Driving back from San Antonio last night I was re-introduced to the Rangers.
After overcoming deficits of 7-2 and 3-0 in the 8th inning in wins over the Indians last weekend, the Rangers -- thanks to a bad, postpartum outing by Alexi Ogando -- spotted the lowly Mariners a 6-3 lead after three innings.
The latest, greatest comeback actually began with the bullpen. Two scoreless innings by Yoshinori Tateyama and one each by Mark Lowe (who's decent all the sudden), Darren Oliver, Mike Adams (who struck out the side) and Neftali Feliz allowed Texas a chance.
Ian Kinsler made it interesting with a two-run homer in the 7th, Yorvit Torrealba made it dramatic with a game-tying double in the 8th and -- who else? -- Josh Hamilton made it another walk-off win.
Seattle sucks. No way around that. In the 8th the Mariners botched a pick-off of Nelson Cruz that could've, should've ended a scoreless inning for Texas. And in the bottom of the 9th Mariners' relievers allowed a walk, botched an attempted sacrifice bunt and then surrendered Hamilton's game-winning bloop single for a 7-6 Texas win.
The Rangers made two juicy deadline trades to strengthen their bullpen and last night showed why. The relievers won this game, holding Seattle in check in what was on the verge of becoming a blowout loss.
Rangers' bullpen: 6.1 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts.
Mariners' bullpen: 2.0 innings, 4 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts.
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With the win, the Rangers reduced their magic number to clinch their second consecutive AL West to 45. Too soon?
But something that doesn't translate to long-commute radio: What's this Eric Nadel was talking about last night? Something about a new, serpent-like hand gesture the Rangers are now doing?
Claw. Antlers. Snake?