The Rangers scored two runs on a strikeout, their best offensive weapon of the season.
Yesterday, the Rangers discovered what it’s like to play the Rangers. They discovered what it’s like to play a team that doles out runs like a drunk philanthropist.
Coming into this series, the Seattle Mariners had given up just one unearned run.
In the ninth inning yesterday, all four runs were unearned. The Rangers won by that four-run margin, 5-1.
The best defensive team in baseball, Seattle, played as if they were the worst. And they fell apart when it really mattered.
There is an old saying, “every time you go to a ballpark you will see something you’ve never seen before.”
Yesterday, two things happened. Two runs scored on a strike out. And the Rangers actually scored a run (let alone two) with bases loaded.
That the Rangers best offensive weapon was a strikeout is just bitter irony to the season in which nobody on this team can put a ball into play. But going into the ninth inning, the Rangers clung to a 1-0 lead. After a leadoff double, the next two batters, naturally, struck out. With a runner at second and two outs, the Mariners intentionally walked Isiah Kiner-Falefa to get to the automatic out after him, Rougned Odor. Odor complied by meekly grounding out to first to end the game.
Except the Mariners first baseman forgot to field the ball. Bases loaded.
No problem. This is the Rangers. They never saw a pitch they couldn’t swing and miss. Which is exactly what Ronald Guzman did with two strikes.
Except the Mariners catcher forgot to catch the ball. It wasn’t surprising that Jurickson Profar scored from third on the passed ball. What was pretty amazing was the daring base running of Isiah Kiner-Falefa to score from second.
Amazingly, two runs came home on a strikeout, the Rangers secret offensive weapon.
Oh, one other thing happened yesterday that had happened only once before in the 130-year history of baseball: Robinson Chirinos stole a base.
In the end, the Rangers won the first and last games of their five-game road trip.
The team with the most strikeouts in major league baseball finally figured out a way to win with one. They have already mastered the art of losing with strikeouts.