Baseball doesn’t get much more thrilling than last night’s Rangers game. Unless, maybe, for some unknown reason you are a Mariners fan, in which case you are automatically enrolled in the Frequent Losers Club anyway and you’d be used to it.
Kohei Arihara had another bad start, his third in a row where he couldn’t get through four innings. That’s 16 earned runs now in his last 8.1 innings.
Fortunately, the Rangers offense has been very good.
In May, from the eighth inning on, the Rangers have outscored their opponents 17-3. They needed that ability last night.
Down 4-0, then 5-1 headed into the bottom of the fourth, the Rangers offense erased Arihara and Allard pitching.
Joey Gallo hit two home runs, one of which actually went over the left field wall. Nate Lowe got two hits. Alodis Garcia got two hits. So did Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who, like Gallo, also drove in three runs.
From the bottom of the sixth there were four lead changes.
And the game ended with Seattle’s potential tying runner being thrown out on a close play at home after they scored one run in the top of the ninth to close a two-run gap to 9-8.
The Rangers did so many things right. But the biggest thing was a little thing. Execution. In the ninth inning, the Mariners put their first two on. With no outs, they then hit a deep fly ball to Willie Calhoun in left.
Rather than do the macho thing and throw to third in a feeble attempt to get the runner tagging up, he did the right thing and threw to second to keep the runner at first from tagging up.
So with two outs, runners were at first and third instead of second and third. And that made all the difference. Seattle’s J.P. Crawford dinked a single into left center, scoring the runner at third, of course. But once the ball took a weird hop way from Garcia in center, the Mariners runner made the decision to try to score all the way first on a single.
It was the wrong decision.
Had he been on second, he would have scored easily. And tied the game easily.
Instead, the Rangers inch back closer to .500 again with one of another dramatic come-from-behind victory.
When it was all over, Arihara’s start was long forgotten. Thank goodness.