10. It's rare that Yankees' Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera surrenders three hits in an inning. And you usually don't win when you commit three errors against the best team in baseball. But each happened last night during the
Rangers' dramatic 4-3, 10-inning victory at a frenzied Rangers Ballpark. David Murphy was the hero, but give Michael Young credit for starting the game-winning rally with a hustling infield single to shortstop. Said manager Ron Washington, "A huge win."
9. Packed stadium. Primo teams. Stellar pitching. Clutch Hitting. Dramatic conclusion. And it's only early August. Can you imagine how fun this could be come October?
8. Give play-by-play voice Josh Lewin credit: He put in "the call" before Murphy's sixth-inning homer. I guess if you do it 162 times you're bound to nail a couple. But still, impressive.
7. Claws. Antlers. And girls in Rangers jerseys waving Texas flags out on Greene's Hill after a Rangers' run or the snuffing of a New York rally. Kudos to Rangers' marketing guru Chuck Morgan for the flag girls. Thumbs up.
6. Emily Jones = Hot. And, I might add, pretty damn good at her job.
5. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't trust Frankie Francisco. Down 2-0 to A-Fraud in the eighth, he inexplicably grooved consecutive fastballs, the second of which landed 409 feet from home plate.
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4. I hope I'm wrong, but Vladimir Guerrero looks like he's out of gas.
3. Play of the night just might have been catcher Bengie Molina's casually fantastic pickup of Murphy's one-hop throw from left field. After snagging the ball Molina applied the tag on Nick Swisher, who for some reason didn't try to bowl him over. That some reason may be that Molina is built like an igloo.
2. A kindler, gentler, funner Murphy's Law: After throwing out Swisher and launching a two-run homer that gave Texas the lead in the sixth inning, Murphy lined a 3-2 pitch from Rivera into right field for the game-winning single. Any doubt who deserved the post-game pie in the face?
1. By my (historically sketchy) math, the Rangers' Magic Number to clinch the fourth playoff berth in their 39-year history is 42 on the A's and 41 on the Angels, who have played three more games. Those combined numbers of Texas wins and Oakland/Anaheim losses and the Rangers are AL West champs. Too soon?