The Mariners un-closer Fernando Rodney moments before walking Beltre with bases loaded.
Small ball turned out to be huge for the Rangers last night. It didn’t hurt that the Mariners had their version of Tanner Scheppers on the mound in Fernando Rodney.
With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, in yet another game Cole Hamels couldn’t hold a two-run lead, Ryan Strausborger bunted for a base hit.
Then Delino DeShields bunted for a base hit.
Then Shin-Soo Choo got hit with the first pitch Rodney threw to him.
Prince Fielder came up with bases loaded. This season, 65% of the time he has come up with a runner in scoring position, he has gotten the runner in from second base with less than two-outs.
He struck out.
Not too long ago, that would have ended the rally. But now that Adrian Beltre is heating up, this is a totally different Rangers offense.
That is the benefit of having a clean up hitter that can drive in a run. You expect when your number three hitter goes down, he will pick you up.
Beltre had already had two RBIs from three previous hits, two of those doubles. His RBI machine is back in tune. And that is going to be a dangerous thing for other AL teams.
Fernando Rodney wasn’t going to let Beltre beat him with a base hit. So he did the next worse thing. He walked Beltre.
That forced in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. And nary a ball left the infield.
And with that, the Rangers won the game 4-3. The Rangers won their fifth straight game. And, they moved to within three games of Houston in the AL West.