Rapid Reaction: Rangers 11, Tigers 8
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers rallied twice, once from a three-run deficit and again from a two-run deficit to beat the Detroit Tigers 11-8 on Sunday night.
In a battle of American League powerhouses, the Rangers won three out of four games in the series and have baseball's best record at 29-15.
Murphy comes up clutch: Rangers manager Ron Washington put David Murphy in the No. 2 spot in the lineup to try to get his bat going with Ian Kinsler out and Elvis Andrus moving into the leadoff spot. It worked out swimmingly. Trailing 7-5 with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the sixth, Murphy hit a line drive to right field that carried over the fence for a three-run home run and an 8-7 lead. It was Murphy's fifth homer of the season. Murphy had two hits plus a sacrifice fly for an insurance run in the seventh inning.
Back of the bullpen: Both teams took a lot of hits in the bullpen, and the Rangers had their first blown save of the season, but the Rangers did OK in the final three innings. The dynamic trio of Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan held another lead. Scheppers did allow his second run of the season -- both have come on home runs -- as Miguel Cabrera belted his third home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth to trim the Rangers lead to 11-8.
Holland hit hard again: The pressure increases slightly for Derek Holland with two rookie starters in the rotation and another, Josh Lindblom, making his first career start Monday. Holland didn't deliver Sunday night. He gave up eight hits and walked three in 4 2/3 innings for his shortest outing of the season. He gave up four earned runs, including two home runs to Cabrera. Holland gave up a three-run homer to Cabrera to lose the lead in the third inning. And Holland had to duck a line-drive smash by Cabrera that carried over the center-field fence. Holland has allowed eight earned runs in his last 10 1/3 innings with his ERA going up from 2.54 to 3.30.
Bullpen moves don't work: You can't blame Washington for deciding to pitch to Prince Fielder instead of Cabrera, even with the bases loaded and two outs and nursing a 5-4 lead. Washington intentionally walked Cabrera to get to Fielder and went with left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman. The only problem is Kirkman didn't deliver, giving up a three-run double to Fielder as the Tigers took the lead back at 7-5. First batters are now 11-for-19 against Kirkman. Left-handed hitters are batting .357 against Kirkman.
Soto magic: Catcher Geovany Soto had three hits Sunday night, two of them starting rallies that both times ended with the Rangers taking the lead. Soto led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and scored on Andrus' RBI ground out to start a four-run inning as the Rangers eventually took a 5-4 lead. Soto had a single to start the bottom of the sixth as the Rangers had another four-run inning and erased a 7-5 Tigers lead.
Beltre goes for four: Adrian Beltre had his third four-hit game of the season. Included were two bloop doubles inside each foul line. The second one glanced off Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta's glove as the Rangers took a brief 5-4 lead in the fifth inning.
Up next: The Rangers open a three-game series Monday night against the American League West rival Oakland A's with right-hander Josh Lindblom making his first career major league start against right-hander Bartolo Colon (3-2, 4.56 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.