2010 became one of the iconic years in Texas Rangers franchise history. It was the building block for two straight American League pennants and brought fans back to the baseball culture in North Texas. April was a strange month for the club that didn’t exactly hint at what the rest of the season would hold. The Rangers finished the month with a losing record with record bobbing around .500. Texas hadn’t had a primary closer in the bag yet, and the club continued searching for its identity. There was one constant: Colby Lewis’ 2010 domination.
April 30, 2010 #Rangers lineup against Cliff Lee and the #Mariners. Who remembers Ryan Garko’s Rangers days? pic.twitter.com/RMIicYTLgz
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) May 23, 2020
The Rangers’ April was a roller coaster. The club started 5-3 and then suffered a six-game losing streak to the Indians, Yankees, and Red Sox. After that, the Rangers picked the slack up with another 5-3 stretch and a chance to gain momentum heading out to Seattle for a pivotal series against the Mariners. The atmosphere felt like a Mariners’ home opener. Seattle made a blockbuster deal in the offseason with the Philadelphia Phillies to obtain Cliff Lee, and Lee made his first start for Seattle this Friday night. Lewis and Lee went pitch for pitch. Colby ended the night going nine full innings while Lee went seven due to a limited pitch count. Both starters combined to allow six hits, one walk and struck out eighteen hitters in a display of masterful pitching.
Seattle’s chances came early when the Mariners squandered a runner at second in the first and second inning. Texas’ first baserunner came in the fourth on a Michael Young single. Offenses became stifled until the tenth when the Mariners had second and third with no outs. Following the opportunity, Kotchman popped out, and Mike Sweeney grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end any threat for Seattle, we moved forward still 0-0.
Now I remember this drama. To the 11th this game goes.
This inning featured Ken Griffey Jr, @byrnes22, @Sweendog9, and Darren Oliver. Not sure if this was 2010 or 2000? #Rangers #Mariners pic.twitter.com/zq6nyjDAIT
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) May 23, 2020
The eleventh inning is where craziness occurred. Seattle loaded the bases with one out, and Eric Byrnes came to bat (pinch-ran for Griffey Jr in the tenth). From my perspective, Seattle wanted the suicide squeeze to score Ichiro from third to win the ballgame. However, Byrnes laid the bunt down and pulled the bat back where Matt Treanor made a ridiculous recovery to tag Ichiro and continue the game (I think Byrnes thought it was a safety squeeze). Ron Washington later got ejected because he thought Byrnes offered at the pitch, which even though it made no sense, Byrnes pulled the bat in time. Byrnes later struck out, and the game stepped on to the twelfth inning.
Game remains scoreless after 11. A botched suicide squeeze called a ball followed by a Ron Washington ejection.
By the way, Jim Wolf got the call right. Byrnes pulled the bat back on the bunt attempt. #Rangers #Mariners pic.twitter.com/9rOnXC4hsU
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) May 23, 2020
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Rangers scored a run. Elvis led off the twelfth with a cue shot single over the pitchers’ mound followed by a Michael Young chopper off home plate. Thanks to a Matt Tuiasosopo error, both runners moved up. As Josh Hamilton was standing at the plate, Brandon League chunked a breaking ball in the dirt past Adam Moore, allowing Elvis to score the first run. Next, Julio Bourbon drove in the second run with a grounder. Neftali Feliz recorded a 1-2-3 save in the bottom of the twelfth, and the Rangers celebrated an improbable extra-inning win against the familiar AL West foe. Of course we all know what happened in October 2010 when Colby Lewis started a game closed by Neftali Feliz.
Notes from the game:
- The extra-inning loss for Seattle began an eight-game losing streak that lasted until May 9.
- At the end of the night, all four AL West teams were within a half-game of each other. The Angels and Athletics were 12-12 while the Rangers and Mariners ended April with a record of 11-12.
- The Rangers had one man in scoring position through eleven innings. Matt Treanor reached second in the eighth inning with a walk and a wild pitch. Seattle had eight chances with runners in scoring position.
- Cliff Lee made his Mariners debut in this game due to an abdominal strain. The Mariners acquired Lee from the Phillies for J. C. Ramírez, Phillippe Aumont, and Tyson Gillies. Coincidentally, three months later, it’s the Rangers who received Cliff Lee from Seattle.
- Frank Francisco earned his third win of the season in relief. In the club’s 23 games, Francisco accumulated three wins and three losses while only earning one hold and one save in that span.
- Colby Lewis sent down the last eighteen Mariners he faced. The last baserunner that reached against Colby was Ichiro in the third inning. The bullpen allowed six baserunners in three innings of work while Colby allowed four baserunners in nine innings of work.
- The Rangers reinstated Ian Kinsler off the disabled list to make his first start of the season. However, the club placed Nelson Cruz on the DL as the corresponding move.
- Colby Lewis went nine innings but didn’t get credited with his first career MLB complete game because the game went into extra innings. Colby later earned that honor on June 19 at Houston. Lewis ended the night striking out ten, walking one, and allowing three hits on 116 pitches.
- In the bottom of the tenth, Ken Griffey Jr. singled, replaced by Eric Byrnes as a runner. Also, Mark Sweeney came and pinch-hit for Jack Wilson. All three of these guys had 10+ year careers that all ended in this same 2010 season.
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