Moreland delivers in 10th as Texas tops Padres
SAN DIEGO -- Mitch Moreland doubled home Elvis Andrus in the top of the 10th inning and the Rangers held on for a 4-3 victory over the Padres on Wednesday night.
The victory moved the Rangers within two games of the Astros in the American League West, and they maintain a one-game lead over the Twins for the second Wild Card spot.
Andrus started the rally with a one-out single off reliever Bud Norris. Moreland followed with a line drive down the right-field line that rattled around the corner long enough for Andrus to score from first base.
"It was a big win for us, a hard-fought game," Moreland said. "It was a great one for us to win, give us some momentum and take it into the next series."
Padres starter Ian Kennedy held the Rangers to two runs in seven innings while tying a career high with 12 strikeouts. He struck out the last five batters he faced before the Padres pinch-hit for him in the seventh. Padres pitchers struck out 16 on the night.
Rangers starter Cole Hamels also went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. Sam Dyson picked up the win with two scoreless innings in relief on a night when closer Shawn Tolleson was unavailable..
"Dyson showed up big for us tonight," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "A lot of resiliency by our guys. It was a solid night for all of our guys and a couple of guys stepped up big."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gimenez power splurge: Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez was 1-for-3 with a fourth-inning home run. He has five home runs in 49 at-bats with the Rangers, or one for every 9.8 at-bats. When Alex Rodriguez set a club record with 57 home runs in 2002, he hit one every 10.95 at-bats.
Barmes' big day: Clint Barmes sparked the Padres' scoring, hitting a two-run double in the fourth inning that fell just inside the right-field foul line to give San Diego its first two runs of the game. In the sixth inning, Barmes grounded into a forceout and knocked in Justin Upton on a fielder's choice. Barmes is now 6-for-13, with three doubles, in his career against Hamels.
Benoit works: Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit threw a season-high 31 pitches and allowed a run to tie the game at 3-3. Benoit walked Shin-Soo Choo, allowed a single to Prince Fielder, before Adrian Beltre hit a sacrifice fly to score Choo. Benoit had not allowed an earned run since June 9. He struck out Moreland with runners on second and third to end the inning.
Hamilton hits, but Rangers can't score: Josh Hamilton made his first appearance in a game since Aug. 15, as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, and delivered a single off Craig Kimbrel. But the Rangers couldn't take advantage of it. Hamilton's single followed a leadoff walk by Will Venable. But Delino DeShields popped out after fouling off two bunt attempts. Kimbrel walked Choo to load the bases but struck out Mike Napoli and Beltre. More >
"It's nice to be able to contribute in some way instead of just being a cheerleader," Hamilton said.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Kimbrel didn't make the ninth his normal quick inning, as he faced six batters, throwing a season-high 37 pitches. Kimbrel's previous highest pitch count for the season was 33, also against the Rangers on July 12.
"It goes unnoticed how great he was. I thought it was a great performance, battling their No. 1. He made great pitches, he pitched out of trouble when he needed to, whether he created it or not. I really thought that was as good as a starting pitching performance as you could see." -- Interim manager Pat Murphy on Kennedy More >
"They are a great hitting team and you try to navigate through that lineup and I doubted myself one time thinking 'There is no break in this lineup,' even thinking Cole -- Cole is a great hitter himself. You can't treat him lightly either." -- Kennedy on facing the Rangers' hitters
In the 10th inning, the Padres challenged the call that Drew Stubbs was safe at first base. Murphy's hunch was correct as the call was overturned, sending San Diego back to the dugout.
Rangers: The Rangers are off on Thursday before opening a three-game series with the Angels at 9:05 p.m. CT on Friday night. Martin Perez will be on the mound for the Rangers, who are 4-8 against the Angels this season and 9-22 since the start of 2014.
Padres: The Padres open a four-game series with the Dodgers at 7:10 p.m. PT Thursday at Petco Park. Rookie right-hander Colin Rea makes his fifth start for San Diego and goes up against former Padres right-hander Mat Latos. Rea is trying to snap a two-game losing streak
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