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Rangers Blast From the Past: Ramon Vasquez’s redemption four-hit, three-error game vs Seattle

Rangers Blast From the Past: Ramon Vasquez’s redemption four-hit, three-error game vs Seattle

In the early stages of April, I checked out a Rangers’ game from 2008 (that I revisited Saturday). The day was July 29, 2008. It’s a game that had some baseball history significance to it in the early stages. In the first, Ichiro picked up his 3,000th professional hit between the United States and Japan. I recall fans created controversy whether or not the hits in Japan should carry over once Ichiro made his Major League debut in 2001. Once Ichiro retired, Suzuki wound up with 3,089 during his time in Major League Baseball.

To claim it was a seesaw game emotionally would be an understatement. First, Rangers superstar Michael Young suffered an injury to his ring finger that raised the question whether Ron Washington would place him in the lineup. Young picked up a walk and scored a run in the third, but ended the night 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and a groundout. The Rangers’ offense on this Tuesday night had a few holes, especially at the top of the lineup. Texas’ offense greeted Carlos Silva rudely in his two-plus innings of work, and the Rangers capped seven runs in the first three innings. Marlon Byrd drove in four runs in that span set up by the combination of Milton Bradley and Josh Hamilton ahead of him in the lineup.

The Rangers hoped their starter Luis Mendoza could build upon his last successful home start against the White Sox. For the first three innings, there was promise. After Seattle started the first with two straight hits, Mendoza retired ten of the next eleven Mariners (only an error by Ramon Vasquez broke that string). In the fourth, Seattle strung five consecutive hits off Mendoza accumulating three runs. Mendoza ended the night going five-plus innings allowing six runs and five earned.

The Rangers’ lead seemed insurmountable to Seattle’s struggling offense with leads of 7-0 and 9-3, but the Rangers defense was another story. The club committed five errors on the night, including three from Ramon Vasquez. The other two miscues came from Mendoza in the fifth and Ian Kinsler in the sixth advancing Jamie Burke to cut the Rangers lead to 9-6. Things got interesting in the seventh when the M’s went back-to-back on Jamey Wright, who had only allowed two homers all season up to that point. A hot-hitting Jose Lopez combined with Bryan LaHair trimmed the Texas lead to a single run heading into the ninth.  

The overall ninth inning was odd, ugly, and exciting (in that exact order). After the inning started with a single, CJ Wilson hit Kenji Johjima with a two-strike pitch. Johjima exited with an injury and was replaced by Jarrod Washburn, who needed Jim Riggleman’s belt to run at first. After a sacrifice bunt, Burke hit an 0-2 grounder to Vasquez, but a wild throw gave the Mariners a 10-9 lead (the third Vasquez error). In the bottom of the inning, both Byrd and Chris Davis reached which gave Ramon Vasquez a chance at redemption (hard to say when a guy came into this at-bat three for four with two-RBIs). On a 2-2 pitch from JJ Putz, Vasquez scorched a ball to right-center field walking off Seattle to keep Texas into playoff shouting distance.

Some notes in this game:

  • Ramon Vasquez went 45 games committing a total of three errors and finished the 2008 season with thirteen errors in 732 innings.
  • The club picked up eighteen hits, but twelve of those came from the last four in the lineup (Byrd, Davis, Laird, and Vasquez).
  • July 29 was the same day that the Braves traded Mark Teixeria to the Angels for Casey Kotchman.
  • It was the second time in 2008 where Ramon Vasquez hit a walk-off against his former team, the Mariners. (May 12 where the Rangers won 13-12).
  • There was a LOT of Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve moments in this broadcast. The Josh Lewin Starbucks comment got a shout from Josh himself (who works currently with WEEI Red Sox  broadcasts).

  • University of Arlington alum and LD Bell High School Alum Ryan Roberts made his Texas Rangers debut in the eighth inning. He struck out, and it was the only at-bat he had in his Texas Rangers career. 
  • This game started a string where the Rangers walked off three times in six days (August 1 vs. Toronto and August 5 against the Yankees).
  • The Rangers’ win coupled with the Red Sox loss put Texas 5.5 games back for a wild card spot (This was a big deal back then).

    Current Wild Card standings before the game.

If you want to witness the full game, you can watch it on YouTube here.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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