Texas pleads the fifth. 91 comments

Adrian Sampson strikes out Alex Gordon with bases loaded in the top of the fifth.


Games are often won or lost in one inning.

Seasons might be as well.

The fifth inning the defining inning of not only yesterday’s game, but also the Rangers re-vamped rotation. And maybe even the season.

Just like that, the Rangers rotation has been transformed.

They jettisoned Shelby Miller to the pen. They lost Edinson Volquez to the IL. Now all they have to do is find an able-bodied replacement for Drew Smyly and the complete makeover will have taken place.

The Rangers did what they needed to do. Win three of four against the hapless Royals. They should have won all three, but after losing Game One of the series, they did the best they could.

Now they play an even worse team in Baltimore. Three games. Three guaranteed wins.

Adrian Sampson was as dominating as a pitcher could be. Eleven strikeouts. No walks. One run. In seven innings.

But it all came down to the critical fifth inning.

Kansas City led off their half of the fifth with a single, a bunt single and another bunt single. The Rangers one-run lead was teetering with their best hitter, Whit Merrifield, up. He drilled the ball, but right into Asdrubal Cabrera’s glove. One out. Then Sampson struck out the next two hitters to get out of a major jam.

The Rangers responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. And what could have been a disasterous inning ended up being a brilliant inning.

It could be the defining moment for the Rangers. A team that has been defined by far too much losing of late would certainly like to dip into the thesaurus for a new set of words.