Last night, the Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 on a walkoff single by Ian Kinsler. Kinsler’s hit that could have been a triple in any other inning.
But from the Twins’ prospective, it should have never gotten to that, as Anthony Swarzak blew the save because of an odd decision by Rob Gardenhire. Typically, long relievers don’t close out games, but Gardenhire had other ideas and it cost him and the team.
But others could argue that the Rangers won the game as much as the Twins lost it because of clutch hitting by both Michael Young and the already mentioned Ian Kinsler. Both had four hits over the 13 innings, but Kinsler, the leadoff man, had 7 at bats while Young had six. In some ways, the game itself played like a September one, with the two teams combining to use thirteen different pitchers. After Oswalt left two outs into the sixth, Tanner Scheppers lowered his ERA almost half of a point by pitching a scoreless two thirds of an inning with a walk included. Unfortunately, that lowered his ERA to a beyond pedestrian 8.03, but at least he’s improving.
Next, the ever dependable Robbie Ross added another two thirds of an inning to his resume giving him an ERA under 1.00, while also putting an exclamation point on the argument that he got snubbed for an All-Star berth. While middle relievers typically don’t get in, middle relievers also don’t have an ERA under 1.00. Mike Adams followed and then did Joe Nathan, which is when things became rather chaotic. After he committed a throwing error and gave up a single, a sacrifice bunt gave the Twins a 2-0 lead, and a sacrifice fly to Nelson Cruz gave them a 3-0 lead. Then Swarzak gave up his three runs, and things quieted down until the 13th, when Ian Kinsler hit his single/triple.
That gave the Rangers their 52nd victory of the year and All-Star break should give them enough time to rest the eight relievers they used.