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Hello Win Column: Rangers with Walk Off Wins

Hello Win Column: Rangers with Walk Off Wins

As the rangers has hit a tailspin in September and looked to blow their 9.5 game lead in the AL West, the Evil Empire came into town.  Things were not looking good for Texas since they are only 1-4 against the Yankees heading into the weekend series in Arlington. There has been talk, even in Dallas, about the possibility of Oakland coming back to win the division as the Rangers fail miserably down the stretch.

Players are hurt, the pitching is struggling, and the hitters can’t seem to get timely hitting which has led to a meager 4-6 record in their previous 10 games.  Even with winning 2 straight against the Blue Jays prior to the dreaded Yanks heading to town, the Rangers were in coast mode, which is not good.

Then something happened that many, including me didn’t expect.  The Rangers win 2 in a row on walk-offs versus the Yankees.  Not only did they win both in walk-off fashion, but Mariano Rivera blew one of the games.

On Friday night, the Rangers went down early as the Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  This was not looking good for the Rangers as CJ Wilson go the hook early after only 3 innings.  The Rangers would battle back and tie the game in the 8th inning at 4-4 with a Nelson Cruz home run off of Jaba Chamberlain, and Cruz wasn’t done.  The game continued into the night, until Nelson Cruz came up again in the 13th to face Chad Gaudin.  Cruz only needed one pitch to send the fans home happy into the night as he hit the first pitch of the 13th inning over the right center field fence for a walk-off home run.

Nelson Cruz Walk Off Homerun in 13th

Now with 3 wins in a row, the Rangers came back Saturday night to face off with the hated Yankees again.  This time the Rangers sent out Tommy Hunter in search of his 13th win.  Hunter would last 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hits but would not factor into the decision.  The Rangers would wind up throwing 7 pitchers into the game on Saturday night, as they took a 5-3 lead into the 8th inning.

Standing in their way of a 4th straight victory was former Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez.  With the bases loaded facing Matt Harrison, Arod doubled down the left field line clearing the bases and putting the Yanks up 6-5.

The Rangers would come roaring back in the 9th once again.  With Mariano Rivera on the hill, the Rangers fought back.  Vladimir Guerrero led off the inning with a walk, and was quickly replaced with a pinch runner as he was the tying run.  Nelson Cruz again came through with a single to right putting runners at the corner for Ian Kinsler.  Kinsler came through with a huge double over the 3rd base bag to tie the game and giving Rivera his 3rd blown save of the year.

Next up was Chris Davis who was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the double play.  With Blanco pinch-hitting for Treanor and the bases loaded, Rivera coaxes Blanco to pop up for the first out.  Next up was recently acquired Jeff Francoeur.  Mariano Rivera did the rest of the work for the Rangers as he hit Francoeur with a pitch to bring in the winning run extending the Rangers win streak to 4 games.

Now this does not automatically send the Rangers into the playoffs, but it does 2 things that are huge for Rangers and their fans.  First of all, it helps stop all the talk of a Rangers complete collapse in September.  Sure there are still a few weeks of baseball left, and it is still possible for a total collapse, but winning games like this gives the Rangers so much confidence heading into the rest of September.  The second thing that it does is give the Rangers confidence if and when the Rangers face the Yankees in the playoffs.  This might be the most important factor.

No matter what happens Sunday night versus the Yankees, the Rangers have a new found confidence heading into perhaps the most critical part of the season as they prepare for a possible run at the World Series.

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