Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Net lag: K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-Kazmir

Texas Rangers 3 - Tampa Bay Rays 7

Well, its Wednesday morning, which must mean that its about time to talk about Monday night's game.

Which, I think it would be fair to say, I enjoyed a lot. And that is in no small part down to Mr Scott Kazmir. I said a week or so ago that, despite racking up three straight wins he still wasn't at his best. Well, last night he was.

His fastball was not only up to speed, but had some unbelieveable late movement. And his slider was simply devastating. The Rangers had no answers. He struck out 7 of the first 9 hitters he faced, and 10 overall in a 7-inning outing of brilliance. He gave up only three hits, and one run in the sixth, the only inning in which Texas threatened him even marginally. The run actually scored on what became a sacrifice fly thanks to (yet another) superb running catch by Carl Crawford, saving a sure-fire extra-base hit. The win makes Kaz's record 4-1 on the season now, with a 1.50ERA.

After Al Reyes pitched the eighth, Gary Glover came in for the ninth and had his second successive implosion, allowing two runs and only getting a single out - necessitating Trever Miller to come in and finish the job. Which he did nicely.

It was a cracking day for our batters as well - every starter picked up at least one hit, with Carlos Pena and Dioner Navarro leading the way with 3-4 days. Pena thought that one of his was a homerun, but after selling it to the umpire, he was ordered back to second with a ground-rule double when the final resting place of the ball was discovered - atop the B-ring catwalk. It was only the second ball ever to not come down from there, following a Jose Canseco shot back in 1999.

The only real downside at the plate was the fact that we left 15 men on base - but we did at least get 7 home, the key effort being Eric Hinske's ninth homer of the season, a 3-run blast in the 5th. That stretched the lead at that point to 5, and with Kazmir throwing bullets, it always looked like it would be enough.

The win meant the Rays held (temporarily at least) the best record in all of baseball at 31-20 - the first team in modern MLB history (since 1900) to have the best record through Memorial Day having had the worst record the previous season. Impressive. Trying to improve that record even further last night was Andy Sonnanstine, and more on that will follow tomorrow...

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