Rangers fans saw a lot of unique things last night. Angels second baseman Danny Espinosa taking a Shin-Soo Choo bad hop grounder off his face was the least of it.
They saw Carlos Gomez hit for the cycle. His first hit was a double. About five feet from second, his left cleat came flying off. That didn’t slow him down much. In the third, he dumped a single just past the outstretched arm of Espinosa, who was probably gun shy at this point.
His third hit was perhaps the most remarkable of all. It will forever be known as The Fly Ball Mike Trout Didn’t Catch. Yep, 999,999 times out of 1,000,000 Trout catches that ball. Last night, he didn’t, and it turned into a triple.
Then, Gomez punctuated the cycle with a mammoth home run to left center in the seventh. When his night was finished, he had four hits, scored two runs, drove in three, and raised his average twenty-five points, and his team beat the Angels 6-3.
Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor pulled off a rarity as well. They both got a hit in the same game. The last time that happened was April 17, some ten games ago. Mazara was 2-for-35 heading into last night’s game, Odor was 7-for-53.
But perhaps the most amazing thing on display last night at the Ballpark happened in the sixth inning. Jeff Banister, for perhaps the first time in his managerial career, did not go by the book. He did not automatically remove a starting pitcher at the 100-pitch mark. He did did not automatically remove a starting pitcher who allowed a base runner after the fifth inning. These are things the Book of Modern Baseball Managing insists you do. More than insists, compels. These are things he has always done, and things that have so often come back to bite him on the backside.
But on Saturday, April 29, 2017, Rangers fans witnessed the education of Jeff Banister. He threw convention out the window. And ended up with a win. He let Davish get out of his own mess. And didn’t allow the Rangers bullpen to blow another game.
Banister had a bigger night than Gomez.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, in the ninth inning, Rangers fans got to witness playoff baseball in April. Gallo opened the inning throwing away a ball. DeShields dropped a ball. Napoli kicked around a ball.
The Rangers played the brand of sloppy defense that killed them the past two post seasons.
Luckily, Matt Bush was able to pitch around his teammates this time. After all, Rangers fans didn’t need to see that again.
JC Ramirez (2-2, 4.43) vs. Martin Perez (1-3, 3.81)
Game time: 2:05