|Rangers can't explain outburst against Orioles|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 23 August 2007 14:47|
The Rangers were still buzzing a day after becoming the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs in a game, when they set an American League record in a 30-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Texas also established an AL mark with 39 runs in the doubleheader sweep.
A franchise that has at various times featured such sluggers as Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro had never before come close to such an offensive display. Sammy Sosa, fifth on the career home run list with 604, didn't even play in the game for the Rangers.
Last month the Rangers traded two of their top hitters, Mark Teixeira and Kenny Lofton. Their offensive catalyst, Michael Young, didn't have an RBI in the 30-run game.
How to explain such an outburst?
``You can't explain it,'' said Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who set career highs with seven RBIs, five runs and four hits. ``It's a freak accident, just crazy. The pitching wasn't bad. We were just locked in. I never thought I'd see a score like that in my life.''
Texas has been inconsistent on offense all season. Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox pitched a no-hitter against the Rangers on April 18, one of eight times they've been shut out this season. But they teed off on Orioles pitching, with the 27-run margin the largest in the major leagues since 1900.
``By the eighth, ninth innings, we looked at each other and said, 'Is this really happening?''' said Jason Botts, who had three hits and two RBIs. ``It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life. It was definitely a special game.''
The Rangers were trailing 3-0 heading into the fourth inning of the opener Wednesday when their bats came alive. A five-run fourth, a nine-run sixth and a 10-run eighth turned the game into a laugher, but the Rangers insisted they didn't rub it in against the Orioles.
``It was a really good game, then everything went our way,'' Saltalamacchia said. ``We didn't do anything out of the ordinary. We played the game the right way. We couldn't take anybody out because we had to play the second game of that doubleheader. The way we were seeing the ball, everybody was hitting.''
The team didn't get back to Texas on its flight from Baltimore until after 4 a.m. on Thursday. Players were given the option of arriving at the ballpark later than normal to get some extra rest after playing almost seven hours in the doubleheader.
Texas batters had struck out 30 times in the two games prior to the doubleheader. The opposing starters in those two games were two of the toughest left-handers in the game: Minnesota's Johan Santana and Baltimore's Eric Bedard.
The Rangers struck out 11 more times in the 30-run game, with the 41 Ks in three games tying a club record. But nobody in the Texas clubhouse was talking about that mark on Thursday.
``After the two days we had with Santana and Bedard, we just felt if we made Baltimore's pitchers work a little bit, we could get something going,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ``It was unbelievable, really.''
Among the items from the game on the way to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., are one of Saltalamacchia's bats, the Rangers' lineup card, and the ball from the final out.
Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez, the bottom two batters in Texas' lineup, each homered twice and finished with seven RBIs. The last time two teammates had as many as seven RBIs in a game was 1962, when Elston Howard had eight and Mickey Mantle added seven for the New York Yankees against the Kansas City Athletics.
``It's the greatest feeling in the world,'' said Saltalamacchia, who came in batting .179 and finished at .262. ``As a kid, you go to the Hall of Fame and admire it all. To have a part of me in there is amazing.''