ARLINGTON -- These are the games that have to make Rangers general manager Jon Daniels see nothing but sunshine, even on a stormy day. The pitcher he traded for -- in a deal he was crushed for on sports-talk radio -- shut down the team that drafted him. The lineup he has constructed with home-grown talent, bargain free agents and Trade Deadline deals broke out of a clutch-hitting slump to produce 10 runs and 13 hits, seven of which came in the fourth inning.More
The Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox, 9-6, on Saturday night, surviving four rain delays in one of the more bizarre nights in the history of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers finally closed things out just after midnight CT. In all, the combined rain delays totaled 2 hours, 27 minutes The official time of the game was 2 hours, 37 minutes. The Rangers did most of their work before the longest of the delays -- an hour and 10 minutes -- behind the pitching of Brandon McCarthy, who came here from the White Sox on Dec. 23, 2006, for John Danks. And an offensive onslaught led by leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler and Hank Blalock, among others. It's a particularly good feeling with the Rangers having a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN against the White Sox on tap. "That was a long one," third baseman Michael Young said. "It's good to get out of there with a win. When the game got tough with the rain delays, we had some relievers who had never been in that situation before." The Rangers were able to survive some shaky work from the bullpen because of the brilliance of McCarthy, who commanded the strike zone, throwing 45 of his 68 pitches for strikes. He was unfazed by pitching against his former team. "It's a little bit weird," McCarthy said. "We're three years removed from it, but it was interesting to face them." The Rangers, who have become too familiar with one- or two-run games -- 10 of their last 12 of have been decided by that margin -- finally had a game more suitable to what you'd expect when they getting pitching like they did from McCarthy, even though the bullpen coughed up some of the lead late. Early on, the Rangers continued their struggles with runners in scoring position -- they were 0-for-21 after Michael Young's strikeout with runners at second and third in the third. But Hank Blalock picked Young up, belting a three-run home run to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead. "It was a situation that we wanted to go out there and score as many runs as we can," Blalock said. The Rangers added six in the third. David Murphy, one of the players acquired by Daniels at the Trade Deadline in 2007, continued his way out of slump with a double. After Nelson Cruz doubled, Chris Davis, out of the Rangers' system, scored Cruz with a double. Kinsler, Vizquel, Blalock and Marlon Byrd all had RBI hits in the inning as the Rangers built a 9-1 lead. Play was halted at that point for 22 minutes before McCarthy came back out and retired the White Sox in order, getting two ground outs and liner back to the mound. That took five minutes, and then another rain delay, the longest of the night. McCarthy tightened up and didn't get to pitch more than five innings, but he still did enough to catch the White Sox attention, allowing three hits in five innings. He had three strikeouts and no walks. He retired the last 12 batters he faced. "I wish he could have gone out there for more," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He was down in the zone and had command." "I think I finally settled in and attacked the zone," McCarthy said. "I just let the ball go. I was just pitching for contact and attacking the zone." Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski did make things interesting after the third delay, belting a grand slam to right field in the sixth to make it 9-5. Rangers reliever Luis Mendoza helped out the White Sox in the inning, walking and hitting a batter with an eight-run lead. But the Rangers did get solid work out of the 'pen from Darren O'Day, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, and closer Frankie Francisco, who pitched the ninth to give him 11 straight scoreless appearance to start the season, something three other Rangers have done -- Darold Knowles (1977), Goose Gossage (1991) and Tom Henke (1993). It made a winner of McCarthy, who went to 3-0. He was long gone from the mound by the time Francisco struck out Josh Fields, but this was still McCarthy's night, with Danks starting Sunday for the White Sox. The trade is distant, his old team is, too, and McCarthy says he doesn't care about the comparisons to Danks, but he knows there is a scoreboard out there. "I hope in the long run, the deal works out better for us," McCarthy said. "It's all on me."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less