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07/26/08 2:47 AM ET
Rangers' offense wins one for Rudy
Bats rack up 14 runs as hitting coach mends from surgery
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- This was the perfect get-well card for Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who underwent knee replacement surgery on Friday in Dallas. No word if Jaramillo was alert enough after the operation to watch and enjoy this one, but he'll certainly be able to review the damage through a box score and that's bound to put a smile on his face. His offense, which already leads the American League in runs scored, pounded the Athletics league-leading pitching staff with 14 runs and 17 hits -- including three home runs -- and moved back into second place with a 14-6 victory. "I'm sure he'll be happy about this one," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. The Athletics entered the game with the lowest team ERA in the AL, but starter Sean Gallagher, in his third start since being acquired from the Cubs in the Rich Harden trade, couldn't hold a 5-0 lead after three innings. Instead, the Rangers scored five in the fourth, then took the lead in the seventh on a double by Chris Davis and a two-out single by Ian Kinsler, and finally broke it open with eight runs in the ninth inning. The Rangers have scored 22 runs in their past two games after just 11 runs in their first five games after the All-Star break. "We know they have a great pitching staff and anybody they run out there is a good pitcher," shortstop Michael Young said. "But we're a confident team in our ability to put runs on the board. We know that if we stick to our approach, we'll score runs." The Rangers batted around twice in the game and every starter had at least one hit and scored a run. Seven of nine had at least one RBI. Josh Hamilton contributed a two-run home run to the effort and now has 100 RBIs on the season. He's the 17th player in Rangers history to drive in at least 100 runs in a season and it's the 37th time it's been done in club history. He's also reached the century mark in 103 games, the fourth fastest to the 100 RBI mark in Rangers history. Juan Gonzalez reached three times in under 100 games back in 1996-98. "I didn't realize it until [Frank Catalanotto] said something to me," Hamilton said. "I said, 'I forgot about that.' I'm not thinking about it, but it is nice to get my first one under my belt." The home run came in a crucial moment. Rangers starter Vicente Padilla gave up five runs in the third inning and only escaped further damage when left-fielder David Murphy threw out Jack Hannahan trying to score from second on a two-out single by Ryan Sweeney. But the Rangers struck back immediately in the top of the fourth. Byrd reached on an error and Murphy hit a two-run home run to make it 5-2. Davis then singled, Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked, Kinsler bunted them over and Young hit a sacrifice fly to right. That cut it to 5-3 and Hamilton crushed a first-pitch curveball he saw over the right-field wall for a game-tying home run. "I just left way too many balls up in the zone, and Hamilton's home runs was a perfect example," Gallagher said. "I just hung a curveball, and he did what a good hitter does with those." Padilla responded to the comeback by doing a 180-degree turn on the mound. After the mess in the third inning, he responded by retiring nine straight hitters. That put him in position to get the win after the Rangers took the lead on Kinsler's single in the seventh. "He deserved to win," manager Ron Washington said. "He stayed out there and battled. He just had one bad inning that he couldn't do much about. He made some pitches and they put the ball in play and found some holes. I don't think he was getting knocked around, but nobody got down. We knew we had a lot of ballgame left." Padilla has won five straight decisions against the Athletics and is 5-1 with a 4.65 ERA in his career against them. "Obviously he's a tough pitcher, and you feel pretty good when you get five runs early against a solid veteran like Padilla," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "But he came back after that inning and started locating a lot better, and they came right back with a big inning of their own." Relievers Frank Francisco and Eddie Guardado kept it at one run before the Rangers blew it open with eight runs in the top of the ninth. Chris Davis started the rampage with a two-run home run, his ninth in 85 at-bats since being brought up from Triple-A. "One guy hits, another guy hits and it starts a chain reaction," Hamilton said. "We feed off each other and we've been doing it all season." Just like the hitting coach likes it.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.