ARLINGTON -- The Rangers blew a seven-run lead, their pitchers gave up 10 runs on 15 hits, their closer blew a save and their defense committed five errors. And yet, they still won. When in doubt, trust in offense, even if it's the bottom of the order. The bottom half of the Rangers' batting order delivered late Tuesday night, as Ramon Vazquez, their No. 9 hitter, delivered a two-run double with one out in the ninth inning to give the Rangers an 11-10 victory over the Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Singles by Marlin Byrd and Chris Davis off of Mariners reliever J.J. Putz started the rally, after Rangers closer C.J. Wilson, trying to protect a 9-8 lead, gave up two runs in the top of the ninth. Vazquez let the go-ahead run score on a wild throw, his third error of the game. "I'm definitely relieved," Vazquez said. "I wanted to be in situations like that. I was happy to be in a position to win the game. I'd rather be 0-for-4 with no errors than to go out and make the errors I made tonight." After the singles by Byrd and Davis, Gerald Laird tried to move the runners up with a bunt, and instead, Putz was able to get the force at third. But that didn't stop the Rangers. Vazquez followed with a double into the right-center-field gap to bring home both runners. "Oh my gosh," Byrd said. "This team has been doing it all year long. We would have loved to have shut it down in the ninth, but to come back like that and get the win, it's a high you try to roll on for awhile." Laird was greeted by a mob at home plate after scoring the winning run, and then the entire team dashed out toward the vicinity of second base to swarm Vazquez. "That was good," shortstop Michael Young said. "Obviously, we didn't play our sharpest game, but a win is all that matters. We fought to the end, and Seattle did, too. Fortunately, we were the home team and had the last at-bat. We definitely have some things to clean up, but I'll take an ugly win every day of the week." The Rangers had a 7-0 lead at one point, before the Mariners rallied and finally took the lead in the ninth. This marks the second time Vazquez has broke the Mariners' hearts. He had a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 13-12 victory over the Mariners in Arlington on May 12. "We stuck in there," manager Ron Washington said. "We didn't let our heads get down. We went in there in the ninth and put some pretty good swings together against a pretty good closer. Thank God that was the last inning." Vazquez committed three errors, but he also went 4-for-5 with four RBIs. Byrd, batting sixth in the order, went 3-for-4, with a run-scoring double and a three-run home run that helped the Rangers take a 7-0 lead. "The Mariners are a Major League team, but they haven't been playing well lately, and we have," Byrd said. "When you jump on a team like that, you have to kick them when they're down. We kept mashing and they kept battling, but the resiliency of this team allowed us to come out on top." Byrd, Davis, Laird and Vazquez -- the bottom four hitters in the Rangers' lineup -- were a combined 12-for-18 on the night with six runs and nine RBI. The Rangers finished with 18 hits, including three each by Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley, who left the game with a strained left quadriceps muscle and is listed as day-to-day. The Rangers are now 13-2 when they have at least 15 hits in a game and they are 33-20 when they have at least 10 hits. But the real dividing line for the Rangers between victory and defeat is five runs. The Rangers are 33-13 when they score five or more runs in a game and they are 22-39 when they fall short of that. The Rangers lead the league in runs scored, and Tuesday was one of those nights when their offense covered up for everything else. Right to the end.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.