Rangers Advance To Championship Saturday With Walk-Off Win
Written by: Randy Ranger
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Rangers narrowly escaped with a 6-5 walk-off victory tonight versus an excellent Cubs team at Plaisted. Using four different pitchers in an effort to preserve potential hurlers for a possible Saturday appearance in the championship, the Rangers got key plays from everyone in a true team effort. After stranding the bases loaded in the first after the Cubs turned a nifty 1-2-3 double play, the Rangers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second with an RBI fielder's choice by Jay to score Matt from third. Curtis scampered home on the next play when Austin put the ball into play. The Cubs answered with two in the third and the Rangers struck again in the bottom half of that inning, scoring two when Jack hammered a pitch to right for a triple. The tenacious Cubs answered to tie the score in the fourth with two more runs and the nail-biter was on.
After some good defense including nice catches in center by Aaron, and in left by Jack, and an inning ending play at second by the always-cool Nate, the game headed to the sixth tied at four. The Cubs scored a run with two outs in the top of the sixth putting the Rangers in the hole. It could have been worse without a terrific play by Austin throwing a runner out from his knees at short for the second out of the inning. Henry made an inning ending play at first with a diving stop and unassisted put-out
Rookie Matt led off the bottom of the sixth with a two strike single between shortstop and third and advanced to second on a passed ball. Eddie followed with a sharp single up the middle and took second on a strong throw to home from centerfield that kept the tying run at third. With one out, Austin stepped to the plate and with two strikes, delivered a solid line drive to center that barely eluded the center fielders diving attempt. Matt and Eddie raced home and when Eddie crossed the plate, the Rangers had confirmed their date with the A's on Saturday.
The Rangers will have their work cut out for them against a tough A's team. They are hoping history can repeat itself as they faced the same situation last year when they had to win twice against the Phillies on championship Saturday, proving that anything is possible in the game of baseball.