In a game that lasted 5 hours and 12 minutes, nearly twice as long as an average game, the Rangers and Yankees traded blows for a solid 13 innings. The combined pitching staff used for both teams was 19. Yes, 19! No typo here.
Undoubtedly, Rangers fans are walking around with their chests held high, whose team just days before almost got swept by the Toronto Blue Jays, a team miles out of their pennant race. Grant it, they were without both Elvis Andrus, who returned tonight, and Nelson Cruz, a man who, when healthy, can change a game just like that.
As if trying to make up for lost time, not only did Cruz hit the game-winning home run at past-midnight last night (or should I say this morning), he happened to smash another one over the wall in what would become the middle of the game (the 8th inning).
C.J. Wilson made the start for the Rangers, but the usually-solid ace left bruised and battered after just 3 innings, as the Yankees knocked in 4 of their 5 runs in those first few off of him. Other pitchers for the Rangers were: Matt Harrison, Pedro Strop, Alexi Ogando, Michael Kirkman, Dustin Nippert,Clay Rapada, Neftali Feliz, Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver, and Scott Feldman. Feldman (7-10) was awarded the win for Texas.
The Yankees fielded only 8 pitchers as opposed to the Rangers’ 11. Javier Vazquez, like Rangers’ starter, Wilson, gave up 4 runs, but in 5 innings pitched. The most notable of the others would be the two that Cruz homered off of: Joba Chamberlain (8th) and Chad Gaudin (13th).
The only blemish on this seemingly spotless victory is that of Ian Kinsler being ejected for being hot-headed. When asked to comment by MLB.com he stated that he didn’t want to talk about it, and admitted to having said some things he shouldn’t have. This is the second game he has been tossed from this season including the June 26th game against the Rangers’ Lone Star State rival, Houston Astros.
In other news, Josh Hamilton hurt himself running into the wall while chasing a fly ball on September 4th. One week after his initial injury, Hamilton regrettably stated that his rib cage has shown no notable sign of improving. Though the Rangers are optimistic about his return in time for the playoffs, it’s still up in the air.
It was good to see life back in the Rangers again, as they have seemed to look dead of late. Perhaps Nelson Cruz brought that spark back that they were missing. Kinsler may be a hothead, but sometimes that’s what a team needs to light a fire underneath them. Only time will tell. For now the Rangers sit comfortably 7.5 games ahead of the trailing and failing Oakland Athletics. The Yankees, however, are only 1.5 ahead of the ever-looming Tampa Bay Rays, who look to be within Steve Irwin striking distance. Bad joke? Sorry.