Choo, Beltre lead Rangers to walk-off win over Phils
Outfielder scores twice on third baseman's key hits in comeback victory
ARLINGTON -- This time, the traditional postgame walk-off beer shower didn't feel too good.
"It was a little too cold for me," third baseman Adrian Beltre said with a whiff of suds still lingering in the Rangers' clubhouse at Globe Life Park.
But tradition is tradition. That's how the Rangers celebrate the walk-off, and Beltre found himself the one being doused after his team rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night. Beltre delivered the game-winning single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, driving home Shin-Soo Choo from second base.
"That's a lot of fun, getting to celebrate on the field like that," said Prince Fielder, who had one of two big walks in the inning to set up Beltre's game-winning hit.
"A good ballgame … a great team effort," manager Ron Washington said.
Beltre also had an RBI double in the seventh inning that tied the game, and he had two of the Rangers' three hits in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"That's what I have to do," Beltre said. "When you hit in the middle of the lineup, that's what you get paid to do. I feel confident in those situations, and I like the challenge. It was nice to get that first win. It was a really good game, good pitching on both sides, but we were able to come back and steal the win."
The game was scoreless through five innings in a duel between Rangers starter Martin Perez and A.J. Burnett of the Phillies. Perez gave up two in the top of the sixth, but instant replay kept the Phils from a possible bigger inning as Ben Revere was called out at second base on a pickoff play after the original safe call was reversed after review.
The reversal kept the Phillies from possibly breaking the game open. Instead, the Rangers got out of the inning down just 2-0, and their bullpen kept it close as Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Together they combined to retire 10 of the last 12 Phils hitters. Soria earned the victory by setting down the side in order in the ninth.
"It felt really good," Soria said. "The whole offseason we prepared for this, and now that it's here, you have to enjoy it. You always get up. If you lose that [feeling], you have to do something else. You have to have the emotions going on."
Burnett had allowed just four hits going into the bottom of the sixth, and he also had held the Rangers to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. But the Rangers brought his shutout to an end on a double by Alex Rios and a single by Mitch Moreland.
"Shutdown innings, you're going to hear that a lot," Burnett said. "That's what starters do. I think a shutdown inning in the sixth would've been huge. Would've kept them at bay a little bit. That sixth inning, you've got to shut them down."
Burnett exited after six, and the Rangers tied it up in the bottom of the seventh against left-handed reliever Jake Diekman. Choo led off with a single, was bunted to second by Elvis Andrus, and scored on a two-out double down the right-field line by Beltre.
Antonio Bastardo set the Rangers down in order in the eighth, and then Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg brought in rookie left-hander Mario Hollands to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Sandberg wanted the left-hander, with Choo leading off and Fielder hitting third in the inning. But Hollands, in his big league debut, walked Choo on four pitches.
"On base," said Choo, who was on base in four of five plate appearances. "I was thinking 'On base.' I saw him throw the first two balls, and I wanted to see two strikes before I swung. I didn't want to be too aggressive."
Andrus bunted Choo to second, bringing up Fielder. This time, Hollands worked the count full but couldn't get Fielder to chase a 95-mph fastball.
"You want to get a good pitch to drive there," Fielder said. "He made some good pitches. You're looking for a pitch to drive, but you don't want to swing at anything. You want to be selective, especially ahead in the count."
With Beltre due up, Sandberg brought in right-hander B.J.Rosenberg. But Beltre lined a 1-1 pitch to right-center to bring home Choo and set off a celebration at first base.
"Choo set the tone by not being too aggressive in the kid's first game," Washington said. "Prince did a great job, and Beltre … that's what he does. He gets big hits for us."
It makes for a chilling moment.