video thumbnail

Must C Clutch: Moreland's shot decides it in the 11th

ARLINGTON -- Predictive numbers did not apply to the Rangers' 5-4 walk-off win in the 11th inning on Tuesday against the Astros at Rangers Ballpark.

Numbers like the 1-25 record the Rangers carried into the game when trailing after seven innings, and the career-high eleven hits C.J. Wilson gave up, were canceled out when Mitch Moreland stroked the first pitch he saw from Enerio Del Rosario into the second deck in right field to win the game for the Rangers.

"So now we're 2-25," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "All we're trying to do is go out there and play the best game we can on that day, and tonight was one of those where we came back. There were a lot of things during the course of games on the schedule that can spark you. What you want to do is what happened tonight. You've got to win."

While Moreland was the obvious hero of Tuesday's comeback, nobody played a bigger part in that than the Rangers' bullpen, which held the Astros to 4 1/3 scoreless innings with one hit and one walk. Between Mark Lowe, Neftali Feliz and Yoshinori Tateyama, the Astros could sustain nothing.

"I thought they did a great job," Washington said. "Mark Lowe came in and did a good job, then Neffie came in and gave us two [innings] and then [Tateyama] came in and did a good job."

Tateyama got his first career win by pitching a scoreless 11th.

"For us to win a game like that after we were trailing for so long is good for the morale of the team," Wilson said. "I think we're starting to play better baseball than we were a couple weeks ago."

Wilson pitched 6 2/3 innings, leaving with a two-run deficit.

"C.J. didn't have his best stuff today," Washington said. "But what you saw was the best he had in his heart. That's what good pitchers do, they may not have it, but they learn to fight. And he was out there fighting the whole time he was out there."

With the Astros stuck at four runs, the Rangers started their comeback in the bottom of the seventh.

After Nelson Cruz and Moreland struck out, Taylor Teagarden singled to left. Endy Chavez lined the ball over right fielder Jason Bourgeois' head for an RBI triple.

The seventh-inning triple marked the second time all game that the Rangers had multiple hits in an inning.

"I did a pretty good job of limiting my hits in the different innings," Astros starter Jordan Lyles said. "I probably gave up multiples one inning or two innings, but for the most part a single shot here, a single shot there, gave our team a chance to win."

In that regard, the game was almost the perfect inverse of Monday's win for the Rangers. Whereas on Monday the Rangers scored with singles-laden rallies, the home run was the Rangers' most reliable source of offense Tuesday. The Rangers hit four of them -- all solo shots -- compared to six singles.

Josh Hamilton homered to lead off the eighth, which tied up the ballgame and set the stage for Moreland's dramatics.

"Some nights, you have to fight," Washington said. "We fought tonight. We just stuck around and hoped something good was going to happen, and once again, pitching kept us around, then something good happened."

And that something good came from Moreland, who was 0-for-4 going into that at-bat.

"I've been inconsistent in my approach in the last few days. It seems like I'll be out of it for a couple at-bats and then I'll lock in. So I really wanted to make sure I was in good hitting position on that at-bat. I was just looking for something up, and I was able to get it up."

With that, the Rangers are one step closer to owning the Silver Boot Trophy, awarded to the winner of the six-game intrastate series. The Rangers have now won seven of their last eight games against the Astros, dating back to last season.

Not that the results are all that important to Michael Young, who, along with Cruz, homered in the early innings.

"For us, we don't really get too concerned with results, we've got a lot of talent," Young said. "If we play our style of baseball, we feel that more often than not, we're going to win ballgames. Right now, we're playing our style of baseball." Comments