The two best teams with the top two best offenses in the American League since the All-Start break squared off last night at the Ballpark.
One with a pitcher, Mark Buehrle, who works the fastest, often getting in a game in just over two hours.
One with a pitcher, Derek Holland, who works the shortest, lately getting in a season in about four weeks.
What ensued wasn’t so much a baseball game as a heavyweight fight. Like Tyson-Holyfield, without anyone losing an ear.
The scoring was fast and furious.
We get one. They get one.
Right jab, left hook.
We get one, they get two.
Jab. Hook, hook.
We get three, they get one.
Thump thump thump. Thwack.
Neither starting pitcher had a quality start. Heck, neither really had a quality inning. It was an exchange of sucker punches to the back of the head.
Chris Colabello homered. Rougned Odor homered. Jose Bautista homered. Delino DeShields homered. Edwin Encarnacion homered.
Punch, counter punch, punch, counter punch.
By the time the top of the ninth round came along, the Toronto Blue Jays were staggering and on the ropes.
But Shawn Tolleson, the rock solid reliever, couldn’t get the final strike. And Adrian Beltre, the rock solid third baseman, couldn’t make the final throw.
And, in the end, the Rangers hit the mat hard in game one, losing by judge’s decision 6-5.
In the end it wasn’t the big blows that knocked out the Rangers. It was the ninth-inning walks, bloop singles and a critical throwing error.
It was the paper cuts that did them in.
Those hurt worse than the punches to the gut.