Weary Rangers come through late in Chicago
Texas rebounds from extra-inning loss in LA with comeback victory vs. White Sox
CHICAGO -- After a long night on Thursday, the Rangers didn't arrive at their hotel in Chicago until 7:15 a.m. CT on Friday. They didn't arrive to U.S. Cellular Field until 4 p.m., when the clubhouse was opened to the media.
And they had to face White Sox ace Chris Sale on top of it all. But they caught a second wind to complete a comeback for a 2-1 win on Friday night.
"They're gritty, they grind it, they compete," said Rangers manager Jeff Banister. "You can't explain those types of things. That has to be forged inside individually as well as the group."
The Rangers began Thursday in Los Angeles, where they went 11 innings and nearly three hours against the Dodgers before they finished. The team changed, packed and made its way to the airport, where it departed around 2 a.m. CT.
The Rangers' four-hour flight then arrived on time, but due to rush-hour traffic between the airport and hotel, the team arrived at 7:15 a.m. without much sleep before it had less than eight hours to be at the ballpark.
"It's part of the game," said first baseman Mitch Moreland, who hit a go-ahead pinch-hit single in the ninth inning. "You focus on just trying to go in and grind it out. You know you're not going to be a 100 percent. You might feel a little drag, but it's one of those things you try to be mentally tough, slow it down and do what you can to win."
Added Prince Fielder: "We obviously weren't super fresh. It is what it is."
Texas remained resilient, though, as it scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning after it managed just two baserunners against Sale in the eight innings prior. With one out, Shin-Soo Choo walked and Elvis Andrus singled to put runners on first and second.
White Sox closer David Robertson tossed a wild pitch with Joey Gallo at the plate to allow the runners to advance before recording the out. But he intentionally walked Fielder to make way for Moreland's go-ahead single.
"These guys believe that they can win," Banister said. "They're not going to give in, they're not going to quit and they're going to play to the end.
"They believe they can match up with anybody."
This came from a group who didn't take batting practice on the field and spent much of its time at the ballpark eating, stretching and resting, rather than the normal routine.
Some, like starter Colby Lewis, escaped on an earlier flight, but the bulk were left with little sleep and still recovering from a two-hour time difference.
But the Rangers woke up when it mattered most.
"They showed up with energy today," Banister said. "This is a group of professional guys that love to play the game of baseball. I'm sure you ask them, they'd rather be here than anywhere else."