Finally, after eleven attempts at erasing a deficit, the Rangers do it in a huge way, digging themselves out of a 5-0 hole against last season’s best team in baseball.
And the kids led the way. The big heroes were fresh-off-the-minor-league-bus in Ronald Guzman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
The two newly-minted rookies collected their first major league hits each on Friday, then slugged their first major league home runs each on Saturday.
They were big.
Down 5-0 to Charlie Morton who, up until that point, had an ERA of 0.00 and had cruised through the first four innings, the Rangers Kiner-Falefa led off the fifth with a homer to left. But this was typical Rangers 2018. Get buried early. Score a token run. Go home.
Maybe because a few of these rookies haven’t been indoctrinated with the Rangers Way, things might be different.
The elder statesman Adrian Beltre hit his first home run of the year in the sixth to chip away 5-2. Solo home runs have been the only scoring devise the Rangers have at their disposal.
Then in the eighth, perpetual prospect Jurickson Profar doubled. Joey Gallo homered and suddenly it’s 5-4 and the impossible seemed within reach.
Two batters later, it happened. Ronald Guzman reached the right field bleachers with his first home run as a big leaguer, to tie the game 5-5.
But the Rangers had tied the previous game and then blown it with a critical error. So it was just a matter of time before they found a way to give the game away.
The Astros, though, couldn’t go ahead on a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth. They stranded a two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth.
Then in the top of the tenth the Rangers did something more rare than Haley’s Comet on Leap Year Day with a full moon over Sasquatch. They scored without hitting a home run. And it put them ahead in a game they were previously losing. The Rapture is near.
After a Profar walk and a Gallo double, the Astros intentionally walked Beltre to bring up Ronald Guzman, too new to realize runners in scoring position is where the Rangers are supposed to break their fans’ hearts.
He singled to score Profar and give the Rangers a 6-5 lead. (NOTE TO RANGERS FANS: A “lead” is the situation where one team has scored at least one or more runs than its opponent.)
Houston threatened by getting the first two on in the bottom of the tenth, but the Rangers held them there.
And held on to the win. (NOTE TO RANGERS FAN: A “win” is the situation where after the regulation game has been completed one team has scored more runs than its opponent. That team is credited with a “win.”)
It snapped a five-game losing streak and, more importantly, a streak of not being able to win a game in which they trailed.
It was the kids. Gumzan and Kiner-Falefa are just 23. They came up together. Got their first hits in the same game together. Homered in the same game together. And now they helped the Rangers avoid their worst start in franchise history together.
It might be fun watching the kids play.
Bartolo Colon (0-0, 1.64) vs. Justin Verlander (2.0, 1.45)
Game time: 7:08