Rangers rookie Rougned Odor hits first MLB homer, fields ball with his jersey vs. Astros
Rougned Odor's first week in The Show has been an adventurous one. Last Friday, the 20-year-old Rangers second baseman played a controversial part in Yu Darvish's latest near-no-hitter, while on Monday night he was part of an even stranger play in the field — but only after showing off his impressive power with his first major league home run.
Recalled after just 62 games above A-ball to patch up a battered and unproductive middle infield and a slumping offense, Odor collected just a pair of singles in 12 plate appearances through his first four games, one of them as a pinch-hitter. In the top of the sixth inning of Monday night's game at Minute Maid Park, he showed why he was considered one of the game's top prospects. Astros starter Brad Peacock left a first-pitch 94 mph fastball in the center of the plate, and Odor simply annihilated it:
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Granted, that's what major league hitters are supposed to do with dead-red fastballs, but if you don't get a jolt by watching how quickly the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder flips his wrists on that one and how far it travels, consult your physician. Via ESPN Home Run Tracker, the upper-deck blast measured 431 feet, the third-longest shot by a Rangers hitter this year after a 446-foot Prince Fielder homer and a 443-foot Michael Choice one.
The homer gave Texas a 4-0 lead, and the score held the rest of the way. The Astros collected 11 hits on the night without plating a run, the most unusual of which was this one off the bat of Matt Dominguez:
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As you can see, the ball took a high hop that found the neck hole of Odor's jersey. Had this been a carnival, Dominguez would have won an oversized stuffed animal.
Second base umpire Pat Hoberg called time so that Odor could retrieve the ball, which he did by pulling it through between two buttons. Dominguez was credited with an infield single. Two batters later, George Springer singled, so manager Ron Washington gave Colby Lewis the hook after 5 2/3 innings. Reliever Nick Martinez induced Chris Carter to ground out to end the threat; he, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria held Houston scoreless for three more innings, giving the Rangers their third shutout in five games since Odor's arrival.
The most memorable of those, of course, was Darvish's bid for a no-hitter on Friday night against the Red Sox. In the seventh inning of that one, Odor and Alex Rios combined to misplay a David Ortiz fly ball that landed between the two of them in right-centerfield. The official scorer at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington dished up some home cooking by charitably ruling it an error on Rios so as to keep the no-hitter intact, but it became a moot point when Ortiz scorched a grounder past a shifted Elvis Andrus and Odor with two outs in the ninth inning.[mlbvideo id="32753731" width="600" height="336" /]