If Rangers fans rewind the clock to the middle of the 2000s, a couple of names stand out (mostly offensive players). However, if I were to ask you to name a pitcher in the latter end of the decade, Vicente Padilla is a name fans remember. In a mid-August game at the ballpark, Padilla delivered one of his better starts as a Ranger. Ladies and gentleman, I present you, August 15, 2007.
On this Wednesday night in August, Padilla returned to the Rangers after suffering triceps tendinitis, which kept him out of the Rangers’ rotation for two months. Vicente returned and delivered one of his best starts of the season. The Rangers placed Padilla on a pitch count of eighty pitches (precisely what he ended the night with) and struck out eight Royals (his season-high). Overall, Padilla pitched five innings, allowed four hits, one run, but none earned and did not walk a batter.
The lone run scored off Padilla was one of the wackier plays I have seen. In the third inning, the Royals’ David DeJesus singled to right where right fielder Nelson Cruz threw it to the infield. It looked like a routine single, placing runners on the corners. However, DeJesus bluffed a move to second, causing him to get into a rundown. Since first baseman Jarrod Saltamacchia chased DeJesus to second once Salty threw it to Kinsler, Ian chased him back, leaving no one covering first base. Afterward, the baserunner on third, Tony Pena Jr, started breaking to home plate where Kinsler threw to Gerald Laird. Laird tagged Pena, but Laird’s throw to Marlon Byrd covering second was offline, causing Byrd to retrieve it in deep center field and allowed David DeJesus to score.
During a Kevin Millwood interview the #Royals take a 1-0 lead on your typical 9-6-3-4-5-2 followed by an E2 on Gerald Laird. Cue the Benny Hill theme. #Rangers pic.twitter.com/eLJovwNurF
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) May 31, 2020
After that chaos, it was a quiet pitching duel between Padilla and Gil Meche. However, in the sixth, Michael Young did what Michael Young does. Young delivered a two-run double thanks to a Byrd hustle error by Pena, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Texas extended the lead in the seventh on a botched throw over by Royals’ reliever Jimmy Gobble and an Ian Kinsler home run. CJ Wilson came to finish the ninth, but the pesky Royals (who still earn that nickname) scratched two runs off CJ. John Buck smashed a double on a hop that nearly took Young’s head off at shortstop and speedy Joey Gathright beat out an infield single. The night finished on a quick 5-4-3 double play, and the Rangers celebrated their fifty-third win of the 2007 season in their old school white uniforms.
A clutch double play finishes the night out. Kansas City rallied for two but not enough. 4-3 #Rangers victory. pic.twitter.com/7tiryXq2ZA
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) May 31, 2020
- Vincente Padilla had six rehab starts in AA Frisco before this start and pitched awful. In those starts, he pitched twelve innings, allowed fourteen hits, and had an ERA of 8.25. Vicente broke a string of ten or more hits allowed in three straight MLB starts.
- Michael Young’s go-ahead double in the sixth continued a ten-game hitting streak (third longest in the American League at the time). Young snapped that streak the next day as he went 0 for 4.
- John Buck’s double in the ninth broke a string of thirteen straight hitless outings for CJ Wilson that lasted from July 17th to August 15th.
- The Rangers beat the Royals by one run; this game came in the middle of a five-game span where if the Rangers beat the Royals, it was by two or fewer runs.
- Royals’ starter Gil Meche started a new trend in Arlington. Before this game, Meche allowed thirty runs in thirty-one innings at Globe Life Park. Beginning with this start, Meche ended his career, allowing five runs in twenty innings.
- Sammy Sosa pinch hit for Frank Catalanotto in the seventh inning. 2007 was the last season of baseball for Sammy Sosa.
- If you watched this game, you witnessed one of Tony Pena Jr’s twenty walks in his career. Pena had 870 plate appearances in his career and walked only twenty times (2.3%).
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