can be harnessed, this is a great pickup, if a bit delayed in results. OK, I’m a bit jazzed about this, but wow, it’s hard not to be. Was a great pitching performance.
The one run was a sac fly by Milton Bradley, his 74th of the season overall. It came in the first inning – and it held up. That’s the surprising thing. We don’t get 1-0 wins at home very often.
The bigger surprise was the lack of fans in the stadium. OK, it was a weekday 1:05 game. I work – I have just about zero chance for coming out for those (except opening day). But the announced attendance was 12,882, and from several local reports, it was way less than that. My thoughts on why so many empty seats have been chronicled a lot, so I won’t go into it here.
Still, 1-0 is exciting, even if hardly anybody witnessed it.

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G140: McCarthy bounces back for the win, 6-4

The Rangers offense woke up a bit, getting fifteen hits in all. Two of our starters (Byrd & Davis) had no hits, so the hits were scattered amongst seven guys. Laird, Bradley, & Hamilton had three hits each. There were no home runs, but four doubles and one triple came off Rangers’ bats. Josh Hamilton’s RBI jump seems to be in gear again, getting three of them tonight. He got out to a massively quick rate, but has slowed down a bunch lately. Still leading the majors, but not as many as quickly now.
But the more important bit for me from this game is the line of Brandon McCarthy. After “a chat” with Nolan Ryan about his pitching, McCarthy was activated, and has done well this season in his limited sample. Tonight, he went six innings, giving up just two earned runs on four hits and (more importantly), no walks. Still too many pitches (102 in six), but the overall numbers were pretty good. This is a guy who need to get it together, as we could use one of these trades for pitchers to go right, and not go bad. :(
Still, one would think we should have beaten the Mariners by more than that. We’re not the greatest team around, but the Mariners are horrible. Would have been nice to have a 18-4 game again.
Young 200 hit watch: one hit

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G139: Beltre cycle leads M’s to bombing of Texas, 12-6

This game irritated me. We put up a five spot in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was all for naught, because after that, the Rangers did not score any more, but the Mariners did. Eight more times!
It’s hard to win when your pitching staff gives up 20 hits. We got to the Mariners’ starter (Carlos Silva) pretty well (4.2 IP, 10H, 4BB, 6ER). You had a good feeling with all of that. Didn’t stick up, though. Bummer.
The best moment of the game though was the three run home run by Taylor Teagarden, who just arrived as a September callup. He wasn’t even supposed to play in the game, but got in, and jacked a three run shot with his parents in Tom Hicks’ box down front. Showing off Teagarden’s medal from the Olympics, it was a great moment. But that was it. Game stunk after that.

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G138: Rangers turn tables, squeak by Angels, 4-3

The Rangers got out early with some power. Josh Hamilton finally got his 30th home run of the season in the first inning, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. In the second inning Marlon Byrd jacked a two run shot, putting us up 3-0. We never looked back. OK, we did, because it’s the Angels, but we never lost the lead.
Kevin Millwood allowed two runs in the bottom of the second inning, but that was it for him. Kevin had another great outing, going 6.2 innings, allowing just the two runs on five hits, and no walks. Kevin also struck out seven in this game. It wasn’t a complete game, but he’s pitching as good as he ever has in a Rangers uniform.
Anyone else notice that Mike Scocscia (sp?) seems to be a manager who is constantly “confused” and seemingly gets mad if someone breathes the wrong way? You know – whenever something doesn’t go the Angels way, Soocscia has that constipated look on his face in the dugout? Happens all the time.
Offensively, the Rangers had the two home runs, and also had three doubles. The other five hits were singles.
Young 200 hit watch: one hit.