Just two innings shy of setting a franchise record for futility, Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler ripped an RBI single to center field to end the Rangers' scoreless-inning streak at 26 innings on Monday night in a series-opener against the Los Angeles Angels.
Kinsler's hit put the Rangers two runs behind the Angels in the sixth inning, but the Rangers were just getting started.
Kinsler added another RBI, hitting in the 3-hole for the first time this season, in the eighth inning and set the table for some heroics in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Rangers faced erratic Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, who has been the Rangers' personal whipping boy for the past two seasons.
That trend continued when A.J. Pierzynski led off the inning with a game-tying towering shot to right field, punctuated with an epic bat flip that got the Rangers' dugout into a fury. David Murphy tried to kill the momentum with the game tied 3-3 by grounding into a double play, but that brought up Geovany Soto with two outs and the bases empty in a tie game.
Here's the thing about Soto: He only starts when Matt Garza or Yu Darvish is pitching, and his numbers are far from impressive (.210 batting average, five homers) but as of late it seems whenever Soto gets playing time, he comes up with a big hit.
That trend also continued as Soto worked the count full and then sent a monstrous shot down the left-field line, willed it fair as he was approaching first base and sent Rangers Ballpark in Arlington into hysterics as the Rangers had won their first game since Garza's last start, stopped their scoreless streak and won in walk-off fashion.
"I was just hoping it would stay fair," Soto told ESPN Dallas. "When I saw it, I prayed to God it was fair, and it was fair. I was the happiest guy on the field."
It'd be a tough call to make that proclamation, especially if you saw Ron Washington, Ian Kinsler or Pierzynski react to the blast.
It must be said, the rally came against one of the game's worst bullpens and most erratic closers, but it came nonetheless, and it could not have come at a better time.