Texas 5 Boston 3 July 25, 2012

The Rangers took 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox with a 5-3 win on Wednesday night.  Derek Holland improved his record to 7-5, pitching 7 2/3 innings, striking out 7 and allowing 3 runs, two of them coming off homeruns by Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia.  The Ranger offense scored 5 runs on 10 hits getting RBIs from David Murphy, Craig Gentry, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz.  Cruz hit his 13th homerun of the year, in the 8th inning, giving the Rangers an insurance run.  Fortunately, that run wasn’t needed.  Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless 9th, recording his 20th save of the season.

I would like to know the last time a player executed a hit-and-run, and a suicide squeeze in the same game.  Craig Gentry did both almost perfectly.  in the 3rd inning, with Yorvit Torrealba going on the pitch, Gentry hit a sharp grounder past Adrian Gonzalez at first, sending Torrealba to third on a perfectly crafted hit-and-run.  That put runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs.  However, Ian Kinsler flied out to right.  Then  Elvis Andrus hit into a fielder’s choice resulting in Torrealba getting thrown out at home.  Hamilton walked to put runners on 1st and 2nd, but Adrian Beltre popped out to third.  So, an inning that started with runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs ends with no runs scored.  Something that is way too common for the Rangers right now.

But, back to Gentry.  He perfectly executed the hit and run in the third.  Then in the bottom of the 4th, he laid down a perfect bunt allowing David Murphy, who was running on the pitch, to score from 3rd.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a player log both a hit-and-run and a suicide squeeze in the same game, but Gentry did, and he did both of them well.

Josh Hamilton continued his woes at the plate.  He was 0 for 3 with another strikeout and 3 runners left on base.  This came after reports that Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington both criticized Hamilton for “giving away at-bats” by not being more selective at the plate and waiting for the right pitch to hit.  Those words didn’t seem to affect Hamilton much late in the game.  He walked early, giving the impression that he might be taking the comments to heart, but as the game wore on, and he got a few more at-bats, he was back to swinging at pretty much every pitch that was thrown at him.  In his third time up, in the 4th inning, he swung at all three pitches, popping out to third.  His 4th plate appearance, in the 7th, was even worse.  He struck out on three straight pitches.  So, Hamilton swung at the last 6 pitches he saw, calling into question whether he is serious at all about being more disciplined at the plate.

The Rangers are now 58-39, still 5 games ahead of the Angels.  They have the day off and then start a series tomorrow night against the White Sox.  Yu Darvish will pitch against Josh Sale whose last outing against the Rangers was a 5 hit, 1 run win, on June 3rd.

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