One-hundred forty-one games into the season, the Rangers had their most satisfying game. They’ve had a few walk-off homer games, those are always fun. They’ve had a few well pitched games from rookies, those are always encouraging.
But for just all out fun to watch and, really, improbably, yesterday’s 8-6 win over the Oakland Athletics was the game of the year.
After having been pummeled the night before by an Oakland team that is fighting for a playoff slot, the Rangers sent emergency starter Wes Benjamin to the mound. He did what Wes Benjamin does.
After four innings, they were down 6-2, and it looked and felt like yet another Ranger loss to a more superior team.
Then Oakland Bob Melvin committed Baseball Stupidity 101. He pulled his dominating starter in a philanthropic effort to give the Rangers a chance.
They took advantage of that.
Texas had gone forty-eight innings without hitting a home run. In the eight, still down 6-2, with a new Athletics pitcher on the mound, the Rangers responded to the invitation to win. DJ Peters hit a two-run homer to make it 6-4. Yohel Pozo, who has quickly become the best hitter in the Rangers lineup with his .290 average, doubled in a run (he had three hits, by the way), making it 6-5. Then former Athletic Jonah Heim put the nail in the coffin with a two-run homer of his own to take a 7-6 lead.
When the turn-around inning was over, the Rangers scored five eighth-inning runs. A ninth-inning homer off the bat of Leody Taveras made it 8-6 and broke the hearts of the stunned Athletics on the bench who need every win they can get as their playoff life depends on it. They certainly expected to beat this Rangers team.
And they should have. If only Bob Melvin didn’t count pitches and instead watched pitches.
The Rangers weren’t hitting Cole Irvin. They did hit everyone else the Athletics sent out.
And just like this, this young lineup gained so much confidence. And, dare we say, swagger?