The Rangers returned home from a heartbreaking series sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, hoping to rediscover the clutch hitting and home run power that the team showcased in the first three games of the season while sweeping the Cleveland Indians.
An Andruw Jones RBI double in the first, Chris Davis solo home run to right field upper deck in the second, and Michael Young two-run homer in the third gave starter Vicente Padilla a 4-2 lead heading into the fourth.
But Padilla never got out of the fourth inning and when the dust settled the Orioles had retaken the lead 7-4. Reliever Scott Feldman in his second outing of the season struggled for the second time allowing another three runs in the fifth.
But the Ranger bats didn’t give up, down six with only four innings left the Rangers began the peck-a-way approach, popularized by former Rangers announcer Mark Holtz.
Jones, Marlon Byrd, and Nelson Cruz loaded the bases to start the inning, then a Davis single moved all the runners up one station.
Rookies Taylor Teagarden and Elvis Andrus hit back-to-back RBI fielder’s choices scoring Byrd and Cruz, cutting the deficit to three.
In the seventh inning after Josh Hamilton singled and then stole second base Jones launched a 3-1 pitch to deep center field for his first home run as a Texas Ranger.
During this rally the Ranger bullpen did their part, Jason Jennings, Eddie Guardado, and Frank Francisco all pitched one inning each of shutout baseball.
In the bottom of the ninth against Oriole closer George Sherrill, Ian Kinsler led the inning off with a double down the right-field line.
Michael Young followed with a long drive to deep right-center field, however Kinsler thought the ball was going to drop and began running for home in attempts to tie the game. Oriole right fielder Nick Markakis made a spectacular catch and Kinsler had to retreat back to second, not advancing to third on the fly ball.
In the next at-bat, defending AL RBI champ Hamilton hit a deep fly ball to center field that would have scored Kinsler from third, tying the game.
Not totally defeated, Jones drew a two-out walk and was replaced by pinch-runner David Murphy.
Then manager Ron Washington, in a Billy Martin type move, made his first gamble of the year sending Kinsler and Murphy in a double steal.
The gamble paid off and instead of having just the tying run in scoring position the Rangers had the tying and winning runs in scoring position.
Unfortunately the Rangers couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity and Byrd struck out on three pitches.