On this date in Texas Rangers history, Rangers reliever Jeff Russell did double duty for the second time in his career.
The contest, played on April 26, 1992, was actually two contests. The Rangers played a doubleheader with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, part one of a four-city road trip that saw the Rangers play in New York, Chicago, and Baltimore before turning home to Texas.
The Rangers won the first game, 3-1, by scoring three runs in the first three innings. Outfielder Juan González was one of three Rangers with two hits. He also homered and drove in a run.
Bobby Witt drew the start for the Rangers and he threw seven solid innings, scattering seven hits and a run while striking out four Red Sox hitters. Kenny Rogers — not yet a Rangers starter — threw the next 1 2/3 innings, giving up three hits but no runs. He then yielded to Russell, who closed out the game, recording the final out to claim his fourth save of the season. Also of note was that Boston’s reliever in that game was former Rangers starter Danny Darwin, who threw four innings of scoreless relief.
Game two was a bit more tricky. The Red Sox assumed a 2-0 lead after three innings, and the Rangers needed two runs in the eighth inning and two runs in the ninth inning to put Russell in position to save the game. Brian Downing hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to tie the game for the Rangers. John Cangelosi and Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez drove in the runs in the ninth inning.
Russell came in to pitch the ninth inning, with the Rangers up, 4-2. He gave up two hits, but finished off the save without giving up a run.
Russell first accomplished the feat on June 14, 1989. That season, Russell save a league-high 38 games, earned his second All-Star Game berth and was named the American League’s TSN Fireman of the Year.
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In 1992, Russell was on his way to his fourth season of 30 or more saves, and he got there. But those last two saves came with Oakland, as Russell was part of the package that brought Jose Canseco to Texas.
Also on this date …
April 26, 1995: The Rangers played in their latest Opening Day in team history to that point, a result of a late resolution of the MLB lockout that forced a delay to the 1995 season. The game, a single road game against the New York Yankees, saw the Rangers lose, 8-6, with Rangers starter Kenny Rogers taking the loss, while New York’s Jimmy Key took the win.
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