ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been looking for positive signs from second baseman Rougned Odor and they were everywhere to be found on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
Odor was a huge driving force in the Rangers almost overcoming an eight-run deficit before a ninth-inning rally fell short in a 9-8 loss to the Athletics. Odor was 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs. He entered the game hitting .165, the lowest batting average among all Major League qualifiers.
“That was a big game for him,” manager Chris Woodward said.
Odor’s biggest moment came in the eighth inning, when he stole home for the first time in his career. It came with the Rangers trailing 8-5 at the time.
Odor was on third, having reached with an RBI double, with Ronald Guzman at first and Shin-Soo Choo batting against left-hander Ryan Buchter. Third baseman Matt Chapman was playing well off the bag with a left-hander at the plate. After a couple of fake attempts failed to attract Buchter’s attention, Odor broke on a 1-1 pitch and was able to slide in safely.
“He was looking at first base,” Odor said. “I was going to go first pitch, but I wasn’t sure. So I took a couple of steps home to see how he’d react, but he didn’t even know I was doing that. On the [third] pitch, I was doing the same and when I did my first couple of steps I just put my head down and kept going.”
It was the 33rd steal of home in Rangers history, and the first straight steal of home for Texas since Elvis Andrus on Sept. 1, 2015.
“That was a big run,” Woodward said. “I don’t want to underestimate the importance of that run. I know the tying run is at the plate, but if we get within two, we’ve put pressure on ... things can happen. It’s a big deal.”
Things almost happened. The Athletics scored one in the ninth against Jose Leclerc, but the Rangers pulled within one in the bottom of the inning. They had Odor at the plate with two outs and a runner at second against Athletics closer Blake Treinen.
But Odor walked and Guzman lined to center to end the game.
“I thought [Odor] was going to hit a homer right there,” Woodward said. “Honestly, if Treinen threw a pitch to him, he was going to win the game for us. I could feel his energy and confidence.”