Rangers come back vs. an old friend
McCarthy allows just one run over five innings in return
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers needed this game. Trailing by three with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, no one expected the Rangers to rally. Milwaukee had shutdown closer Francisco Cordero on the mound. Cordero was automatic -- 22 save chances and none were blown.Until Saturday night. Michael Young hit a game-winning single to right field to score Kenny Lofton and give the Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Brewers in front of 37,882 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It was Coredero's first blown save. A rare sight as he had allowed just one run all season, on a wild pitch, and was carrying a 0.36 ERA. Given the circumstance, Young said the comeback was near impossible. "[Cordero] mixes [his pitches] up," Young said. "That's what makes him so tough. [Milwaukee] is a good ballclub. I think we proved something to ourselves." Outfielder Marlon Byrd certainly proved, if he hadn't already, he's a Major League caliber player. Offensively, he drove in the game-tying run with a single to center field. He was down 0-2 to Cordero, but kept battling, fouling off three consecutive pitches. "I faced him twice in Spring Training, he threw sliders and stayed away," he said. "But, he left one up." Byrd's defense was impressive too. In the eighth inning, Byrd made a diving catch to rob Craig Counsell of an RBI double. He then made a heads-up play and threw Damien Miller out at first base for a 9-3-1 double play. "Counsell was real aggressive and when he swung, I just took off and had to lay out," he said. "And, I just got a glove on it." It was a snow-cone catch that kept the Brewers lead at one. But, Milwaukee scored two more runs in the top of the ninth against Frank Francisco, and appeared to have the game won with a 3-0 lead, and Cordero coming in to close.
Cordero started the ninth striking out Frank Catalanotto, followed by Ian Kinsler grounding out. The Rangers next six batters all reached base. Young capped off the remarkable rally with the RBI single.Once Lofton stepped on home plate, the Rangers stormed the field. "Oh gosh, that was big," Byrd said. "Everything fell into place. It all came together and it's something we have to build on." Starter Brandon McCarthy said, "That's the most excited I've felt all season. When you win like that, it's addictive. It's a feeling we can carry into the future." McCarthy returned to form after missing two starts with a blister on his right middle finger. He went five innings, giving up one run with five strikeouts, tying his season high. "I was sharp early, but late I fell off a bit," McCarthy said. "I had the same [mission] -- throw well and keep us in the game." McCarthy kept the Rangers in the game, which is all manager Ron Washington wanted. "He battled pretty good with his fastball and kept [the Brewers] off balance," Washington said. The only mishap in McCarthy's outing was an RBI double to Counsell in the fifth inning. It was the second consecutive solid outing from a starter, which the Rangers desperately needed. "It's all predicated on pitching, and we have the capability to do it," Washington said. "The past two days, we threw strikes." McCarthy threw 78 pitches, 52 for strikes. Joaquin Benoit and Francisco, who earned the win, finished the game for the Rangers. Benoit threw a season-high three innings, giving up no runs while striking out four. It was the type of victory that could jump-start the Rangers the last four months of the season. "I've never doubted their heart," Washington said. "That shows heart. We just don't have the victories to show how big their heart is. "Through all of this stuff, I always say we're one hit, one play from having wins. Tonight, it worked out perfectly." Washington wants the momentum to be carried into Sunday, when the Rangers go for the series sweep. "It's nice we won another series, but we'll come out tomorrow and grind it out again," he said.
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.