ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 16: (L-R) Leonys Martin #2 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers after Martin hit a walk off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
The Texas Rangers have played nine home games this season, and four of those have ended in walkoff victories. Oddly enough, none of them have been of the walkoff home run variety — something the Rangers did in three straight games last year against AL West rival Los Angeles.
That's one level of odd, but the way the Rangers are finding to win these games are at a whole other level. First off, there was a walkoff. bases-loaded walk in the series finale against Philadelphia on April 2. That followed a walkoff single from Adrian Beltre the previous night.
Robinson Chirinos delivered a walkoff single in a 1-0, extra-innings win over the Houston Astros last Friday, in what was Yu Darvish's last start prior to Wednesday's. Yet again, Darvish was given a no-decision, and yet again, the Rangers walked off with a ninth-inning win in his start on Wednesday. But this was on a whole new level of wacky.
With two outs and trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a sharp grounder off shortstop Brad Miller's glove for a single. Mitch Moreland then drew a walk off erratic Seattle closer Fernando Rodney without ever swinging the bat. After that, the game should have ended, but Miller had another botched play.
Josh Wilson hit a routine grounder to shortstop, and with Moreland bearing down on second base, Miller attempted an underhand flip from about 25 feet away and it sailed high on second baseman Robinson Cano, who had to jump off the bag to catch the ball. In that split second, Moreland slid into second, and his foot beat Cano's to the bag. Everyone's safe. Bases loaded, still two outs, and Leonys Martin comes up to the plate.
Rodney almost hit Martin with a wild fastball about two feet inside that sailed to backstop and ricocheted down the third base line, allowing Kouzmanoff to score on a wild pitch to tie the game and everyone else to advance, as well.
Shortly thereafter, Martin lifted a single into left-center field to score Moreland and give the Rangers another walkoff to pull above .500. Wins aren't supposed to happen like that, but every now and again, they do.
Give the Rangers credit. They have shown this year that they don't quit, and there was never a better example of that than on Wednesday, when it seemed for about 2 hours and 40 minutes that it just wasn't the Rangers night. Then, all the sudden, it magically was. And it was fun.