Down 3-0 to the Blue Jays early on Opening Day, the Rangers tied the score on a three-run homer in the seventh by Nelson Cruz. Toronto took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but the Rangers rallied for two runs, with the game-winner coming courtesy of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who singled home David Murphy with the bases loaded.
2 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
July 9, 2010
In one of the biggest trades in franchise history, the Rangers acquired superstar pitcher Cliff Lee from the Mariners in exchange for highly-touted first base prospect Justin Smoak, among others. The lefty ace had a tumultuous season in Arlington -- going just 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA -- but would showcase his brilliance in the postseason. Lee was just one of a few key mid-season pickups for the Rangers, as they also obtained catcher Bengie Molina, infielder Jorge Cantu and outfielder Jeff Francouer to help remake their roster.
3 of 10AP
July 16, 2010
Not known as a speedy runner by any means, Bengie Molina did the unthinkable in a July contest at Fenway Park when he completed his cycle with a leadoff triple in the top of the eighth. He'd already racked up a single in the second, a double in the fourth and a grand slam in the fifth when he stepped to the plate against Red Sox pitcher Ramon Ramirez. He drove a fly ball just over the head of center fielder Eric Patterson, and the ball careened off the wall allowing the beefy Molina to rumble to third. Texas coasted to an 8-4 victory, and play was marked as one of the many "Antler" plays for the team during the course of the 2010 season.
4 of 10AP
August 4, 2010
After a series of lengthy negotiations, the Rangers Baseball Express -- comprised of team president (and former pitching icon) Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg -- seemed destined to lose their prolonged attempt to buy the Rangers after the tandem of Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban and Jim Crane entered the bidding for the franchise. The auction for the team extended deep into the night, with the Ryan/Greenberg group coming out on top with a $385 million cash offer.
5 of 10AP
August 4, 2010
While Ryan was reversing the Rangers' fortunes off the field, third baseman Michael Young was helping to change their losing culture on it. Clinging to a slim 7-6 lead over the Seattle Mariners in the top of the seventh, he smashed a towering grand slam to break the game open. A model of consistency during his 10-year Texas career, Young made his first playoff appearance this October.
6 of 10AP, Jim Cowsert/Icon SMI
August 13, 2010
In a slugfest where the Red Sox posted seven runs in the top of the fourth inning, a Vladimir Guerrero infield single proved to be momentum-changing hit that propelled Texas to an eventual 10-9 win. Josh Hamilton was on second base with two outs when Vlad slapped a slow roller up the middle, which was fielded by Jed Lowrie and promptly tossed over to first. Vlad was barreling down the first base line and plunged head first into the bag, barely beating the throw to keep the rally alive. Hamilton sprinted around third and just escaped catcher Victor Martinez's tag to tie the game at nine. Two innings later, Nelson Cruz won the game with a walk-off home run. Both Hamilton and Guerrero came up big for the Rangers all year, with Hamilton garnering MVP and Guerrero earning an All-Star nod.
7 of 10AP
September 10, 2010
Lauded for their resiliency throughout the entire 2010 season, the Rangers most thrilling comeback win may have come on Sept. 10 against the defending world champion Yankees. Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth, Nelson Cruz drilled a solo home run to send the game into extra innings. In the 13th Cruz struck again, smoking Chad Gaudin's first pitch into the right-field bleachers to seal a 6-5 victory. Cruz showed his teammates the claw, symbolizing a key hit, before jumping into a mob of Rangers at home plate. It'd be a sign of things to come, as Cruz would hit three more homers during Texas' six-game romp of New York in the ALCS.
8 of 10AP
September 25, 2010
A phenom for the upstart Rangers, Neftali Feliz clinched a monumental win for both himself and his team. The 4-3 win in Oakland wrapped up the AL West for the Rangers and was Feliz's rookie-record-setting 38th save of the year.
9 of 10Gary Bogdon/SI
October 12, 2010
In their Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Rangers jumped out to a two-games-to-none lead by winning twice in Florida and seemed all but assured of winning their first playoff series in the franchise's disappointing history. They quickly dropped the next two at home, though, setting the stage for a Cliff Lee-David Price rematch in Tampa Bay in Game 5. Lee hurled another gem, allowing jut one earned run in nine brilliant innings in Texas' 5-1 triumph. He fanned 13, giving him an ALDS record-tying 21 strikeouts for the series.
10 of 10Chuck Solomon/SI
October 19, 2010
In what may be remembered as the pivotal moment of the 2010 ALCS, Bengie Molina trotted to the plate in the sixth inning of Game 4 against New York's A.J. Burnett after a controversial intentional walk to David Murphy. Molina lined the first pitch he saw into the left field seats, silencing Yankee Stadium and giving the Rangers a 5-3 lead. They added five more over the next three innings to cruise to a 10-3 victory and a 3-1 series lead. In Game 6, the Rangers won comfortably again to reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
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