ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has passed Hideki Matsui for the most home runs (176) by a player from Asia, but Bartolo Colon is still one short of tying Juan Marichal for most wins by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic.But neither player was wrapped up too much in
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has passed Hideki Matsui for the most home runs (176) by a player from Asia, but Bartolo Colon is still one short of tying Juan Marichal for most wins by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic.
But neither player was wrapped up too much in milestones on a hot Saturday afternoon at Globe Life Park. They were far more excited about the way the Rangers won this one, as Choo hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th for a 4-3 victory over the Royals.
"The most important thing is we won," Colon said. "If I didn't get the win, that's fine. I don't think about Marichal too much. If it comes, it comes. The most important thing is we won."
Colon, going for his 243rd career victory, allowed three runs in the third inning to give the Royals a 3-0 lead. But he made an adjustment by going with more curveballs to keep the Royals off-balance. He ended up retiring 14 of the last 16 batters he faced and that allowed the Rangers to mount a comeback, finished off in the 10th with Choo's home run.
"Those guys are unbelievable," Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo said. "I always say Choo is one of the best hitters I've seen, the way he takes his at-bats every day. I went into the dugout and I was like, 'He's gonna hit a bomb right here.' You could just feel it with him because his swing has been so good lately. As soon as he hit it, I was like, 'There it is.'"
The game-time temperature was 97 degrees and still in the mid-90's when Choo stepped to the plate to face reliever Kevin McCarthy in the 10th. Shadows had started covering the infield but home plate was bathed in sunshine from a portal on the first-base side.
"It was tough seeing the ball," Choo said. "I asked the catcher [Salvador] Perez if it was tough to see and he said, 'A little bit.' I saw two pitches and couldn't see them all. The ball was really dark and I couldn't see the spin. But it was a 3-1 count so I looked in just one area and swung hard."
Choo didn't realize that he had tied Matsui with his home run on Friday night. He'll remember this one. It was the third walk-off home run of his career and that meant more than Matsui.
"I'm not really worried about it," Choo said. "I care about it, but like I said earlier this morning, I've played a long time in the big leagues, played healthy, played hard, those numbers are coming. I'm not really a home run hitter, in my career. I never think that way, I always try to stay healthy, try to help the team win the World Series."
The Rangers have now won four of their last five and three of those have come when the opposing team scored first. The Rangers had won just two of their first 24 such games this season.
"Every victory is huge for us but I thought just the way pitching and defense was solid today, some timely hitting, some guys ran the bases well today," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "When you play clean baseball games in this type of situation, it's huge. It's a confidence builder when you see the group of guys inside the dugout. Again, the walk-offs are huge, they give you momentum going into the next day."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Right fielder Nomar Mazara made a terrific running catch of Jorge Soler's drive into the right-center gap in the sixth. Colon watched it from the mound and led the crowd in applauding Mazara.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Gallo had an RBI double in the sixth inning that hit off the 407-foot sign in deep center field. That's as far as you can hit the ball at Globe Life Park without getting a home run.
"I just wanted to get the guy in so that was a good at-bat for me," Gallo said.
HE SAID IT
"I am really enjoying watching our young players play. They are improving every game and really understanding the game. I really enjoy watching them." -- Choo
Cole Hamels closes out the four-game series against the Royals at 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Globe Life Park. Hamels is working on a streak of five straight starts allowing two earned runs or fewer. He allowed two runs in seven innings in a 6-4 win over the Yankees in his last start, leaving him 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA over his last five starts. Jason Hammel pitches for the Royals.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.