After 144 games, after an April from Hell and a July from East Hell, after too many blown saves and too much non-existent offense, and then after a lot of brilliant tinkering by Jon Daniels and a lot of brilliant maneuvering by Jeff Banister, the Rangers have scratched and clawed their way to first place.
It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always pretty. It didn’t even seem possible at one point. You can say that about not only the season, but also about last night’s gloriously aggravating game.
They had a huge lead, then they didn’t. They trailed, then they didn’t.
Then, in the end, they won it with the heart of their order coming through again. Heart being the operative word.
This team showed some huge heart after losing a 4-0 lead.
Fielder led off the ninth with a single. He was replaced at first by all-feet-no-bat Drew Stubbs.
Beltre singled Stubbs to third.
Moreland batted the Rangers into first place.
Final score: Texas 6, Houston 5.
Texas was nine game behind Houston on July 22. Since then, they have methodically carved and sliced and diced and pecked away at it. And now the Rangers have done to the Astros what the Athletics did to the Rangers two years in a row.
It feels so much better to be the hunter rather than the hunted.
Now, after all of that, the Rangers have an even bigger task ahead of them.
Their reward for being in first place is staying there.