Things started out rocky for Cashner. His two biggest nemeses this season, left handed hitters and the 3-5 batters of opposing lineups, merged and bit him early as the left hand hitting #3 hitter Fielder hammered a 2-run home run to put the Rangers on top 2-0. The lefty factor struck again in the 3rd inning as Choo drove in another run to put the Friars down 3-0.
The Fathers fought back, though, thanks in large part to the red hot Matt Kemp. With two runners on and 2 outs in the Friar half of the 3rd he crushed a double into the left center gap to score both runners and get the Pads to within one. Then in the 5th he struck yet again. In another 2-out situation, this time with Wallace on base who had pinch hit for Alonso who felt tightness in the lower back, Matt got an inside fastball that he liked and drove it over the wall in center to put the Pads on top 4-3. It was his 17th HR of the season, and puts him one shy of 200 long balls for his career.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as Texas answered right back with a run in the sixth to tie it up 4-4.
Then things got weird. Rzepczynski retired the first two batters of the 7th. Fielder then singled prompting Murphy to bring in Kelley to face the right hand hitting Beltre who also singled. A wild pitch that appeared to be a cross up between Norris and Kelley advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd, which then lead to an intentional walk to the lefty Odor to load the bases for the righty-righty match up with Andrus. A fastball left out over the plate was lined into right field which scored the first run easily but there was a play at the plate on a good throw by Kemp. Beltre slid into the forearm of Norris as he applied the tag which knocked the ball out of his mitt and injured his left arm forcing him to leave the game. Three runs scored on the play and Norris headed to the trainers room with a hyperextended shoulder and elbow.
Hedges came in to replace Norris and as he caught a warm up pitch from Kelley the righty winced in pain as he threw the ball and immediately walked off the mound towards the dugout. Just like that the Pads battery were both in the trainers room with injuries. It was Kelley’s elbow that he felt get strained. He’s had two TJ surgeries already, but said this felt more muscular so the doctors will take a closer look tomorrow.
Quackenbush came in to relieve for Kelley and Andrus took advantage of a quirk in Quack’s stretch delivery. As Quack gets his sign and comes set he very slowly brings his hands down to the set position and looks down at the ground as he does so. Andrus timed it perfectly an broke for home as Quack was looking down and by the time he realized Andrus had taken off it was too late. He had made a clean steal of home plate to make it 8-4 before the frame mercifully came to an end.
The Friars tried to make a comeback in the 9th. Gyorko’s RBI-1B and Hedges sac-fly made things interesting by getting the Pads to within two 8-6, but that was as close as they would get with Tolleson recording the final out for the Rangers victory.
Ok, so September did not get off to such a good start tonight, but the Pads can still win the series. The rubber match tomorrow will be in the hands of Ian Kennedy. He’ll send the first pitch of the game towards home plate at 7:10, and Uncle Teddy and I will be excited as always to have you join us for all the action on the Mighty 1090.