Saturday, August 30, 2008
(Magic) Number Nine: Angels 4, Rangers 3
The Rangers answered with two of their own in the top of the sixth, knocking Jered Weaver out on 108 pitches after he failed to get out either of the two batters he faced to lead off the frame, Milton Bradley or Hank Blalock. That led to Jose Arredondo, who was, by his lights, rather wobbly; he allowed both his inherited runners to score, thus evicting Weaver (rightfully, considering the low expectations he met) from a possible win. But he contained further damage, and despite a blown call on Chris Davis' 3-4 force (which should have been a 3-4-1 double play, but Davis was ruled safe on a makeup call, about which, more presently), the Angels escaped further damage.
The Angels scored one of their runs in the fifth on a rather dubious call — let's call it a gift — when home plate umpire Dale Scott called Torii Hunter safe on Mike Napoli's "RBI" single despite the fact Hunter retagged the bag after crossing it. That brought out Ron Washington, who argued pointlessly with Scott; they got one back later, but their pitching wasn't able to hold up, and thus it mattered not.
Arredondo's adventures aside, Scot Shields pitched a scoreless if wobbly (two walks) eighth, saved from disaster by yet another Torii Hunter theft of a home run, this time off Hank Blalock. Frankie nailed down the save in another fairly uneventful ninth, earning his 53rd save almost like clockwork.
The Angels' magic number is now nine. I marvel at the fact, and at the series win.
Update: The MVN blog Baseball Time In Arlington has video of the blown call at home. From the TV replay (you may as well turn down the audio, it's pretty poor), it's indisputable that Hunter missed the bag on the first pass.
I'm trying to figure out how to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but I'm having difficulty reading this as anything other than (perhaps unconscious) crude stereotyping.