for this game

Rangers edge Royals in rain-soaked battle

Sep 5, 2007 - 5:11 AM By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- The Texas Rangers employed aggressive baserunning to varying degrees of success, but it paid off in the end with a 9-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

The Rangers swiped three bases and were caught stealing twice, but it was a double-steal in the seventh inning that helped lead them to victory. With Ian Kinsler and Michael Young stealing third and second, respectively, the throw from Royals catcher Jason LaRue ended up in left field, allowing Kinsler to score the game-winning run.

The Rangers tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, when Marlon Byrd lifted a sacrifice fly to center, plating David Murphy, who doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Ramon Vazquez.

The run proved crucial, as the Royals scored once in the ninth on a single by Esteban German off C.J. Wilson before Tony Pena Jr. grounded out to end the game.

Both Kinsler and Jason Botts had three hits and two RBI, and Brad Wilkerson and rookie Jarrod Saltalamacchia each hit home runs for the Rangers, who have won eight of their last 10 and six of seven home games.

"It's been a good stretch," said Kinsler, who extended his season-long hitting streak to 10 games. "Obviously, my third hit tonight was a little lucky. I've been getting a couple of lucky hits here and there, but I've been seeing the ball pretty good and I feel comfortable at the plate."

"That was a battle out there, one of those nights where it was kind of a battle of willpower," Wilkerson said. "It was fortunate for us - after blowing that lead, it would have been disappointing to lose this game, even though it was a tough, rainy night."

A steady rain fell throughout most of the game, getting heavy at times, but it was never delayed.

"At first, it doesn't really affect you," Kinsler said of the rainfall. "When it just kept coming, it was probably around the fifth or sixth, it gets pretty wet out there. And the (batters) box, they keep throwing the dirt on top of it, it just gets piled up, and it gets really messy. And the infield's the same way, you've got to be careful. It's tough, but it's something that you've got to deal with."

With the scored tied, 6-6, after Kansas City rebounded from a 6-1 second-inning deficit, the Rangers surged ahead in the seventh. Kinsler led off the inning by beating out a slow grounder that eluded reliever Leo Nunez (2-3). Young's single to left put runners on first and second, leading to the double-steal. After Kinsler came around to score on the botched throw, Botts singled up the middle to score Young from second.

"I felt like it was situations where we had to make something happen," Texas manager Ron Washington said of the aggressive base-running. "They ended up tying it up, and we had to try to make something happen.

"One, a good throw and he's out," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said. "Two, we can't allow the ball to go into left field. Three, we've got to pay more attention to the runner. So it isn't just one guy's fault."

Kansas City came back in the eighth, edging back to within one on Mark Grudzielanek's RBI single but didn't get any closer, as John Rheinecker (2-1) pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the win and Wilson slammed the door in the ninth to pick up his 11th save of the season.

The Royals started rookie Billy Buckner, making his first major league start. He had given up just one run in 7 2/3 innings of relief work in his first two appearances since being recalled from Class AAA Omaha on August 24.

But Texas jumped on Buckner immediately, clubbing two home runs off him on their way to pushing five runs across in the first inning. Buckner walked Frank Catalanotto to lead off, followed by Kinsler's double down the left field line that brought Catalanotto home. One out later, Botts doubled to left field to score Kinsler and then Wilkerson launched his 20th home run of the season into the Royals bullpen beyond the wall in left-center.

"It was a fastball away, and I didn't try to do too much, just trying to put the ball in play, and let the pitch where I could drive it," Wilkerson said. "It felt good to get out to a big lead like that. I just feel glad that I'm back healthy and can contribute the way I know I'm capable of doing the last few months. It just feels good that the hard work I put in during the off-season pays off."

It marked the third time in his career that Wilkerson has reached the 20-homer plateau. After another out, Saltalamacchia belted his sixth home run since joining the Rangers in the Mark Teixeira trade on July 31, giving Texas a commanding 5-1 lead.

The Rangers kept up the pressure the next inning, tacking on another run. Vazquez led off with a triple and an out later, Kinsler drove him home with a single up the middle.

Buckner started to settle down after that, allowing just one more hit in his next two-plus innings of work. He exited after walking Kinsler to lead off the fifth, giving up six runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out two.

"I thought he was a little more tentative than he has been, but that's understandable because it's his first start," Bell said of Buckner. "I thought he did all right after the first."

Meanwhile, Texas starter Kevin Millwood began impressively, but sprang some leaks as the game went along. After Mike Sweeney doubled to score Grudzielanek in the top of the first, Millwood retired eight in a row.

But the Royals got back in the game in the fourth, however, thanks to Jason Smith's three-run home run, with two outs, that managed to just stay fair of the right field foul pole. Even after the blast, Millwood loaded the bases by walking both LaRue and David DeJesus after Joey Gathright had doubled to left, but Grudzielanek flew out to center field to end the inning.

In the fifth, the big lead the Rangers had amassed completely evaporated. Mark Teahen's single to right brought home Ross Gload to pull Kansas City within one. One out later, with runners on second and third, Smith very nearly had his second home run in as many at-bats, but Texas center fielder Murphy ran down his fly ball on the warning track. Sweeney tagged up from third to score the tying run.

"We had opportunities the whole night and took advantage of most," Bell said. "That run we gave up there in the eighth, that was the toughest one of the night."

Millwood left after five innings, after surrendering six runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out seven. It was his shortest outing in six starts.

"I think starting off the game, I had a good fastball, and I just went to it too often," Millwood said. "I didn't mix it up enough. I think that was my biggest problem."

The weather conditions ended up leading to an injury to Royals first-baseman Ross Gload, who hyper-extended his right knee when his foot slid off first base as he nearly beat out a ground ball. There was no immediate prognosis on the severity.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    KANSAS CITY 1 0 0 3 2 0 0 1 1 8 12 1
    TEXAS 5 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 x 9 13 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: KAN - BILLY BUCKNER, NEAL MUSSER (5TH), LEO NUNEZ (6TH), JIMMY
    GOBBLE (7TH), DAVID RISKE (8TH) AND JASON LARUE, JOHN BUCK
    (8TH)
    TEX - KEVIN MILLWOOD, JAMEY WRIGHT

    Sep 4 11:38 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ESTEBAN GERMAN SCORED EMIL BROWN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E GERMAN ON FIRST, B BUTLER ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 8
    TEXAS 9 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: S COSTA (.236, 0-FOR-1)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 11:36 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 11:36 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY MARLON BYRD SCORED DAVID MURPHY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 7
    TEXAS 9 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: I KINSLER (.273, 3-FOR-3, BB, 2 RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 11:22 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK GRUDZIELANEK SCORED SHANE COSTA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M GRUDZIELANEK ON FIRST, D DEJESUS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 7
    TEXAS 8 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: R GLOAD (.301, 0-FOR-3, BB)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 11:07 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON BOTTS SCORED MICHAEL YOUNG.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J BOTTS ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 6
    TEXAS 8 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: B WILKERSON (.240, 1-FOR-1, 2 BB, HR, 2 RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 10:39 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY JASON LARUE ALLOWED IAN KINSLER TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M YOUNG ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 6
    TEXAS 7 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: J BOTTS (.216, 2-FOR-3, RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 10:38 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JASON SMITH SCORED MIKE SWEENEY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M TEAHEN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 6
    TEXAS 6 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J GATHRIGHT (.322, 1-FOR-2)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 9:42 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK TEAHEN SCORED ROSS GLOAD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEAHEN ON SECOND, M SWEENEY ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 5
    TEXAS 6 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: A GORDON (.251, 0-FOR-2)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 9:38 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JASON SMITH (5) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 4TH OFF KEVIN MILLWOOD SCORED MIKE SWEENEY AND MARK TEAHEN.
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 4, TEXAS 6
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J GATHRIGHT (.318, 0-FOR-1)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 9:13 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY IAN KINSLER SCORED RAMON VAZQUEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, I KINSLER ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    TEXAS 6 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: M YOUNG (.306, 0-FOR-1)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 8:47 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA (6) TO RIGHT CENTER
    WITH 2 OUT IN THE 1ST OFF BILLY BUCKNER.
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1, TEXAS 5
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: D MURPHY (.395, 1 HR, 7 RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 8:30 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY BRAD WILKERSON (20) TO LEFT CENTER WITH
    1 OUT IN THE 1ST OFF BILLY BUCKNER SCORED JASON BOTTS.
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1, TEXAS 4
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: H BLALOCK (.283, 6 HR, 20 RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 8:29 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JASON BOTTS SCORED IAN KINSLER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J BOTTS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    TEXAS 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: B WILKERSON (.237, 19 HR, 59 RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 8:25 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY IAN KINSLER SCORED FRANK CATALANOTTO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, I KINSLER ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    TEXAS 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: M YOUNG (.307, 7 HR, 70 RBI)

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 8:20 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    KANSAS CITY 1 1 2 0
    TEXAS 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: KAN - BILLY BUCKNER
    TEX - KEVIN MILLWOOD

    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: F CATALANOTTO (.270, 9 HR, 37 RBI)
    I KINSLER (.267, 18 HR, 53 RBI)
    M YOUNG (.307, 7 HR

    Royals vs. RangersSep 4 8:14 PM