This started out being about A.J. Griffin and how he is on pace to shatter a record that he probably would rather not hold. Because I started writing this in the eighth inning of what looked like a well-pitched Griffin game in which he would get little run support.
The dubious record I was going to tell you about is this: Most home runs per game given up in Rangers history.
That record is currently held by the easily forgettable Ishmael Valdez, who allowed 1.7 home runs per nine innings in 2003.
So far this season, Griffin is on pace to give up 2.5 home runs per nine innings.
He gave up two solo shots last night in seven innings, four hits over all. And it looked like it was all the Astros needed, until—
Until the Astros.
Until the ninth inning.
That glorious ninth inning.
Astros pitcher Ken Giles did what he was supposed to do to the first three batters. Ground out. Strike out. Strike out. Trouble was, the second batter, Rougned Odor, reached on a wild pitch for his strike out. So Odor was safe.
With two outs, the Rangers spark plug, Elvis Andrus, come up. All he did was triple to deep deep center field to tie the game.
Enough words cannot be spoken for what he has meant to this team at the bottom of the order this year, and how his presence has meant pitchers have no where to rest.
With Elvis on third and the Rangers tied, it was just a matter of time before the won this one.
The very next pitch, in fact.
Jurickson Profar got a fastball up and singled to left for the inevitable Rangers one-run win.
And if there was any heart in the Houston Astros, it was collectively broken right then and there.
In what is the most unlikely turn of events of all, Tanner Scheppers—yes, Tanner F-ing Scheppers, that guy—came in and closed out the Astros in the bottom of the ninth. Not to take anything away from him, but the Astros were so shell shocked at that moment it didn’t matter who was closing it out.
Now Texas is 15-3 against Houston. But after last night, it has to feel like 15 million-3.
Of all the unlikely wins the Rangers have had, this may be the most unlikely of all. And the most satisfying.
Derek Holland (7-7, 4.74) vs. Joe Musgrove (2-4, 4.78)
Game time: 7:10
RANGERS MAGIC NUMBER: 8