Rangers 4, Brewers 3
Michael Young singled off Cordero with two outs in the ninth to cap a four-run rally and lead the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Brewers on Saturday night.
Cordero carried a 0.36 ERA and led the majors in saves at the start of the day, and looked well on his way to another good finish when he retired the first two batters he faced.
With Texas trailing 3-0, Brad Wilkerson hit a two-out single, Ramon Vazquez walked and Gerald Laird hit an RBI single. Kenny Lofton beat out an infield single to drive in another run and Marlon Byrd tied it with an RBI single.
Young then lined a single up the middle to give the Rangers the comeback win and send Cordero (0-1) to his first blown save of the season.
“Coco’s having an incredible year,” Young said. “Everyone in here has a great deal of respect for him. He was a great teammate. Considering the year he’s having and how tough he’s been, coming in with a three-run deficit, we knew it would be tough. We were fortunate to string together some very good at-bats.”
Milwaukee manager Ned Yost noted that Cordero was getting two strikes on most of the final six hitters he faced, but Cordero couldn’t put any of them away.
“We knew he’d have an off night at some point, but we wanted to wait as long as we could before it happened,” Yost said. “He got two quick outs and a lot of two-strike counts, but couldn’t put them away. But it’s not devastating. We’re not dead. It’s a ballgame.”
Cordero had few answers for his worst performance of the season.
“There’s nothing I can say,” he said. “I believe I made pretty good pitches and they hit them. I got the first two guys out pretty quick and you think it’s pretty much over, but that wasn’t the case. This is not the first time it’s happened and I don’t think this will be the last time it happens.”
Rangers manager Ron Washington has been waiting for this kind of rally from his faltering club, which had lost 12 of its previous 16 and has the worst record in the majors.
“They showed they can grind a game out against one of the best closers in the game,” Washington said. “We have a lot of heart. We don’t have the victories to show for the heart that we have.”
The comeback spoiled an impressive outing by Brewers starter Ben Sheets, who gave up five hits over seven scoreless innings. He struck out six and walked two and was in line to win for the sixth time in his last eight starts.
Texas didn’t get an extra-base hit off Sheets and advanced only one runner as far as third base. Derrick Turnbow retired the side in order in the eighth inning, but the Rangers broke through against Cordero.
Frank Francisco (1-0) allowed two runs and two hits in the ninth, but got the win.
Texas’ Sammy Sosa failed to homer in his 15th straight game as he seeks to become the fifth player to hit 600. Sosa, who went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, is in a 10-for-57 slide since hitting his last homer—No. 598—on May 22.
Texas played its first game in four seasons without slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira, whose franchise-record consecutive games streak ended at 507 after he was put on the 15-day disabled list before the game due to a strained left quadriceps.
Teixeira left Friday night’s game against the Brewers following the sixth inning after landing awkwardly on the first-base bag running out a grounder.
Texas’ starting rotation’s entered with an ERA of 7.00, the worst mark in baseball and on pace for the worst in major league history. But the Rangers got five strong innings out of starter Brandon McCarthy, who was on a tight pitch count after missing his previous start.
McCarthy had won his previous three decisions, but was removed from his last start on May 25 against Boston due to a blister on his right middle finger. On Saturday night, McCarthy was pulled after five innings after giving up one run and four hits. He struck out five and didn’t issue a walk.
The Brewers added two runs in the ninth off Francisco on Geoff Jenkins’ sacrifice fly and Graffanino’s RBI single.
Lofton was back in the lineup after leaving Friday night’s game following the seventh with left knee irritation. … Texas was shut out for the third time this season and the second time in four games. … Milwaukee is 66-78 all-time in interleague play, 2-3 this season. … Texas is 85-96 vs. the NL, 3-2 this season. … The Rangers sent RHP Kameron Loe to Triple-A Oklahoma and called up 3B Travis Metcalf from Double-A Frisco. … During the game, the Rangers completed a trade with Oakland for C Adam Melhuse. Melhuse will back up Laird. Chris Stewart had been Laird’s seldom-used backup, but the Rangers want Stewart to play more so was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma after Saturday night’s game. The Rangers will send the A’s a player to be named for Melhuse.