Change Is In The Air: Last place Giants not hesitant to make moves with their season on the line

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Derek Holland didn’t take his demotion from the Giants’ starting rotation without blowing off some steam. Gathering reporters after Saturday’s game, Holland didn’t mince words.

“To be honest, I have no idea what they’re doing,” Holland said. “I don’t mean (manager Bruce Bochy). It’s more from the front office. We keep changing a lot of things. I did a fake injury so I’m not happy about that. But at the end of the day I’m going to do what they ask me to do. I’m going to be here for my teammates. That’s what it’s all about.”

Like it or not, Holland and his teammates are on watch, the byproduct of a 17-23 start to the season and an 8 1/2 game deficit in the NL West. Tyler Beede is the next man up in the team’s starting rotation, replacing Holland after the veteran was far too generous in Denver Tuesday in his return from the injured list. In snowy conditions, Holland allowed seven runs on seven hits, including three home runs. Holland was lifted with two outs in the third inning, trailing 7-2, as Bochy preferred Trevor Gott to face the dangerous Trevor Story with a runner on third.

“He was without his breaking ball,” Bochy said of Holland. “He didn’t have a feel for it and it’s hard to pitch here without it.”

When the Giants open a two-game set against the Blue Jays Tuesday, Tyler Beede will be the starter, not Holland. But that’s not the only change as the Giants attempt to climb out of a hole.

After that game, catcher Aramis Garcia was recalled along with Beede. Drew Pomeranz was placed on the list with a lat strain. Buster Posey will miss both games against Toronto as he still dealing with the effects of a concussion.

Brandon Belt is dealing with a calf strain suffered in Friday’s game. That opened the door for Pablo Sandoval, who homered and doubled on Sunday while replacing Belt.

On Saturday,  Dereck Rodriguez was sent back to minors with a mandate to find his control. Rodriguez allowed 12 earned runs in his two, most recent starts along with his ERA sitting at 5.05.

Finally, outfielder Aaron Altherr was claimed off waivers from the Phillies. Altherr smacked 19 home runs for Philadelphia in 2017, but was hitting just .034 this year when he was demoted. To make room for Altherr, pitcher Andrew Moore was designated for assignment.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: How does Holland get in front of the media? It should’ve been kept in house

dallasnews.com photo: Starting pitcher Derek Holland #45 of the San Francisco Giants throws in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 8, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

On the Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 Giants pitcher Derek Holland said he faked an injury, which the Giants countered by saying Holland had a left bruised index finger. The Giants say medical records back up the injury while Holland was listed as injured and demoted from a starter to the bullpen.

#2 Holland was listed with the injured bruised finger and sat last month, Holland has insisted he was not injured and the Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi said, “The guy gets hit by a truck, he can’t walk out on the field. That I guess an unequivocal injury, but there’s a lot of gray area beyond that.”

#3 Holland, no doubt, was disappointed that he was forced to sit for the April 29th injury, and said there was nothing wrong with him and he really wanted to pitch.

#4 Holland says the front office doesn’t know what their doing with the exception for Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Holland said, “I did fake an injury. I’m not happy about that. But at the end of the day I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do.”

#5 Morris has the Giants day off report tonight. On Tuesday, the Giants host the Toronto Blue Jays for two games. The Jays will start Trent Thornton (0-4, 5.06 ERA) and the Giants will start Tyler Beede (0-1,18.69 ERA). Both pitchers are looking for their first win of the season.

Morris does the Giants podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Giants re-sign Derek Holland to 1-year, $7 million deal

Photo credit: @sn_mlb

By: Ana Kieu

Left-handed pitcher Derek Holland was pulled out of the free agent market Monday morning. The San Francisco Giants re-signed Holland to a 1-year, $7 million deal. So Holland will be guaranteed $7 million this coming season and will earn at least $6.5 million next season if the Giants pick up the option with incentives that could make it a $15.5 million deal over two years. The news was first reported by The Athletic.

Sure, Holland reportedly told MLB Network Radio earlier this month that the Cincinnati Reds contacted him, but he never confirmed any plans with his hometown team. Holland is a Newark, Ohio native whose nickname is “Dutch Oven.” Holland was selected 25th overall in 2006 out of Wallace State Community College in Huntsville, Alabama.  Holland spent seven years in Arlington, Texas before spending brief, 1-year stints with the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants.

The Giants’ decision to re-sign Holland was an excellent one. Holland deserves a pay raise considering the fact that he arrived in San Francisco, Calif. last year as a non-roster invitee. Holland made $2 million last year, which was minimal compared to the contracts of other players in the MLB, but he ended up becoming one of the Giants’ most valuable players. Holland led the pitching rotation by tossing 171 1/3 innings and posting a 3.57 ERA with 169 strikeouts. Holland served as a starter for the most part. At times, Holland moved to the Giants bullpen, but he was able to achieve success there, too.

The Giants are reportedly expected to add more starters in an attempt to add more depth that Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez can start the 2019 MLB season in the minors and/or bullpen. Moreover, Holland was a great step that filled some of the Giants’ pitching needs.

Going in Another Direction: Giants relieve GM Evans of his duties, lose quietly to the Padres

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — If the philosophy employed by GM Bobby Evans to construct the 2018 Giants is horribly out of step with current baseball thinking, we got one more reminder on Monday night at AT&T Park.

After Evans was relieved of his duties earlier on Monday, the Giants’ bats fell silent in a 5-0 loss to the Padres. Padres’ starter Bryan Mitchell completely shutdown the Giants’ offense a week after he allowed the Giants nine hits and four runs in a loss at San Diego in his previous start.

The Giants have lost 16 of 20 to fall a season-worst 13 games under .500. At the root of all the struggles is an offense that frequently can’t even manage a base hit; the Giants are hitting .222 as a team since the All-Star break, the lowest such mark for any team in baseball since 1974.

“We’ve got to get this offense fixed,” manager Bruce Bochy said afterwards.

The move to relieve Evans and retain Brian Sabean while reducing his responsibilities means the club will look outside the organization to find their philosophical leader for the first time in decades. That next GM/executive will have to fortify an offense without the likelihood a free agent hitter would chose San Francisco as his destination given the dramatic dropoff in offensive production recent transplants have experienced.

Against Mitchell on Monday, a Giants’ lineup of underperforming holdovers and prospects Chris Shaw and Aramis Garcia managed just six base hits and one double from Brandon Crawford. Only leadoff hitter Hunter Pence managed multiple hits as Mitchell dominated for 8 2/3 innings. Mitchell struck out seven, and induced numerous ground balls that kept the Giants from mounting a rally.

“A really impressive performance, I would have loved to see him finish it,” manager Andy Green said of Mitchell.

Derek Holland pitched well but was lit up by Jose Pirela’s lind drive homer that increased the Padres’ lead to 3-0 in the fourth.

June boon: Giants’ 5-game win streak has them breathing down the necks of the first place D’Backs

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Right now, the NL West has some serious, what comes around, goes around, going down.

The Diamondbacks started it all by winning their first nine series, and lapping the field with their 19-8 start. All four of Arizona divisional opponents got a taste of the D’Backs’ heat, and the Giants and Dodgers dropped three-games sets at home and away to Arizona in April.

But the D’Backs went from hot to cold seemingly overnight, losing 13 of 14. Colorado jumped up first, and briefly assumed first place. The Rockies made their run on the outside, sweeping the Mets and Cubs on the road to start May. Then the Dodgers got hot, winning a pair of series against the Rockies in their surge.

Now Giants have returned home, winning the first four of a six-game home stand, and their 10-3 series-opening win seemingly indicates that it’s the D’Backs’ time to pay.

Zach Godley allowed back-to-back home runs to Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Crawford, the opening blows in the Giants’ seven-run fourth that turned a 2-0 deficit into a laugher in one, swift act. In all, the Giants hit four solo shots with Pablo Sandoval and Nick Hundley putting the finishing touches on the important win.

“We took advantage in that inning. McCutchen hit that home run and after that Crawford, and then we’re working and working every pitch to score more,” Sandoval recounted.

Key in the rally was manager Bruce Bochy’s decision to lift starter Derek Holland with the bases loaded and one out in favor of pinch-hitter Alen Hanson. All Hanson did was foul off four of the five, normally confounding curveballs thrown by Godley, before sending his hardest offering down the left field line for a double, and a 4-2 Giants’ lead.

Godley lasted just four more pitches, leaving when replay revealed that Joe Panik was hit by his curveball that veered too far inside.

When the Giants last saw Godley in April, he was the pitcher of the moment, shutting down the Dodgers (in a matchup with Clayton Kershaw) and Giants in his first, two starts of the season. After striking out nine and beating the Giants 2-1, Godley confidently stated that he used the Giants’ aggressiveness against them with great success.

But opponents soon found out that Godley’s signature knuckle curve doesn’t always finish in the strike zone, and they began laying off it in droves.

In Godley’s third start, he walked six batters and was done after four innings, trailing 5-0 to the Dodgers. Then the grizzly-bear like hurler won his next two starts without wowing either opponent. In those appearances he beat the Padres and Nationals, but allowed a combined 16 hits in 10 innings of work.

And Godley after that? One win in seven starts with only one of those lasting into the seventh inning.

“I throw my curveball a lot,” he said. “If guys can see it, they’re going to lay off of it as much as they can until I can prove that I can throw for it strikes.”

After the win Monday–and the season-best, five-game win streak–the Giants are back at .500 for the 12th time this season, and the first time since May 20 (24-24). So what’s different this time?

Two things: the Giants are just 1 1/2 games out of first place, as close as they’ve been to the top of the NL West since they were 4-3 on April 7. And Madison Bumgarner is scheduled to pitch Tuesday, the World Series MVP’s season debut after the Giants somehow survived 60 games without him.

Patrick Corbin, who was roughed up in his previous start at home against the lowly Reds, opposes Bum in the 7:15pm start.

FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT: The Giants selected catcher Joey Bart with the second overall pick in the 2018 draft on Monday. The 6’3″, 225 lbs. prospect is considered to be a plus defender and a skilled pitch caller, possessing a power bat. A skill set that not surprisingly mirrors that of 31-year old Buster Posey.

Could change be in the wind?

“When you have what I believe is the best catcher in the game with us, he’s our guy. So I don’t even think about that until it’s time to think about it,” Bochy said of any changing of the guard within the next two seasons.

 

 

Fun in the Finale: Giants close home stand with a win over the Padres

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants welcomed back an important guy to the roster after his surgery and recovery took a full year. They could have lost another guy nicked up in Wednesday’s game, but thankfully didn’t. And despite frustrating news regarding two other guys and their injuries, the team pounced on the Padres, 9-4.

That’s a tough existence, but one that only a resurgent group from San Francisco could appreciate. After surviving a brutal, season-beginning schedule, and dealing with numerous injuries to key performers, the Giants can point to a winning record with pride. Manager Bruce Bochy saw the significance, knowing his team could have struggled and disappeared.

“We could have gotten buried,” Bochy said. “It could have easily gotten away from us. But we played with a lot of heart.”

Narrow, late inning wins. The return of a power component to the offense. A pitching rotation ripped apart by injuries found credible stand-ins. And baseball’s toughest division didn’t swallow the Giants.

Now, after surviving April, the Giants take on May, starting with a road trip against three teams with unexpected, winning records. Like the Giants, little was expected of the Phillies, Braves and Pirates. Now, all four will see if they can continue their winning ways. For that matter, ten National League clubs currently have winning records, and two that don’t–the Dodgers and Nationals–won division titles in 2017. So something has to shake out.

So far, the Giants are in the mix. And people like Derek Holland, Will Smith and Nick Hundley–Wednesday’s heroes–are the reason.

Holland got the start, throwing five innings to earn his first win as a Giant, in his sixth start. Holland had a difficult inning in the third, but escaped when Eric Hosmer was thrown out at third trying to stretch his two-run double into a triple. Holland allowed one other run in the fifth, but the Giants had gifted the former Rangers pitcher with a 7-2 cushion at that point.

Five Giant relievers followed, including Will Smith, in his first appearance since the 2016 NLDS. Smith entered to applause and retired the Padres in the seventh, three in a row after issuing an inning-beginning walk.

Hundley was the unquestioned star in the series-deciding win, clubbing a home run in the fourth off losing pitcher Clayton Richard, and adding two doubles and a single in his 4 for 5 afternoon.

Austin Jackson, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt each contributed two hits to the Giants 14-hit attack.

Andrew McCutchen got plunked in the elbow by a Richard pitch in the third, and left the game for precautionary reasons. But McCutchen checked out during in-game tests, and could return to the starting lineup on Friday.

The Giants didn’t get encouraging news regarding Johnny Cueto and Joe Panik this week in the injury report. Cueto landed on the disabled list for the second time this season. Panik is now expected to miss more than the six to eight weeks that was part of his original assessment.

The Giants open their 10-game trip in Atlanta, Friday night with Chris Stratton getting the starting assignment.

 

 

Godley, Diamondbacks outdo the Giants at their game, in their park

502671
Paul Goldschmidt

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Giants’ fans, here’s your introduction to Arizona’s Zach Godley.

Big guy, loves to fish, perpetually sweaty, selfless, great curveball, and yet another youthful player in the NL West not with the Giants who’s career track is ascending rapidly.

In facing MLB’s toughest schedule through the first 28 games of 2018, the Giants are seeing the best-of-the-best early and often. On Monday, that gauntlet of a schedule brought the Diamondbacks to AT&T Park, and by any measure, Arizona impressed.

In beating the Giants 2-1–with both teams limited to five hits–the D’Backs manufactured runs early, pitched, played defense and their bullpen got the big outs late.

Just like the Giants used to do.

Last year, the Diamondbacks won 93 games, with winning records both home and away, and they somehow flew under the radar, dwarfed by the bigger story lines in Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Boston. An epic wild card win over the Rockies brought Arizona some notoriety, an NLDS loss to the Dodgers kept them from being a bigger story.

Now with a franchise-best ever 8-2 start, the Diamondbacks are looking for more, and getting it. Godley’s clearly no No. 5 starter, not with his swing-and-miss curveball, and his excellent mechanics, and ability to not tip his pitches. Everything comes out looking the same which prevents hitters from keying on something, and being hitterish.

Godley may have pitched better last week when matched with Clayton Kershaw he downed the Dodgers 6-1 while allowing just one run, on four hits, in seven innings of work.  Against the Giants, Godley again went seven, allowing four hits, no runs while piling up nine strikeouts.  According to Godley, the key was the Giants’ approach, not his.

“They were just aggressive, and that played in to what we wanted to do,” Godley explained.

In his first ever appearance at AT&T Park, Godley relied heavily on his curveball, and his success against the Giants’ first three hitters in their lineup.  Godley allowed one hit, and struck out six when facing the Giants’ 1-2-3 combo of Joe Panik, Brandon Belt and Andrew McCutchen. After Belt struck out looking on reliever Archie Bradley’s 95 mph fastball at the knees in the ninth, the Giants’ first baseman was saddled with an 0 for 4 collar with four strikeouts.

And while the Giants have been gritty and competitive early this season, they haven’t produced a lot of offense. After scoring just one run Monday, one thing sticks out. The Giants are a major-league worst 30th with runners in scoring position, hitting .119 (8 for 67).  They were 0 for 4 on Monday.

In the eighth, the Giants got a leadoff double off the bat of Brandon Crawford in their best opportunity to catch Arizona, leading 2-0 at that point. But Hunter Pence flew out, with Crawford advancing to third, then scoring on Gregor Blanco’s ground out.  But without the tying run aboard, pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval tried to dial up magic, and struck out to end the inning.

Derek Holland was plenty effective, closing the door after allowing two runs in the first, with Paul Goldschmidt’s run-scoring triple as the big blow.  Holland ended up going six innings, allowing just two hits while striking out eight. That’s a quality start, and deserving of a better fate.

“It was a pitcher’s duel, but (Godley) obviously lasted longer than I did,” Holland said.

The Giants get a second crack at the Diamondbacks on Tuesday with Tyler Beede making his major league debut after being called up from the minors. Beede replaces Johnny Cueto, who will instead pitch Wednesday afternoon. Arizona will counter with Patrick Corbin, who is 2-0, winning his first two starts.

 

Lefty Derek Holland gets an opportunity to resurrect his career in the SF Giant’s starting rotation

2018 Major League Baseball Photo Day
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Derek Holland #45 of the San Francisco Giants poses during Photo Day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Robert Binder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

from the cover athletic.com photo: San Francisco Giants pitcher Derek Holland throws to the Oakland A’s during Monday’s pre season game at AT&T Park in the second game of the Bay Bridge Series

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Seven weeks after Derek Holland’s under-the-radar signing with the Giants as a non-roster invitee, the relationship between the club and the player has gotten quite serious.

Madison Bumgarner (and Jeff Samardzija) are on the shelf, and the 31-year old Holland is in the starting rotation. Given Holland’s recent history, this is quite a development, one the resurgent pitcher won’t take for granted.

“This is a great ballclub,” Holland said.  “And I’m glad to be a part of it.”

After a 14-loss season (in 26 starts) with the White Sox in 2017, Holland was released. Signing with the Giants, he hoped, would give him an opportunity to stay in the majors as a reliever.  But the Giants are plentiful in terms of options in their relief corps. Thanks to the imposing salary cap, all the opportunities–if any–would be in the club’s starting rotation. In fact, besides the still-too-green Tyler Beede and Chris Heston, nearly three years removed from his June 2015 no-hitter, the Giants possessed few options other than Holland.

So Holland took the ball and ran with it.  In five spring appearances, Holland won once and got his ERA under control after it hit 6.20 for 2017.  With 18 strikeouts in 15 innings, Holland earned a look for a rotation spot.  The Giants were forced to overlook Holland’s four homers allowed, and his 17 hits allowed in 15 innings didn’t seem so bad when compared to Matt Moore of 2017, or the possibility of signing aging, ageless one, Bartolo Colon.

So when Bumgarner’s bone in his hand was broken by a liner through the box, and Samardzija was declared out of at least the first two starts of his season, Holland got a spot.  But the Giants can’t be sure what they’re getting: Holland’s best year was 16 wins in 2011, and he missed most of both 2014 and 2015 with injuries.  The 31-year old stayed healthy in 2017, but his ERA soared.

“Despite getting released, I started off really well,” Holland explained.  “I  made every start.”

Last April, Holland won three games.  Then two in May, and only one win in June.  In June and July, the starter lost five games both months.  Then after a relief appearance in September, Holland was granted his unconditional release. A similiar start for the Giants would be nice, the rest of Holland’s 2017 would be too much of a reminder of what they got from Moore, who lost 15 times.

The difference? 2017 was rough on Moore psychologically, and it sometimes showed. Holland’s a much lighter personality, and the expectations for him aren’t as high.  That atmosphere could put the veteran in better position to succeed.  The Giants certainly hope so.

On Monday, in his final tune-up against the A’s, Holland pitched five innings and allowed four hits. Two of those four hits were solo shots for Mark Canha and Matt Chapman, but Moore kept the Giants in the game, and limited the traffic on the basepaths.

“He did a nice job,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I really think he’s set to go, and throw 100 pitches.”

 

A’s explode for 10 runs to win second in a row over the White Sox in Chicago

CWS graphic

by Charlie O. Mallonee

No, you did not read the headline wrong. The Oakland Athletics beat the White Sox 10-2 on Saturday and have now won back-to-back games on the road in Chicago. This A’s team had won just nine game on the road this season going into the series with the Chisox. They are now 11-25 on the road after winning on Friday and Saturday. Winning on the road is key for the A’s to even their record at .500 which is the most important goal for this team right now.

This was a game of record setting first

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox
Rookie Franklin Barreto celebrates his first home run*
  • Three Oakland A’s rookies hit their first major league home run in this game. That had never happened in Major League history.
  • Matt Olson hit his first career home run in the top of the first inning off the very tough veteran pitcher James Shields. Matt Joyce was on base so the HR was a two-run shot. Olson was not done. He hit another two-run round-tripper in the top of the seventh off Jake Petricka. Olson finished the game going 2-for-3 with four RBI and two walks.
  • Rookie center fielder Jaycob Brugman stepped in the batter’s box to face Shields in the top of the second inning with one out and the bases empty. Brugman hit the ball over the wall in right center field for his first career home.
  • Franklin Barreto — the A’s number one rated minor league prospect — played for the Nashville Sounds in Oklahoma City on Friday night. After the game, he was told to report to the big club in Chicago. Barreto was initially told he would not play on Saturday. That situation changed and he was inserted into the starting lineup. In the third inning Barreto hit a one out, two-run home run off James Shields for his first major league hit and home run. Barreto finished the day going 2-for-5.
  • There was one more first in the game. Starting pitcher Daniel Gossett recorded the first win of his career in the contest. Gossett (1-2) pitched 6.0-innings giving up two runs (no earned runs). He struck five while walking just one White Sox batter. He threw 93 pitches — 64 strikes.
MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox
Daniel Gossett recorded his first win of the season*

Every batter in the A’s lineup recorded a hit

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox
Rosales had a 2-for-5 game*

The A’s pulled off a rare feat on Saturday when every player in the lineup picked up a hit. They scored 10 runs on 15 hits that included four home runs (all hit by rookies) and one double. They drew six walks. Oakland left 13 runners on base and was 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position as a team.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell who was called back to the majors when Stephen Vogt was DFA’d went 3-for-5 and scored two runs in the game. He also did another fine job in handling the pitchers in the game.

The number nine hitter — Adam Rosales — had a big day at the plate. Rosales went 2-for-5, scored two runs and had one RBI for the A’s.

Oakland relievers do their job

A trio of A’s relievers each worked one inning after Gossett was done for the day. Daniel Coulombe, John Axford and Michael Brady combined to hold the Chisox to no runs on no hits in final three frames. In fact, they did not allow a base runner in their relief efforts.

There was a negative — three Oakland errors

The A’s did commit three errors in the game. They were very fortunate that they happened in a game where they scored 10 runs and could compensate for them.

Errors were charged to Barreto (1, fielding), Rosales (6, fielding) and Healy (13, throwing).

The White Sox committed two miscues of their own on defense.

Chicago notes

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox
Rick Renteria watched the end of the game from the locker room*

James Shields took the loss and his record drops to 1-1.

Alen Hanson had the only multi-hit game for the White Sox going 2-for-4.

Todd Frazier and manager Rick Renteria were ejected from the game in the seventh inning for arguing with the umpires after a video review went against the Sox. It was the first ejection Frazier’s career.

A’s go for the sweep on Sunday

Sonny Gray (2-3, 4.84) will take the ball for A’s on Sunday. Gray lost his last start on Wednesday when he gave up five runs on seven hits to the red hot Houston Astros.

LHP Derek Holland (5-7, 4.48) will go to the hill for the White Sox. Holland also made his last start on Wednesday and he lost that game to the Minnesota Twins. The Twins roughed him up for seven runs on nine hit in just 2.2-innings.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. PDT.

*Photos by Patrick Gorski of USA Today Sports

A’s outlast Rangers, 9-8

PhotoBy George Devine, Sr

If the A’s – now 4.5 games ahead in the AL West – go on to win the division, this night will probably be remembered as a key to their success. Ahead 9-3, Oakland came into the final frame with only a one-run lead, and prevailed 9-8 over the Texas Rangers at Arlington.

Yoenis Cespedes seemed to set the tone for the evening with a three-run homer to left center in the first. But the Rangers answered with two in the bottom of the inning, Dan Straily walked two, and a single by Adrian Beltre followed by A.J. Pierzynski’s sac fly made it a one-run game.

In the third, Josh Donaldson hit his 22nd homer of the year, to left. In the fourth, he doubled to center, after Derek Norris and Kurt Suzuki had singled to the same location. The fifth inning saw Alberto Callaspo walk, then advance to second as Chris Young singled to left, and to third when Norris singled to right. Callaspo scored when Suzuki walked, bringing Norris to second and Young to third. Young came home when Coco Crisp sacrificed to center. Brandon Moss homered to right center in the sixth.

In the home eight, the Rangers’ bats came to life. Beltre walked on Brett Anderson, as did Pierzynski. Anderson then left the game due to what were described as back spasms, to be replaced by Jesse Chavez. Jim Adduci’s base hit to left loaded the bases. Leonys Martin subsequently reached on an infield base hit. Ryan Cook walked Ian Kinsler and that forced in a run. Elvis Andrus single to right, and the margin was trimmed to 9-6. The runners on base moved ahead on a passed ball. Alex Rios’ base hit then posted two more runs.

Sean Doolittle held the 9-8 lead through the ninth, as the game’s elapsed time passed the four-hour mark. He picked up his second save of the season. The winner is Straily (10-7; 5.2 ip, 2 h, 2 er, 4 w, 4 k) and the loser Derek Holland (9-8; 3 ip, 8 h, 6 er, 1 w, 2 k, 2 hr).

The two teams atop the AL West meet again at 10:05 a.m. PDT on Saturday, September 14 with Bartolo Colon (15-6) facing Yu Darvish (12-8).