The Texas Rangers win their sixth AL West division championship as ace Cole Hamels pitches complete-game 3-hitter.
So, what do you do when your reliable closer helps blow a 4-run lead in the top of the 9th inning with the American League West championship on the line?
Well, you call on your mid-season acquisition and staff ace to go 9 innings en route to victory the very next day.
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Cole Hamels arrived at the end of July as part of a huge trade between the Rangers and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rangers entered the final regular-season game of 2015 looking a for 10th straight undefeated mark with Hamels on the hill.
Hamels wasn’t only charged with picking up one of the biggest wins in the history of the Texas Rangers. He was also being asked to eradicate demons of postseasons passed, tragic circumstances that had cost the club at least one World Series championship and who knows what else.
Perhaps biggest of all was finding a way to rebound from one of this franchise’s biggest losses in regular-season history just 24 hours prior.
If you follow the Rangers closely, you probably entered this game either at Globe Life Park or on television as a spectator on pins and needles. The epic meltdown against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday had to be still dancing in your head.
I was just discussing how first-year manager Jeff Banister could help re-write history immediately following that deflating 1-run loss to push the AL West divisional race all the way to the final game. Texas had also let a win slip away on Friday night with the division still up for grabs.
Waiting on the Houston Astros to lose just a game to the Arizona Diamondbacks wasn’t going to work.
The Rangers had to show up on Sunday knowing they were the better team and remaining completely unwavering on what exactly they deserved.
Hamels had choppy start, which included a 2-run mammoth home run given up to Albert Pujols which made the score 2-0 just minutes into the contest.
Nobody knew it then, but that would be it for the Halos this season, at least offensively.
Hamels settled in by the 3rd inning and kept the Angles offense at bay until things got rolling at the plate.
With Hamels rolling, Adrian Beltre – who else – launched a 2-run homer to right field in the 5th inning to give the Rangers a slim 3-2.
Oct 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; The Texas Rangers celebrate their win over the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Texas Rangers defeat the Angels 9-2 and clinch the American League West division. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
If Angels fans will always remember that heroic 5-run 9th inning on Saturday near the end of game No.161, they’ll gladly be forgetting the 7th inning experienced in game No.162.
It’s clear that the Rangers had no interest in playing in the Wild Card play-in contest on Tuesday. Otherwise, this club might not have clinched the AL West at all.
Following the mantra ‘NeverEverQuit,’ Texas exploded for 6 runs in a seventh inning that saw Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia visiting the mound repeatedly in an attempt to stop the bleeding. That one inning ended up a severe gash and total check-mate by the time the Rangers batted around the order.
Trying to pick an offensive MVP for this game is tough when it seems like the whole team went to the plate in that 7th inning to collectively put Saturday’s disaster behind them for good. Despite 9 runs going up on the afternoon, only Beltre went yard.
And what about our good buddy David Freese?
Let’s just say that if the Rangers end up in either the American League Championship Series or the World Series, this former St. Louis Cardinals demon won’t be around to mess things up. On that note, neither will former Cardinals slugger Pujols.
A bit of revenge for Texas?
Maybe so, but Freese was hilarious playing defense in the 7th inning while stumbling around trying to reach infield bunts or having line shots almost eat his fielders mitt on the hot corner. Freese didn’t commit any errors, but there were plays he needed to make, but simply didn’t.
Oh, Freese was 0-4 at the plate, by the way.
In fact, Freese was nice enough to bat in the top of the 9th inning just to supply that final out for a Rangers team that’s now done what absolutely nobody thought possible.
Rangers Playoff Update (Dallas Morning News)
The Texas Rangers will travel across the boarder to Canada to face the Toronto Blue Jays beginning on Thursday. The series will be best of five with a 2-2-1 format. Texas will play it’s next game at Globe Life Park on Sunday, October 11.
David Price To Pitch In Game (Dallas Morning News)
Toronto will throw its mid-summer acquisition, David Price, at the Rangers lineup on Thursday. With a record of 18-5, the lefty should be a huge concern for all those left-handed hitters in the Rangers lineup – except for the fact that Price is 0-3 lifetime against the Rangers in the postseason.
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- Published on 10/05/2015 at 00:40 AM
- Last updated at 06/20/2019 at 23:35 PM