A walk-off kind of week for the Rangers
July, 31, 2013
By Todd Wills | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's been a walk-off kind of week for the Rangers. Home run style.
First it was Geovany Soto on Monday. Then Leonys Martin on Tuesday.
And on Wednesday, try Adrian Beltre, whose rocket to left field to lead off the bottom of the ninth lifted the Rangers to a 2-1 victory and a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.
Three games, three walk-off homers. It's the first time that's been done since the Detroit Tigers' trio of Eric Munson, Carlos Pena and Dmitri Young did it in 2004.
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesAdrian Beltre helped grow the Rangers' confidence.
"It's overwhelming, really," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the latest walk-off win. "We battled all night. When we're at our best, this is what you get. Not three walk-off home runs, but different people getting it done. That's what we need from our lineup, different people getting it done."
The Rangers have managed to grind out three victories, gaining two games in the standings on the Oakland Athletics to pull within four games of first place. It comes at a great time. Thursday is a home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Yu Darvish pitching and then the Rangers travel for a three-game weekend series at Oakland.
Soto, who started this walk-off parade with his home run inside the left-field foul pole for a 4-3 victory Monday night, said these wins boost a team's confidence in the late innings.
The Rangers were 0-39 when trailing after eight innings before Monday night, when A.J. Pierzynski tied the game with a homer and Soto won it with his. They trailed going into the ninth again Tuesday night and sent the game into extra innings, with Martin getting mobbed at home plate after a three-run home run in the bottom of the 10th for a 14-11 victory.
Now comes Wednesday's win, with Beltre providing the magical moment with a 413-foot home run over the left-field fence. The Rangers' confidence is growing by the day.
"We could be losing in [any] game down the road by two runs in the ninth and we know deep inside we can do it," Soto said. "We've seen it. We can do it."
Don't forget that these three nights came after Washington held a 40-minute team meeting in Cleveland following a listless 6-0 loss to the Indians. He urged his team to get tougher.
These wins just don't happen very often.
"Being able to walk off three times in a row, and our offense has been the reason why we struggled the last few weeks, and our offense is getting a lot better," Beltre said. "And it starts with me. I haven't been swinging the bat real well, hitting in the middle of the lineup and not doing my job, but the last couple of games have been better and hopefully it creates that for everybody."