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08/23/07 8:33 PM ET
Rangers astonished by record night
Club scores 30 times; Littleton records save with 27-run lead
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Wes Littleton got the last out, retiring Brian Roberts on a grounder to shortstop. But he forgot to keep the baseball. "I didn't think about it," Littleton said. "I should have kept the ball. I didn't even know it was a save. I was just trying to approach it as a one-run game. Seriously. I took it as we were up 1-0 and I have to get nine outs to win the game. That's the way I took it." Littleton did get nine outs and did get the save. As hard as it is to believe, Littleton was credited with the save for throwing three scoreless innings in a 30-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday night. "It's pretty cool when you get a save with a 27-run lead," Littleton said. "I was just happy to put zeros up there." Littleton is the first pitcher in Major League history to earn a save with a 27-run lead and he should have kept the last baseball. The Rangers claimed it instead and that's just one of several items being sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum from Wednesday's game. Besides the baseball, the Rangers are also sending manager Ron Washington's lineup card, broadcaster Eric Nadel's scorecard and the bat used by Jarrod Saltalamacchia to hit two home runs. It was a bat that he brought with him after being acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 31 and had his former team's name engraved on it. It was still going into the Hall of Fame collection of memorabilia. "It's awesome," Saltalamacchia said. "It's the greatest feeling in the world. As a kid you go to the Hall of Fame, admire it and look at it but to have a part of me in it is unbelievable. I never thought I'd see anything like that." Nobody has. The Rangers were the first team to score 30 runs in a Major League game since 1897 when the Chicago Colts (now the Cubs), managed by Hall of Famer Cap Anson, beat Louisville, 36-7. The Rangers set an American League record for most runs in a game, breaking the old mark of 29 set by the Boston Red Sox in 1950 and tied by the Chicago White Sox in 1955. The Rangers followed that up with a 9-7 victory in Game 2 to establish an American League record for most runs in a doubleheader. Again, you have to go back to the 19th century to find more runs scored in a doubleheader. The official record is 43 set by the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) in 1894. Those are just a few in a long list of Major League, American League and Rangers club records set on Wednesday, records ranging from the obvious to the sublime on a memorable night at Camden Yards. "I'll definitely remember it for the rest of my life," said designated hitter Jason Botts, who was 3-for-7 in Game 1. "As the game went on it became more unbelievable. We were looking at each other and saying, 'Is this really happening?'" The Rangers tied an American League record with 65 plate appearances and 57 at-bats. They also set a Major League record with 30 RBIs in the game, a statistic that started being officially kept in 1920. Then there were such esoteric notes like the Rangers being the first team to have four players with four RBIs in a game since the 1979 Philadelphia Phillies had Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Gary Maddux and Bob Boone do it. Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez had seven RBIs in Game 1, the first pair of teammates to have seven RBIs in one game since Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard for the New York Yankees in 1962. "I don't know if any one thing stands out, just the consistency of the at-bats and the fact that we were down 3-0 early," said outfielder David Murphy, who was 5-for-7 with five runs scored. "There was a part of the game where we could have easily been on the losing side. But before you know it, we string some hits together, have some great at-bats and it's a snowball effect." The Rangers were 18-for-25 with runners in scoring position in Game 1 and 23-for-40 in the doubleheader. They had batted .202 with runners in scoring position in their previous 22 games. Kason Gabbard, who allowed three runs in six innings to get the victory, shot to the American League lead in run support average among pitchers with at least 65 innings after getting 14 runs while he was still in the game. He averages 8.51 runs of offensive support per nine innings. "They were all getting on me because they scored 14 runs for me, but Wes was in there for three innings and they scored 16 runs for him," Gabbard said. "But it was great. I was just trying to keep my team in the game. It was fun to watch, especially after I came out of the game and they're whacking the ball all over the place."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.