MIAMI -- The South Florida night was brutally hot. Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was soaked through sitting in front of his locker after the game. Starter C.J. Wilson went through one jersey after another.More
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"I've never sweated that much before in a game," Wilson said.Matt Treanor made it all worthwhile. So did Alexi Ogando. A tough 34-year-old career backup catcher facing his former team and a nervous rookie making his Major League debut made it a memorable night for all in the Rangers' dramatic 3-2 victory over the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. Treanor, pinch-hitting for Ogando, made it happen with a two-out, two-run triple off Marlins closer Leo Nunez in the top of the ninth. That erased Florida's 2-1 lead and made a winner out of Ogando, who had pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the eighth to keep it a one-run game. "It's unbelievable," Ogando said. "The first time ... I'm really happy." This was not the first time for Treanor. His first career RBI was a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the 11th. That was six years ago for the Marlins. This was against Florida, his first at-bat against his former team. This may have been the biggest hit of his career. If not, it was still a huge moment with his wife, Misty, and other family members at the game. "This was great because the team won," Treanor said. "You know if we give it up in the bottom of the ninth, it's just an RBI triple. But I saw guys coming off the field sweaty, muddy, dirty, giving it there all out there. I just happened to be in the right spot right there." Treanor, being a catcher, is not often asked to pinch-hit. This was only the 18th time in his career. He was 3-for-17 previously, and the 11th-inning run-scoring single from six years ago was his only RBI as a pinch-hitter. Until Tuesday night. "I had feelings coming here," Treanor said. "Anybody who is facing his former team always wants to show that he's a good player who deserves to be here." Marlins starter Josh Johnson, who had allowed just one run in his previous 35 innings coming into the game, allowed just one run on four singles through seven innings. Three straight two-out hits by Ian Kinsler, Vladimir Guerrero and Hamilton gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first. Wilson, despite allowing a career-high six walks, held the lead until the sixth. Then he walked one too many. He walked Gaby Sanchez with one out before Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run home run. Wilson left the game after six, down 2-1. "That was the only mistake he made," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "To go up against a guy like that and keep your team in the ballgame, that's a great job. That guy [Johnson] is an animal." Ogando pitched the eighth. The Rangers had fresh arms in the bullpen, but Washington decided to go with Ogando for the first time. "We were behind one run," Washington said. "I just felt like it was a good situation for him to come in." Ogando walked Sanchez and Ramirez singled. But he retired Jorge Cantu on a popup, then got Dan Uggla and Cody Ross to hit grounders to shortstop Elvis Andrus for a pair of force plays that ended the inning. "I was a little nervous the first time," Ogando said. "I'll be ready next time." Hamilton started the Rangers' ninth-inning rally with a single off Nunez, who had a 2.10 ERA and 13 saves coming into the game. Hamilton stole second but Justin Smoak popped out and David Murphy, batting for catcher Max Ramirez, grounded out to first. Hamilton went to third on the play and Julio Borbon worked a walk. That brought up the pitcher's spot. Washington had two choices. He could have gone with Andres Blanco, a switch-hitter. That would have given him a left-handed hitter against a right-handed pitcher. Going with Treanor meant righty vs. righty. "I thought Treanor was the best hitter I had," Washington said. "I wasn't worried about righty vs. righty. I was trying to get the best hitter in the box. For what I had left, he was the better hitter." Treanor only saw one pitch -- a first-pitch fastball at 94 mph. "That ball just came back over the plate," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He was trying to go away on him, and it just came back over the plate." Treanor smashed it to deep left-center, and Ross, the Marlins' center fielder, knew it was trouble. "He connected really well," Ross said. "Cody is a good center fielder," Treanor said. "I was hoping he wouldn't stride under it and make a catch. That would make me feel the opposite that I do now. But that's a big gap. I knew it wasn't going out, but I was hoping to get it over his head." It did. Two runs scored. Neftali Feliz closed it out in the ninth. The Rangers will remember this one.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less