Because Fernando Rodney’s crooked hat turned into a dunce cap, the Rangers found an innovative way to beat the Mariners.
By rallying for the winning run without swinging the bat.
Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 9th Monday night in Arlington, the Rangers faced the cocky, demonstrative, hard-throwing Mariners’ closer. Five batters later – without getting the ball out of the infield grass – they had a walk-off win that pulled them within three games of the Astros in the AL West.
Ryan Strausborger led off with a perfectly placed bunt single down the first-base line. Hard to blame Rodney for that one. He sprinted over and got a glove on the ball, but couldn’t scoop it in time to beat the Rangers’ speedy left-fielder. Attempting to sacrifice bunt, Delino DeShields beat out his offering up the third-base line to put runners at 1st and 2nd with no outs. Rodney then complicated his nausea by plunking Shin-Soo Choo in the triceps with his first pitch. That’s right, the Rangers loaded the bases with three hitters that batted the ball a combined, oh, 90 feet.
After Prince Fielder struck out swinging, Adrian Beltre stepped into the batter’s box and simply watched as Rodney walked him on five pitches. The last pitch, a fastball low out of the strike zone, drove in Strausborger for a 4-3 win. A walk-off walk, and a winning rally in which the four productive hitters never took a full swing.
It’s about time the Mariners played like the Mariners. And when you see Rodney with five losses and an ERA (5.19) that sounds more like a freeway, it makes you appreciate Shawn Tolleson a little more.
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A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.