With a broken finger, Michael Young picked up his third hit of the night and sixth of this series, jerking a two-out K-Rod breaking ball through the hole to drive in Ramon Vazquez and cut the Angels’ lead to 4-3.
Sabermetricians, cover your eyes for the next four words:
Michael Young is clutch.
Josh Hamilton stepped up. The same Josh Hamilton who wouldn’t have seen anything remotely close to a strike in that situation a month ago, especially once Young stole second. The same Josh Hamilton who hadn’t homered in over three weeks. The same Josh Hamilton who had two extra-base hits in his last 68 at-bats.
Of course, all he needed was a single to tie the game.
But why settle?
In one incredible moment that will probably be part of the Josh Hamilton movie one day, he doubled K-Rod’s home runs allowed total for the year.
Stars of the game:
Warner Madrigal, making his first professional start, at any level. Giving Texas three tough innings, yielding just one run. Fanning Vladimir Guerrero, the man he was supposed to become when he was a power-hitting, rifle-armed Angels outfield prospect just a couple years ago.
Josh Rupe. Glue.
And without question, Dustin Nippert and Matt Harrison. They set the table for this unconventional, unfathomable, unforgettable victory.
Sabermetricians, look away again: This isn’t the only reason why you keep Brandon Boggs up instead of going down to get Nelson Cruz, or why you stick with German Duran instead of Ryan Roberts – or take your pick of any other of four or five similar situations – but it’s among them.
Winning builds winners.
That look on Jamey Wright’s face is frozen on mine. Still.
Even though I didn’t fan Vladdy on three pitches, 93 up and in, 91 away, and a dirty yakker at 79 that Guerrero had no chance on, flailing away.
That’s right. Vladdy – Vladdy – had no chance.
The sound in Eric Nadel’s voice, the abandon with which he unleashed that final call, is still ringing in my ears. Music.
Ervin Santana vs. Luis Mendoza. Joe Saunders vs. Matt Harrison. Jered Weaver vs. Warner Madrigal.
Rangers two wins, the Second-Best Team in the American League one.
See you at the Ballpark tomorrow.