Last Sunday, the Rangers trailed the Tigers 2-0 entering the eighth, and came out of it leading 7-2.
Tonight, they did it again, except it was a bigger deficit. They came into the eighth down 11-6, chipping away at Scott Carroll and Zach Duke before landing the knockout punch against Matt Albers. It took the form of a Ryan Rua three-run homer that capped off an improbable comeback against a bullpen that had been damn near untouchable.
The Sox might not have started the inning with Carroll under normal circumstances, but after using seven pitchers in a 12-inning game the night before, and seeing this one delayed by an hour and 18 minutes after the second inning (with a day game to follow), the Sox hoped to get by with the least.
It wasn't a bad idea, especially since Carroll retired the only batter he faced in the seventh to close out the inning. But he started by giving up a single and a double, and after walking Nomar Mazara to load the bases, Robin Ventura pulled him for Zach Duke, who gave up a single to Mitch Moreland, but struck out Rougned Odor for the first out.
In came Albers aiming to get two outs before giving up four runs. He traded a run for an out with Adrian Beltre's sac fly, but Ian Desmond scorched a line drive over Austin Jackson in right center field for a two-run triple, and Albers apparently pitched around Prince Fielder to face Rua. He got ahead 1-2, but he left a 90 mph sinker up, and Rua lined it out of the yard to center to give the Rangers their first lead since the second inning.
Up until that point, the Sox seemed to have endured the worst of it. Derek Holland lost his command after the delay, and gave up three straight run-scoring hits to give the Sox a 5-2 lead. But then Carlos Rodon, coming off an even longer delay thanks to the long top of the third, gave up a three-run homer to Bryan Holaday to even up the score.
The Sox then let Anthony Ranaudo give them an even bigger cushion in the fourth, as he walked five batters in the inning, including three with two outs, two of which scored runs. Those free passes gave the Sox a 7-5 lead, and when Alex Claudio came in from the bullpen to face Avisail Garcia, Garcia greeted the herky-jerky lefty with a bases-clearing double to left to make it a 10-5 game.
Rodon didn't spoil that lead. Although he allowed six runs (one more on a Desmond homer), he ended up settling down and giving the Sox 6⅔ innings. He departed with a four-run lead while the Rangers were on their third pitcher, so while it wasn't the start Sox fans wanted to see, it served a purpose for the events of the day.
Besides, Jimmy Rollins made up for that Desmond homer by tripling in the top of the eighth, then coming around to score to make it an 11-6 game. That seemed like enough, right?
*Rollins had a great night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with the triple, a walk and four runs scored.
*Todd Frazier drove in three more runs to give him nine over two games.
*The Sox are now 4-1 against the Rangers, which would ordinarily be a great thing.
Record: 23-11 | Box score | Highlights