Fateful seventh costs Rangers
Pitchers' duel falls apart as Tigers post nine runs in inning
ARLINGTON -- In the top of the eighth inning of Tuesday's game between the Rangers and Tigers, a fan was hauled off after running out into right field.Given what happened in the top of the seventh, he must have thought the Rangers needed an extra outfielder. However, right field wasn't the problem. In the midst of a nine-run seventh inning for Detroit, Brandon Boggs and Josh Hamilton called each other off a two-out drive to left-center from Matt Joyce and the ball fell between them, continuing the inning. "It was the worst game we played all year," Texas manager Ron Washington said. The play epitomized the Rangers' seventh-inning meltdown that turned a two-run advantage into a seven-run deficit. Texas never recovered and lost, 11-3, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Just like Monday night, Texas' starter -- this time Vicente Padilla -- took the mound in the seventh with a lead to work with. And just like Scott Feldman on Monday, Padilla was unable to record a single out in the seventh as Detroit mounted a game-altering rally. "I was getting close to 100 pitches and I hadn't pitched in a long time," said Padilla, who was starting for the first time in 10 days because of inflammation in the right side of his neck. "The inning before, I was struggling a little, but I was able to get through it so I thought I could go out for the seventh."
Padilla had retired six straight entering the seventh after allowing a solo home run to Matt Joyce to lead off the fifth inning. Through six innings, he'd allowed just seven baserunners and had registered four strikeouts.In the seventh, though, Padilla gave up a leadoff walk to Carlos Guillen, followed by a Gary Sheffield single. That set the table for Joyce to strike again with a three-run home run to right that gave Detroit a 4-3 lead. Edgar Renteria added a solo homer to bounce Padilla from the game. "I don't know what happened," Washington said. "Padilla was breezing there pretty good. He couldn't make the pitch to put away Sheffield and his slider to Joyce wasn't where he wanted it. I couldn't put the fire out from there when I went to the bullpen. We just couldn't shut that inning down."
However, Joyce would be heard from again in the inning after Warner Madrigal couldn't stop the bleeding.The Detroit order came back around to Joyce in the seventh with two outs and the bases loaded when Joyce sent a fly ball to left-center field that was almost sure to put an end to the disastrous inning. Off the bat, both Boggs and Hamilton got good jumps on Joyce's drive. Too good. Boggs and Hamilton converged where the ball was heading and each began calling for it. As the center fielder, Hamilton had right-of-way, but he pulled up to let Boggs take it. The only problem was Boggs pulled up at the same time to give way to Hamilton. "It was just one of those things where they couldn't get together on the play and it fell in," Washington said.
After the ball hit the ground, Hamilton scrambled to get it back to the infield while Boggs stood with his hands on his knees in disbelief. Joyce pulled up at second base as the three runners ahead of him scored.As Boggs and Hamilton headed back to their positions, Boggs gave Hamilton the "My bad" gesture. Hamilton was ultimately charged with the error. That play spelled the end of Madrigal's night. In recording just two outs, Madrigal allowed five runs, two earned, on three hits, two walks and Hamilton's error. "Mad Dog had been throwing the ball well and I thought he'd be able to keep us in the game, but he just couldn't get us out of the inning," Washington said. "I know we're not executing our pitches like we should." To add insult to injury, Detroit's winning pitcher was starter and former Rangers hurler Armando Galarraga. Galarraga pitched three games for the Rangers last season as a September callup, but was designated for assignment during the offseason to make room on the 40-man roster for Jason Jennings. The Tigers wanted Galarraga bad enough to trade for him before he reached waivers, and he's turned into a 27-year-old, 12-4 anchor in the Detroit rotation. Tuesday was no exception. "Even when he was with us he was a strike thrower, but he looked like he tightened up his breaking ball," Washington said. "It's just one of those things where we made a trade and just have to live with it."
In Galarraga's six innings, his only blemish was a three-run home run to Chris Davis in the sixth inning. In all, he surrendered six hits and three walks and struck out five.The Rangers made a comeback attempt in the seventh, loading the bases with one out, but couldn't net any runs as they fell to 2-11 in their last 13 games. "It's hard to explain," Gerald Laird said. "We aren't playing well and there always seems to be just one bad inning that we can't get over. We're just not playing good baseball right now. That's the bottom line."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.