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Game 25: Rangers 5, Indians 2


This game turned on two plays that were not made: Carlos Santana not getting a runner in from third with one out, and Asdrubal Cabrera not turning a double play.

Derek Lowe did a fantastic job keeping the Indians in the game. He allowed two runs in six innings, the first run coming despite the ball never leaving the infield. In the second, Mike Napoli hit a ball up the middle that Lowe deflected, and the Texas catcher reached on an infield single. Two more dribblers pushed Napoli to third, and he scored on a swinging bunt. The second run allowed was more conventional (a Mitch Moreland double), though Lowe had to work hard (and get some bad baserunning) to ensure that the Rangers would only score one that inning.

The Indians meanwhile were stymied by Ohio native Derek Holland. Most of the time, Indians hitters hit weak grounders or pop ups, and when they did hit the ball hard, someone made an outstanding defensive play. Finally, in the eighth inning, some hard-hit balls actually weren't caught, and the Indians had an actually rally going. With runners on first and third, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a smash double past Michael Young, getting the Indians on the board and with runners and second and third. The Indians were now facing Mike Adams, and he would strike out Carlos Santana, but not before a passed ball allowed the tying run to score. But as said above, Santana was not able to make contact, and Travis Hafner hit a broken-bat grounder to end the threat.

The game went into extra innings, with both bullpens pitching very well. Joe Smith started his second inning in the eleventh, walking lead off batter Chris Gentry, but then got what looked like a sure double play grounder off the bat of Nelson Cruz. But Asdrubal Cabrera dropped the ball in the transfer, and the Indians only recorded one out. That would go back to haunt the Indians. After retiring Mike Napoli, the Indians elected to walk the left-hander Moreland to face either the right-hander Alberto Gonzalez or Adrian Beltre. Beltre had been sitting out the first two games of the series, unable to play the field because of a hamstring injury, so if he would pinch-hit, the Rangers would have put in a defensive replacement in the bottom of the inning. But I don't think that had much to do with Acta's decision, as the Rangers had third covered; it was the right-left matchup that Acta was thinking of:

"It was my decision," Acta said. "We all know that Smitty is a lot better against right-handed hitters. If you bring Tony Sipp in [to face Moreland], then Beltre is going to hit off Sipp. I didn't want that matchup."

Smith had also had a good history against Beltre, not allowing a hit five plate appearances. But he left a pitch up, and Beltre crushed it, hitting in through the wind and over the center field fence, giving the Rangers the winning runs.

Source: FanGraphs