This is why baseball is the greatest sport in the world.
Football, this wouldn’t happen. The Indianas of the world never beat the Alabamas. Ever. Ever. Ever. They might score a few points and get a moral victory, but they don’t win. They might even score first and then hope like heck that time ends at that exact point and they are forever frozen in the lead, but that never happens either. Time continues marching on, and Alabama continues marching over Indiana.
But not baseball.
Baseball, weird things happen.
It was pretty unlikely that the Rangers would win last night’s game. A hapless last place team playing a hapfull first place team. A team that has never even won two games in a row playing a team that has won ten in a row. At their park. With their ace throwing. Their ace who won American League Player of the Month honors for April. While the Rangers were countering with a guy whose team has lost every time he took the mound this season.
All the numbers and facts and figures and points of logic were stacked against the Rangers.
Even when they tied it in the eighth, and then somehow went ahead in the ninth, every Rangers fan thought the same thing.
They are going to blow it.
Because they usually blow it. The Texas bullpen had blown its last six saves. In fact, the team had just two saves all season.
And because the Astros had never lost a game this season in which they had a lead.
And because the Rangers are not very good.
But the cosmic tumblers lined up as they somehow do, and the Rangers won 2-1.
Chalk this one up to Ross Detwiler, who bent in the first but didn’t break, crafting by far his best start in a Rangers uniform. His last two starts have been encouraging.
The key to the game last night, however, was Delino DeShields’s at bat in the top of the eighth inning with the Rangers down a run, 1-0.
After Robinson Chirinos struck out, DeShields got two quick strikes. Astros ace Dallas Keuchel had already struck out ten, and with DeShields sporting an embarrassing-for-most-teams-but-actually-among-the-team-leaders-on-this-team batting average of .176, it looked like he was going to be strikeout victim eleven.
But DeShields took a few in the dirt, then laid off a pretty good fastball that just missed the zone for ball four. He stole second on a play that was originally called a pick off but later changed to a stolen base. Then, he came home on Jake Smolinski’s bloop RBI single.
And just like that, the Rangers tied it. On a thing called a “hit with runners in scoring position.” For those accustomed to watching Texas Rangers baseball the last two and a half seasons, or what are known as The Magadan Years, a hit with runners in scoring position is what happens when the Rangers have a runner occupying second or third base and a Rangers hitter puts the ball in play resulting in a base hit. It’s like the Haley’s Comet of occurrences.
With the 2-1 victory, the Texas Rangers cut the Astros lead to 8.5 games, and kept the magic number for elimination at 133 games.
Now, can the Rangers win two games in a row?
Hey, it’s baseball. Anything can happen.