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The Resilient Rangers

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Okay, I'm impressed.

Friday night's kick-to-the-crotch loss to the Boston Red Sox felt like that moment. Big game. Big crowd. Gigantic implosion.

Frankie Francisco's blown save - six runs - felt like the big-bang instant in which a demoralized, gutted bunch of Texas Rangers' youngsters starts sinking in the standings, inexorably chained to the weight of an emotional defeat.

I likened it to a guy going to a club, catching the eye of an extremely hot, outta-his-league girl and getting her phone number, only to drop the digits down a sewer drain on the way home. Lost forever, along with his will to pursue another damsel.

But you know what happened before the Rangers could feel sorry for themselves? They played another game. Elvis Andrus and Julio Borbon literally ran through the sorrow, leading Texas to a record eight stolen bases in a 7-2 victory on Saturday night.

And then yesterday afternoon, the Rangers had the balls to win another game, take another series and - ta-da! - slip into the AL Wild Card lead with 46 games remaining.

Kids do the darndest things.

Let's don't make too big a fuss over this because I'm not sure Texas' 20-something core knows any better. They just keep playing. Keep running. Keep having fun.

Keep winning.

If the season ended today 2009 has already been a smashing success. As for 2010 and beyond - wow. Of course, the present is about to get really delicious.

Kudos to manager Ron Washington for calling on Francisco again. When the closer responded with no-frills fastballs and strikeouts of Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez, Washington responded with a double fist pump "Yes!!"

Exclaimed play-by-play voice Josh Lewin: "Ball Game!! The Rangers have overtaken big, bad Boston!!!"

Actually, they were one strike away from sweeping the Red Sox. They trailed just once the whole series. And against big, bad Boston they are 7-2, after going 1-9 last season.

I keep saying that this is the year before the year. But after responding to a heart-breaking loss with two gut-check victories and taking the Wild Card lead into mid-August, this foreplay just might end up with a dramatic climax.

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