ARLINGTON, Texas — With how things have gone lately, the Texas Rangers needed a good character win, and that's exactly what they got on Wednesday afternoon.
The Rangers defeated the San Francisco Giants by a score of 4-3, with Brock Holt delivering walk-off single in the 11th inning. It was the ninth time the Rangers have gone to extra innings this season, and despite having an overall record of 24-39, Texas is 7-2 in games that go more than nine frames.
Just a few days after publicly delivering a stern message to his hitters, manager Chris Woodward was very satisfied with the mettle his team displayed.
"It was a good team win," Woodward said. "I told the team after. I know we punched out a little bit, but just the at-bats [were better]."
Despite any quality of at-bat or yet another solid performance from starter Kyle Gibson, the Rangers didn't manage to get their first hit of the ballgame until the sixth inning when Eli White led off the frame with a double. Texas trailed 2-0 at the time, but began to claw back into the game, manufacturing a run via an RBI groundout by Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
With their backs against the wall, trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Kiner-Falefa led off with a single, stole second base, then advanced to third base on a Brock Holt flyout. Adolis García tied the game with a bloop single, forcing extra innings.
The Giants put the pressure back on the Rangers, manufacturing a run in the top of the 10th inning, driving in the extra innings "ghost runner" on a double play.
But the Rangers answered in their half of the frame after a Nick Solak flyout moved their ghost runner to third base. Jason Martin then had one of the more crucial at-bats of the game, working a 10-pitch walk that brought Nate Lowe to the plate with a chance to tie the game once again. Lowe came through with a sacrifice fly, forcing the two teams to dance off again in the 11th inning.
Brett Martin, who pitched the 10th inning as well, kept the Giants off the board in the 11th with solid pitching and heads up defense that caught the Giants ghost runner in a rundown, cutting down San Francisco's chance to take the lead again.
"I can't say enough about the pitching staff," Woodward said. "Brett Martin has been in that situation I don't know how many times this year. A couple of times were just unlucky. ... Brett's been unbelievable in that spot. You talk about pressure. And then he goes back out and does it again."
While it looked like the Rangers were going to go down quietly in their half of the 11th after two quick unproductive outs, the Giants opted to intentionally walk Isiah Kiner-Falefa and pitch to Brock Holt.
Obviously, Holt made them pay with his walk-off single.
"I think anyone is motivated in that situation," Holt said. "I figured it would happen. I was kind of prepared for it once we had two outs and Kiner coming up to face the lefty. It feels good to win a game regardless of how it happens. I'm just happy we got this one. We've got a happy flight to L.A."
The Rangers now prepare to head back out on the road, which has been very unkind to them for quite a while. Texas carries a 15-game road losing streak with them to Los Angeles for three games with the Dodgers, then two more games in Houston against their rival Astros.
Wednesday's win, specifically with how it was won, could help spark some momentum before heading west.
"It helps. There's no question," Woodward said. "Any momentum helps."
More on SI's Inside The Rangers:
- Texas Bullpen Falters As Crawford, Giants Clobber Rangers 9-4
- With Eyes On Future, Rangers Designate Khris Davis For Assignment
- Rangers Mailbag: Is There Light At The End Of The Tunnel?
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