The Texas Rangers were locked in the middle of a one-run game with the Los Angeles Angels when word came that the A's had dropped 3 1/2 games back in the American League West with their 6-2 loss to Justin Verlander and the Tigers. The Rangers had the perfect opportunity to move their lead back to four games and move closer to the postseason.
Unfortunately this was a game that saw the Rangers without both of their MVP candidates . Josh Hamilton was absent from the lineup with vision issues that he had previously thought were vision issues, but as of game time the cause was unclear. Beltre was not in the lineup due to intestinal issues that had also begun to plague him the night before. While you cannot find any two pieces of the Rangers' lineup that are more important, the offense did not fail to take care of business.
This pitching matchup featured Derek Holland versus C.J. Wilson and once again the Rangers were able to run Wilson from the game early on. They were unable to get a run across in the first inning, but loaded the bases and had him working from the start. The second went better for Wilson, but then in the third the Rangers were able to get on the board. Ian Kinsler led off the inning with a single, which was followed by an Elvis Andrus triple and a double from Michael Young. The Rangers were up 2-0 before David Murphy would pop out, but then Mike Napoli doubled to bring in another run and Mike Scoscia had seen enough. He replaced Wilson with Jerome Williams who would be much more effective on the night than Wilson.
While Jerome Williams pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, Derek Holland was once again rolling for the Rangers and gave them an excellent seven innings of work. The only runs Holland would allow came off of an Alberto Callaspo two-run homer, that brought the Angels within a run in the fifth inning. Holland however got out of the fifth and then was able to work scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh innings. It was his fourth straight solid outing as he is once again having a great second half of the season.
The Rangers did manage to add three more runs in the top of the eighth inning, with two of those runs coming off of a Geovany Soto homer. While the Rangers did not have Hamilton or Beltre , it was the first time in awhile that they had both Mike Adams and Joe Nathan available. Adams would work a scoreless eighth inning and Nathan came on for a scoreless ninth, even though it was not a save opportunity.
This was as nice victory for the Rangers after their dismal performance in Game 1 of the series on Tuesday night . The victory allowed the Rangers to move four games up on the A's and 7 1/2 up on the Angels. These teams will now battle it out in game 3 of the series on Thursday night in what will be their final meeting in Anaheim, that meeting will feature Yu Darvish versus Zack Greinke. The teams will then face each other for three more in Texas before the conclusion of the regular season. While the season started with everyone focused on the Angels, the main threat is still the A's. Moving four up with two weeks to play was big, but there is still plenty of baseball to play and if 2011 is any indication, anything can happen in September.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.