Most games come down to one decisive moment.
Last night’s came down to an eleven-pitch battle between Jose Leclerc and Steve Pearce, who was the tying run in a situation that should not have happened. But that is a topic for another game. Probably today’s.
After pitching brilliantly for six innings, allowing just two hits and no runs, Nick Martinez did the unthinkable. He threw pitch number 103. Alarms went off in the Rangers dugout. Telegrams were sent to the MLB Players Association headquarters in New York. The media was alerted. A Rangers pitcher had exceeded the one hundred pitch mark. The ACLU filed a grievance.
So naturally, a dominating starter was taken out of a 5-0 game in order to give the Blue Jays a sporting chance. And Jose Leclerc quickly did. He walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases with one out.
Then he went into an epic, stress inducing, cover your eyes battle with Steve Pearce. This was the game-deciding moment, brought to you by Pepto Bismol.
Pearce got to 1-2, then fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch after pitch. Seven straight in fact. Good pitches, bad pitches, close pitches. One went far enough for a grand slam, but foul.
Finally, on the eleventh pitch, Leclerc struck him out looking.
Still not out of it, with bases still loaded, Leclerc delivered five pitches nowhere near the strike zone to the next batter. Fortunately, that batter was Blue Jays hitter Ryan Goins, who mercifully swung and missed at the last three.
The crisis of their own making was averted.
The Rangers won 6-1 to scratch and claw back to .500.
Seems like a lot of work just to break even.
Joe Biagini (1-6, 4.26) vs. Tyson Ross (1-0, 3.18)
Game time: 7:05