San Francisco, CA - It's finally over, the Texas Rangers found their offense which was missing across the bridge last week against the Oakland Athletics. The Rangers regrouped for the 5-0 shutout victory over the Giants and ended the curse against them at AT&T Ball Park.
Texas lost the last nine regular-season games and two World Series games dating back to June 26, 1998 when Darren Oliver beat Orel Hershiser. Tonight the Rangers turned things around behind Matt Harrison who pitched his third career shutout.
"The only thing that mattered was tonight," Ron Washington said. "We're just trying to stay focused and win ball games. If you play good baseball, you can win anywhere. We played good baseball tonight."
Coming into the series, both teams were tied for the third highest winning percentage in the Majors this season with a .569 figure (33-25). The Giants own a 15-7 record against the Rangers in Interleague Play and have won 11 of the last 12 regular season games.
Ian Kinsler got it started with a leadoff home run in the first and that set the momentum for the game. Craig Gentry had an amazing night when he went 5-for-5 for and set a career-high with five hits. Texas offense got nine hits and four runs off Barry Zito through six innings.
Josh Hamilton who leads the league in home runs and added number 22 when he blasted a solo home run to center field in the fifth. Hamilton leads the Majors in home runs (22), RBI (58) and total bases (147). He was voted A.L. Player of the Week ending May 13 and voted A.L. Player of the Month of April.
San Francisco struggled on offense and were without their leading hitter, Melky Cabrera who is nursing a stiff right hamstring. Buster Posey got the day off and Pablo Sandoval is days away from returning to the lineup. Zito looked poised on the mound but some crucial errors were costly.
Barry was the only baserunner to reach second base and that lasted a split second. After forcing out Brandon Crawford on a botched sacrifice fly, he slid right past second on Gregor Blanco's grounder up the middle. Elvis Andrus caught Blanco's grounder behind the base and thew to second baseman Kinsler who tagged Zito out before he made it back to the base.
"That was a break right there," said Washington. "But I still feel if Zito didn't over slide, Harrison would have made the pitches he needed to make. He was locked in tonight."
"I had a little too much momentum," Barry said. "It wasn't my instinct to slide. I have to be more heads-up there. That was definitely a terrible situation for me, taking our team out of a possible [scoring] inning."
Ian kept Texas offense alive, his RBI single in the sixth put them up 4-0 and he completed his night in the ninth with another hit to secure their win. After closer Steve Edlefsen walked both Michael Young and Nelson Cruz back-to-back. Yorvit Torrealba hit a single to left field to load the bases. Kinsler's RBI single to right field was the final hit to secure the Rangers win.