Rangers come out on right side of one-run game
MINNEAPOLIS -- “How do you get the one-run games to stop being a topic of conversation?” Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley was asked prior to Saturday’s matchup with the Twins at Target Field.
Beasley was honest, noting that you can’t truly control the outcome or run differential in a game, whether it’s a win or loss. But the 7-25 record in one-run games entering Saturday was notably staggering, especially as the Rangers continue to go through a time of immense change in the organization.
One-run games often come down to one or two plays here or one or two clutch hits there. Fortunately for the Rangers, they came out on top of one of those contests, defeating the Twins, 4-3, in 10 innings behind a four-hit day from Nathaniel Lowe and 10th-inning RBI singles from Corey Seager and Mark Mathias.
The Rangers are now 2-1 in one-run games since Beasley took over for Chris Woodward, who was relieved of his duties as manager Monday.
“We find our way in one-run games, somehow, we’ve just got to win them,” Beasley said postgame. “That's the thing. That's how you win the game, by scoring just one more run than the opposition. So I don't care if they’re one-run games, as long as we come out on top. If we can learn how to win those close, one-run games, that's what championship teams do. They find ways to win those games. We've got to continue to find ways to come out on top in one-run games.”
Texas’ struggles in one-run games have been a mystery all year, especially when accounting for its winning record in two-run games (16-11). Seager noted it’s hard to win a Major League game, especially close ones, but in the win over the Twins, the Rangers responded to each blow with one of their own.
Winning a close, one-run game, behind a solid 5 2/3 innings from starter Glenn Otto, is a step in the right direction under Beasley’s new managerial lead.
“Speaking objectively, we're not great at getting out to a lead,” Lowe said. “Tonight, we got to lead [after Adolis García hit a first-inning RBI double]. If we can control the momentum, we're in a much better situation. It feels like sometimes, like per se last night, we fall behind and have to fight our way back. That's it. If we jump ahead like we're supposed to be, we like the result.”
That’s not to say everything was perfect for the Rangers in the win. Far from it. Fielding errors, both mental and physical from Beasley’s perspective, made the game a lot closer than it should have been in the first place.
The first of the Twins’ runs was scored after a throwing error by Seager in the fifth inning allowed Jake Cave to reach base before scoring two batters later.
The second came in the eighth, when Matt Moore issued a two-out walk to Max Kepler, who then scored on an RBI single from Jose Miranda. Kepler scored easily after a poor throw from center fielder Leody Taveras caused Marcus Semien to bobble the ball on the relay.
Another fielding error by Jonathan Hernández allowed a run to score in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Mistakes like these are likely huge parts of the one-run record, but Saturday, the Rangers overcame them.
“We've had a lot of attention put on our defense all year,” Beasley said. “Physical mistakes are gonna happen. You don't want them to happen, and we’ve just got to minimize them. At this point, every one that we make is going to be magnified. The guys know how important it is to play 27 outs. They understand the magnitude of that.
“What happens from this point on, I’ve gotta kind of squash where we've been all year and hope that for the remainder of games we have left that we can be efficient taking care of the baseball. We’re just fortunate tonight that it didn't cost us the ballgame and we were able to play over it.”