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05/13/10 8:13 PM ET
Guerrero delivers for Rangers in 12th inning
Game-winner scores Young to foil Athletics, win series
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Sitting at his locker after playing 34 innings in three days, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler was exhausted.
"Ridiculous," he said. "Both of my knees gave out in the eighth. How many did we play the other night? Thirteen? That's a couple of long games. But it's a lot easier when you're on this side of it than the other side."
The Rangers were able to enjoy this one after a long afternoon of offensive frustration. The Rangers had gone hitless in 10 straight at-bats with runners in scoring position -- before Vladimir Guerrero delivered the game-winning single with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning for a 2-1 victory over the Athletics on Thursday afternoon.
The victory allowed the Rangers to take two of three from the Athletics and leave town with a two-game lead in the American League West standings. The Rangers, who open a three-game series with Toronto on Friday, have now won 10 of their last 13 games.
Their one loss in the three-game series with Oakland was in 13 innings on Tuesday night, but the Rangers were able to win for the fourth time in six extra-inning games this season.
"That was a good one," third baseman Michael Young said. "Our pitching staff did an outstanding job. Pitching and defense won that one."
Elvis Andrus, who had a four-hit afternoon, drove home the Rangers' first run with an RBI single in the third inning off of Athletics starter Ben Sheets. That was the Rangers' first at-bat with a runner in scoring position.
They spent the rest of the afternoon desperately looking for that second such hit. The Rangers were 1-for-20 with runners in scoring position over two games before Guerrero finally came through.
"We couldn't get anything going offensively but we were battling," Young said. "We kept getting guys on base but we couldn't get them in. We were one hit away."
The Rangers finally found that hit against Athletics closer Andrew Bailey in the 12th, but even that inning began with offensive frustration. Andrus led off the inning with a single and was thrown out by catcher Josh Donaldson trying to steal second.
But Young drew a walk and went to second on a single by Hamilton. That brought up Guerrero, who was still looking for his first hit on the afternoon.
"It was a long game and I was 0-for-5, so I was just trying to give good contact to
the ball," Guerrero said.
He did. He fouled off the first pitch before blasting an 0-1 fastball from Bailey deep into the alley in left-center to chase home Young with the game-winning run. This was the Rangers' third walk-off victory over the season and their eighth win in their final at-bat.
"These guys are resilient," manager Ron Washington said. "They don't quit and they never stop battling. I don't know if frustrating is the word but we just said in the dugout if we keep putting guys out there, we'll get somebody home at some point."
The pinnacle of the Rangers' frustration came not on offense but on defense. Rangers starter C.J. Wilson, who was pitching another brilliant game, had a runner on second with two out in the seventh when he was called for a balk by home-plate umpire Bob Davidson.
Catcher Matt Treanor snapped at Davidson. The umpire snapped back. They went back and forth for a few moments and then Treanor, to his shock and surprise, was thrown out of the game. He was replaced by Max Ramirez. Crew chief Tim Tschida said later that Treanor was ejected for excessive arguing.
"I really didn't have an issue with the balk," Treanor said. "It just developed into something personal. I don't think I disrespected him in a way that I was going to get ejected from the ballgame. I felt terrible for C.J. and bad for Max and I felt I had let the team down. But I didn't feel I deserved to be thrown out."
Ramirez found himself in the middle of all the action. He twice came up with runners at the corners and one out in an inning. It happened in both the seventh and the ninth. Both times the Athletics brought the infield in, both times Ramirez hit a ground ball to shortstop Cliff Pennington and both times the runner was thrown out at home plate trying to score.
Both times the rally died there, just as it did in the tenth when Guerrero, batting with one out and runners on second and first, drove one to deep right-center that Eric Patterson was able to run down.
"When I hit that long fly ball to center field I thought it was going to be gone," Guerrero said. "I kept trying until I finally got it."
"We were doing our job we just weren't finishing it off," Kinsler said.
The Rangers kept trying all afternoon and they finally got it done in the end.