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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.