by Jerry Feitelberg
AP photo: Rougned Odor gets in a headlock from Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, Elvis Andrus left, AJ Griffin center right, and Nomar Mazara right celebrate the walk off hit by thrown by the Oakland A’s reliever Marc Rzepczynski in the tenth inning that hit Odor with the bases loaded at the Ball Park in Arlington on Tuesday night
Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers rallied from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the tenth when A’s reliever Marc Rzepczynski hit Rangers’ second baseman, Rougned Odor, with a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the winning run. The final score was 5-4. There is a saying in sports that says bad teams will find a way to lose and good teams will find a way to win. The A’s had their chances to put the game in the win column, but they couldn’t capitalize when necessary. The Rangers should have lost the game but the A’s bullpen failed them in the bottom of the tenth, and they gave the game to the Rangers.
The A’s scored first in the top of the second. With the bases loaded, Rangers’ starter Lucas Harrell walked Danny Valencia to force in a run. Harrell had to leave the game after the inning as he suffered a right groin strain. Andrew Triggs started for Oakland, and he pitched very well. Triggs went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just one run and two hits. He threw just seventy-five pitches in the contest. Triggs left with Robinson Chirinos in scoring position. Bob Melvin brought in Ryan Dull to face the very dangerous Carlos Beltran. Beltran greeted him with a single to tie the game. In the seventh, the Rangers scored their second run of the night to take a 2-1 lead. Rougned Odor walked to start the rally. He went to third on a Mitch Moreland single off the glove of Yonder Alonso. Elvis Andrus hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Odor.
The Rangers Alex Claudio pitched four shutout innings in relief of Harrell. Claudio had three speeds- slow, slower and slowest. He confused the A’s hitters with pitches that registered just sixty-five miles an hour on the speed gone. His fastball, when he threw one, came in at 85 mph. The Rangers closer, Sam Dyson, could not get the job done in the ninth. The A’s tied the game at two. Max Muncy singled. The A’s had Tyler Ladendorf pinch run for him. Ladendorf stole second when Coco Crisp struck out and then scored on a single by Danny Valencia. Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth and the game went into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth, the A’s scored twice, and it looked like a win for the Green and Gold. BoMel gave the nod to John Axford to finish the game. Guess what? It did not happen. Axford walked Chirinos, Jonathan Lucroy, and Ian Desmond. That set the stage for Carlos Beltran. Beltran did not disappoint the Ranger fans as he singled to drive in two and tie the game. Melvin replaced Axford with lefty Marc Rzepczynski. Rzepczynski issued an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre to load the bases for the second time in the game. The next batter was Rougned Odor. Odor has been a thorn in the side of the A’s for a couple of seasons and Rzepczynski wanted to be very careful with him. That did not happen as Rzepczynski nailed him with a pitch to force in a run and the Rangers celebrated a walk-off victory. Final score 5-4 for Texas.
Game notes – The Rangers won their thirty-eighth come-from-behind game this season and improved to 71-50 and are in first place in the AL West and have the best record in the American League. The A’s drop to 52-68 and are sixteen games under .500.
Carlos Beltran was the hitting star for the Rangers Tuesday night. The Rangers acquired Beltran from the Yankees at the trade deadline. The thirty-nine-year-old Beltran, who has over 2500 hits and more than 400 homers on his resume, had four hits and three ribbies in the game.
The Rangers and A’s will conclude the three-game series at 5:05 pm Wednesday night at the Globe Life Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The A’s Sean Manaea will be on the hill, and Yu Darvish will pitch for the Rangers. The Rangers will be going for a sweep.
21,877 watched the Rangers win in extra innings.