Rangers Cruz Past Rival Angels in Rubber Match
After falling to the Angels on Saturday, the Rangers came out and made a bold statement on Sunday night against Angels Ace Jered Weaver in a nationally televised game. In the first 3 of 19 the two teams will play this season, the Rangers established where the balance of power stood in the American League West.
“It’s important to win games against the teams in your division, there’s no doubt about it,” said Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (2 for 4, 1 RBI in the game). “The most important thing is to win games and to win series and we’re able to get another series under our belt. To be honest with you, I’m not really worried about them. I’m worried about us and what we need to do to win games.”
The Angels sent their Ace to the mound, a day after Rangers fans were treated to seeing C.J. Wilson start his second consecutive game of the series. Weaver only lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up 8 earned runs on 10 hits and a walk.
“Those guys are good over there, man, and if you fall behind, let them get in hitters’ counts, they’re going to put damage on you,” Weaver said. “Obviously, they’ve been doing it to a lot of people. You have to be on your ‘A’ game against these guys. They don’t give you a chance to breathe. You have to be pretty fine with all your pitches, and that wasn’t the case tonight.”
While all runs are created equal, the big blow came off the bat of Nelson Cruz who, with the game tied at 2, delivered a two out Grand Slam in the bottom of the 3rd to cap off an inning in which the Rangers scored all of their runs (5 in total) with two outs.
“I said before that I felt like my swing was there, just not the results,” Cruz said. “I thought it would come. It’s good to see it.”
Cruz wasn’t alone in his plight to sink the Angels pitching staff. Every Rangers starter, with the exception of David Murphy, got a hit with Kinsler, Andrus, Hamilton, Cruz, Napoli & Moreland all contributing multi-hit games. Even the hitless Murph made a very big contribution last night, working a walk after being down 0-2 to Jered Weaver in the 3rd, which loaded the bases and kept the inning alive for Cruz. While Cruz was the only one that left the yard, the extra base power was there all night as the lineup combined for seven doubles.
“It’s a fun lineup to be a part of,” Josh Hamilton said. “Every night somebody steps up. Either all of us, or bottom of the lineup or top of the lineup. It flip-flops or varies, which is a good thing to be able to say as a team. It’s just fun to be a part of.”
Rangers starter Neftali Feliz, very appreciative of the big lead, pitched well through six innings of work, only giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 5. The two runs came on a home run by Mark Trumbo who started in right field for the Angels – dude has massive power.
Rangers relief gave up four more runs, with three of those being surrendered by Mark Lowe in his 2/3 innings of work. Lowe, who had performed pretty well so far this season, set himself back last night in terms of the trust that Rangers fans have in him. The other run was given in up in the 9th by Joe Nathan via a Kendrys Morales solo shot. Nathan was getting work in due to the time since he last pitched, not because it was a save situation.
Two other worthy highlights of the night:
- Elvis Andrus defensive GEM – with the Angels threatening to make it a ballgame in the seventh inning, having already scored 3 and now with the bases loaded, Elvis made a tremendous play to end the inning. I couldn’t find video of the play, but I’m sure most of you saw it. He ranged far to his left behind the second base bag, gloved a ball and flipped the ball from his glove to Ian who was covering second, just in time to get the force. Words don’t do it justice….
- When Jered Weaver was pulled from the game in the middle of the fourth inning, he showed his fun side by singing along with the “Hit the Road Jack” music being played at the Ballpark. Goofy, and as many tweeted last night, made him seem a little less douchey. Video below…
Final words from our friend Jered Weaver:
“You have to be pretty good coming into this place,” Weaver said. “These guys are pretty good at home. That’s been proven. They’ve got a good ballclub over there, man. And if you dig yourself a hole before you get out there, that’s pretty much a game won for them already.”
- The Rangers begin their series against Kansas City tonight at the Ballpark. Scott Feldman gets a spot start against Bruce Chen in the first of the short two game series.
- We completed our Twitter Ticket giveaway yesterday, and the winner was Larry Bannister. Thanks to everyone who participated and we’ll try to keep more fun giveaways coming the future.
- The Baseball Do Field Trip is only a little over 6 weeks away. What are you waiting for…? Good food, Rangers baseball and Reckless Kelly!
Personal shout out – Happy Birthday Dad!
Jered Weaver Ballpark Karaoke: