Choo's walk-off walk notches series victory
Rangers plate three runs in ninth off Papelbon to stun Phillies again
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers played 27 innings in three days against the Phillies. They had the lead at the end of three of those innings. Two of those innings were the ninth, which is why their clubhouse continues to reek of beer.
The Rangers love their beer showers after those ninth-inning walk-off victories and they were celebrating again on Wednesday night after Shin-Soo Choo brought home the winning run with a bases-loaded walk. The Rangers trailed 3-1 going into the ninth before scoring three runs off closer Jonathan Papelbon for a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Phillies.
"That's a good team over there and Papelbon has definitely had a lot of success," designated hitter Mitch Moreland said. "To come out and rally like that and get a win, seal the series, that's a nice way to start the season. Just to see the way we came together the last couple of nights ... it may not look like it from the outside, but from the inside, I think we really came together and made it happen. It was a great team effort."
The Rangers also won in the ninth inning on Tuesday and this is the first time they have had back-to-back walk-off wins since three straight against the Angels on July 29-31 last year.
"It has been great the last two nights," outfielder Alex Rios said. "It shows our offense doesn't quit. It teaches the young kids that if you never quit and play to the last out, good things can happen."
Nobody enjoyed the rally more than rookie reliever Seth Rosin, the Rule 5 Draft pick who has been with the Rangers exactly one week. He pitched two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, and ended up getting his first Major League victory.
"I was ecstatic," Rosin said. "I knew coming off the mound we had a chance down two in our last at-bat. Our offense can explode, these guys can hit the ball out of the ballpark and score three or four runs easily. I was super excited watching the bottom of the ninth from the dugout watching what was happening."
The Rangers were held scoreless on three hits through six innings by Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. They trailed 3-0 into the seventh before Moreland hit a triple and scored on a single by Leonys Martin. But they were still down by two going into the ninth against Papelpon, who had allowed just two runs -- one earned -- in 21 career appearances against the Rangers.
"We squandered some chances early, but in the end, we did what we had to do," manager Ron Washington said. "We got focused and put some great at-bats together ... and came out with a win."
Adrian Beltre started the rally with a line-drive single to left. Papelbon struck out Rios, but Moreland lined a double into the right-field corner that moved Beltre to third. Washington then sent up Jim Adduci to hit for J.P. Arencibia.
Adduci made the team out of Spring Training because he is a left-handed hitter with speed, and those skills were definitely on display against Papelbon. Adduci hit a slow bouncer up the third-base line and beat it out for a single, allowing Beltre to score and Moreland to reach third with one out.
"I'll take it, whatever works, works," Adduci said. "I felt it off the end of the bat and I just took off."
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, still leading 3-2, brought the infield in and Leonys Martin grounded a single up the middle to bring home Moreland. Adduci raced to third on the play.
"The whole inning was kind of just one of those innings," Papelbon said. "You get a cue ball down the third-base line, then you get a double play ball you think is a game-ending double play. It's not. Just one of those innings. My whole focus was getting a ground ball to get a double play to get us out of the inning."
Papelbon unraveled from there, walking Donnie Murphy on four pitches to load the bases. Papelbon got ahead 1-2 on Choo, but then threw three straight balls to end the game. It was the first Rangers walk-off win by a walk since Todd Zeile against Arizona's Dan Plesac back in 1999.
"That at-bat by Choo was a great one," Washington said. "Not just him, but the whole team. Once again it goes to show you we play 27 outs and don't quit to the end."
Rosin combined with Shawn Tolleson and Pedro Figueroa to give the Rangers four scoreless innings behind Robbie Ross Jr. out of the bullpen. Ross, in his first Major League start, allowed three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and two walks in five innings while striking out seven. Rangers relievers did not allow a run in their last 8 1/3 innings of the series.