Alberto, Rosales prove quite the combo
Shortstop gets crucial hit in debut, while second baseman is also terrific
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers came up with the unlikely double-play combination of shortstop Hanser Alberto and second baseman Adam Rosales for Friday's 7-4 win against the Red Sox.
Rosales has been sharing second base with Thomas Field, but Alberto was making his Major League debut on a night when manager Jeff Banister wanted to give Elvis Andrus a game off.
They were both terrific with big hits and key plays that helped the Rangers top Boston. Their contributions were just as important as the two home runs hit by Josh Hamilton, especially Alberto's first Major League hit.
"This night really means a lot," Alberto said. "The first opportunity, what I have been living for. I'm just thankful for all the people who got me here and thankful to the Rangers for the opportunity to be here."
The pair was in the middle of multiple pivotal plays right from the beginning. The game started with Red Sox leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia hitting a slow bouncer to Alberto, who fielded the ball up the middle going to his left. Alberto bounced his throw to first, but Mitch Moreland handled it for the out.
"You come up here and the ball finds you right away," Banister said. "We talked about it. You knew it. But he made a nice play on a ball up the middle."
Alberto's first plate appearance came in the third. The Rangers led, 1-0, when Rosales led off the inning with a double off Red Sox starter Steven Wright. Alberto bunted him to third and Rosales later scored on a wild pitch.
The Red Sox tied it in the fourth with two runs off Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo. They also had runners at the corners with one out when Rosales turned Rusney Castillo's hot smash into an inning-ending double play.
Rosales had a couple other nice defensive plays. He made a terrific diving stop on a Xander Bogaerts grounder to end the sixth and started another double play in the seventh.
"They both had some big hits and made some good plays behind me," Gallardo said. "They turned some double plays to get me out of some tough jams. Overall it was a good team win."
Alberto's biggest moment came in the bottom of the seventh inning with the Rangers leading, 3-2. With a runner on first base and two outs, Alberto delivered a triple to left-center to plate a run. He scored on a single by Leonys Martin.
The Rangers brought up Alberto on Thursday to give them an extra bench player during a two-game window between one starting pitcher (Phil Klein) being sent down and another (Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez) being called up on Saturday.
They will have to make another roster move to add Gonzalez on Saturday. Alberto is a possibility unless the Rangers decide to keep him and send down Field. But Alberto has been playing mainly shortstop in the Minor Leagues. He has just 11 games of professional experience at second base.
"Right now he is here today," Banister said. "We'll continue to evaluate it each day. With him, it gives me the opportunity to give Elvis a day."