sports 2 days ago

Rangers take 1-0 walk-off win after rough road trip

The Dallas Morning News — By Brandon George The Dallas Morning News

April 21-- ARLINGTON, Texas_Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, the proud Texan, will have good reason to puff out his chest even more now.

And the doom-and-gloom Texas Rangers bullpen finally offered a sigh of relief.

The Rangers rebounded from a miserable West Coast trip with their first walk-off win of the year Thursday, 1-0, against Kansas City in 13 innings.

For the first time in Globe Life Park history the game was scoreless through 12 innings. But No. 9 hitter Delino DeShields ended the silent night with one loud single.

Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo set up the go-ahead run with a one-out double into the right-field corner. DeShields followed with a 10-pitch at-bat that ended with him lining Travis Wood's pitch into left field to score Gallo from second and ignite the Rangers' celebration.

For the first time all season the Rangers won a game in which they scored fewer than seven runs. But it wasn't easy. It's the first time a Rangers home game was scoreless through 12 innings since Aug. 17, 1990, against the White Sox in Arlington Stadium.

The Rangers finished their road trip against the Angels, Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at 3-6 and limped back home in last place in the AL West at 5-10. They needed some sign of life.

The Rangers' pitchers came through on a night their bats fell silent.

Cashner, who was born in Conroe and played at TCU, wasn't dominating or efficient in his first home start for the Rangers. He was, however, effective.

In his second start since coming off the DL, and playing in front of several friends and family, Cashner pitched six scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and walked four while striking out three before giving way to the bullpen.

Cashner wasn't near as sharp with his sinking fastball as he had been in his first start at Seattle on Saturday, when he enticed 12 groundballs. Cashner retired seven Royals on fly balls and six on groundouts Thursday. He threw 53 strikes in 94 pitches.

And the Rangers finally got some help from their beleaguered bullpen.

Six Rangers relievers combined for seven scoreless innings. Tony Barnette, Alex Claudio, Jeremy Jeffress, Matt Bush, Keone Kela and Dario Alvarez outperformed Cashner.

They only allowed one hit_an eighth-inning single_and one walk while striking out 11 in keeping the Royals off the board.

Kela and Alvarez each threw two near-perfect innings to cap the stellar relief work.

Cashner struggled with his command early. He walked at least one batter in three of the first four innings as his pitch count climbed to 74 heading into the fifth.

And it could have been worse if not for two Royals outs on the bases.

Cashner executed an on-the-bag throw to second to pick off Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas to end the first. Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy gunned down Royals second baseman Raul Mondesi trying to steal second in the third.

Cashner showed poise in the fifth, working around a leadoff double by shortstop Alcides Escobar. He needed just seven more pitches to retire the next three Royals on a pair of groundouts and a strikeout.

The Rangers' high-scoring offense, however, couldn't get anything going against Royals starter Danny Duffy. He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and walking three while striking out five.

Their best chance against Duffy came in the fifth.

Before the game, Rangers manager Jeff Banister emphasized a player's "recognition of a situation."

"Situational hitting is one of the more pure forms of hitting," he added.

Gallo failed to execute as a "situational" hitter in the fifth.

In a scoreless game, Lucroy led off the fifth with a double just inside the first-base bag. Gallo couldn't move Lucroy to third base however, striking out swinging. Two batters later, center fielder Carlos Gomez just missed getting all of a fastball left up in the zone. The fly ball to deep center would have easily scored Lucroy had Gallo been able to advance the runner.

But Gallo came through with a double in the 13th to set the table for DeShields' heroics.


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