Adrian Beltre got the big hit. Ian Kinsler made the defensive play. And, in a first, Mark Lowe salvaged what Neftali Feliz ruined.
The Rangers beat the Royals in extras last night and -- pending a weekend visit through Cliff Lee and the formidable Phillies' pitching staff -- might avoid these early-season potholes with minimal damage after all.
When MVP Josh Hamilton made his dumb, daring dash for home on a foul pop April 12, the Rangers were 9-1 and off to a 1-0 lead in Game 11 in Detroit. With their best player out with a broken arm, the Rangers also endured ensuing injuries to Feliz, set-up man Darren O'Day, slugger Nelson Cruz and starting center fielder Julio Borbon.
The end result? Texas hasn't been good, last night's win raising its Josh-less record to 14-19. But it's been good enough, as -- with Hamilton on the verge of a return to the lineup -- the Rangers are somehow still in first place in the AL West.
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While Cruz may return in time to face Roy Halladay, Lee and Roy Oswalt over the weekend in Philly, Hamilton took a step toward the big-boy lineup Wednesday as he homered and got two hits in a rehab start in Frisco. With gingerly slow steps -- no head-first diving, please -- he'll DH again tonight for the Rough Riders before a weekend stint with AAA Round Rock.
By Tuesday -- which would be exactly six weeks after his injury -- Hamilton could again be playing for the Rangers.
All things considered, the Rangers would have to deem this a successful survival.