Top Ten Moment #7: Back-to-back walk offs.
The Rangers came into the second game of a home series against the San Diego Padres five games under .500. They had won two in a row and were looking for some sort of momentum in the early season.
Martin Perez got the start, coming into the game with seven starts under his belt, a 1-5 record, and a 4.06 ERA. In other words, he was vintage Martin Perez. Luckily, he was facing the dreadful Padres lineup.
Perez was up to the task. He gave up two runs in six-and-one-third innings of work. But, he left the game down 2-0, because the only thing weaker than the Padres offense was the Rangers offense.
Padre starter Clayton Richard had given up just three hits in seven scoreless innings when he came out to face Mike Napoli to lead off the eighth. Napoli homered to make it 2-1. That’s where it stood heading into the bottom of the ninth, facing the Padres closer Brandon Maurer.
Choo led off by flying out to left. Andrus then dumped a single to center. Lucroy followed with a single to center to move Elvis to third. Gallo pinch ran for Lucroy.
Rougned Odor, hitting all of .194, came up with runners and first and third and poked a single through the hole on the left side of the infield to pick up a rare RBI and tie the score at 2-2.
Mike Napoli stepped up to the plate with the winning run at second. On the fifth pitch he saw from Maurer, he crushed the ball deep down the left field line for a game winning, walk off, three-run homer, sending the 22,405 fans at the Ballpark into a frenzy.
The Rangers won 5-2 in dramatic fashion. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Until the next day.
Now the fourth-place Oakland Athletics were in town to face the last-place Rangers. The Rangers offense was still MIA, having just four hits and one lone run heading to the bottom of the ninth. Like the day before, they were down 2-1.
This time, it was Athletics closer Santiago Casilla on the mound. Lucroy greeted him with a single through the hole and on into left field. Next up, the anemic-hitting Rougned Odor defied all odds and singled to right, sending pitch runner Kozma to third. First and third, no outs. The situation where Rangers rallies go to die.
Not today. Napoli hit a sac fly to score Kozma. Then Carlos Gomez doubled Odor to third.
Now it was Joey Gallo’s turn. He battled Casilla to a 3-2 count. Fouled off a pitch. Then, on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, hit a towering shot that hit the right field foul pole for another game ending, walk-off, three run homer in a row.
Another four-run ninth. Another 5-2 victory. Another fan frenzy in the Ballpark.
Wins number three and four in the Rangers eventual ten-game winning streak.
And the last walk-off win the Rangers would enjoy in 2017.