One again, Elvis Andrus’s glove eludes a batted ball, but this time it’s a good thing. Had Elvis’s glove hit this ball, the batter would have gotten three bases, and been on third for Mike Trout.
With Hector Santiago already having beaten the Rangers twice this season in three starts, boasting an ERA of 0.94 against them, the odds didn’t look good for Texas going into this one.
Plus he was a left-handed pitcher.
Plus it was the Anaheims.
When Santiago took a 4-1 lead into the fourth, it looked like it was going to be the same old song for the Rangers hitters: The Sound Of Silence. Through the first three innings, the Rangers managed just two hits, both by Odor. One on either side of the wall.
But something was brewing. Santiago was wild. Despite giving up just those two hits, he had walked three.
He quickly got the first two outs, when up came Shin-Soo Choo, who is as automatic of an out as there is in baseball in this situation. Quite often, the bat boy doesn’t even bother to lay out a bat for him to swing in the on deck circle and take up to the plate with him. What does he need one for? Why embarrass the Louisville Slugger company?
Santiago committed the cardinal sin in this situation. He walked Choo. The first base coach had to meet Choo half way to show him the way to the base.
Next thing you know, Rua doubles. Chirinos doubles. Then the Rangers are down by only a run.
They tied it in the fifth. Gave it away in the botton of fifth. Gave up another in the sixth. And went into the eighth inning down 6-4.
The Rangers rarely win when down by two runs after the eighth inning. Their never ever quit slogan is not something they actually practice, just preach.
But it worked this time. But only because Eric Aybar made the most boneheaded of decisions. A hey-let’s-put-Tanner-Scheppers-into-a-meaningful-situation boneheaded decision. Heads don’t get any more bonelike than that.
With a two-run lead, and runners on the corners, Albert Pujols fielded Choo’s sharply hit ground ball right on top of first base, stepped on the bag, then went to second. It was no longer a force play.
For some odd reason, Aybar didn’t tag Moreland, but instead chose to go home to get Andrus, whose run really didn’t mean much at that point. You always get the out in exchange for the run late in the game. Outs are the currency the other team cannot buy back.
He didn’t get Moreland out at second and didn’t get Andrus out at home. So instead of nobody on, two outs and a one-run lead, it was a runner at second, only one out, and an one-run lead.
The Rangers took it from there, tied it, then went ahead, plating three runs and then holding on for dear life as, inexplicably, Tanner Scheppers was brought into the game in his customary save-blowing opportunity. He bounced most of his pitches, but lucky for him the Angels hitters were overly enthusiastic, helping him out by swinging at a lot of balls in the dirt.
He was able to get out of the inning with only one runner stranded at second and no runs scoring. The statisticians at Elias report this is a first for Scheppers.
Shawn Tolleson does what Shawn Tolleson does so well, and the Rangers won one of the more entertaining, back and forth, come from behind nail biters they played all season.
The Rangers are now 2-0 in this 13-Game Stretch from Hell, and look to sweep the Angels tomorrow.
Here is hoping the Angels boneheaded ways continue for one more day.
Oh, by the way, who scored the winning run, Mr. Moreno? Josh Hamilton.