ARLINGTON, Texas -- For a season short on Texas Rangers heroes, Sunday's walk-off win sure produced a lot of them.
Atop the list is Adam Rosales, whose ninth-inning, walk-off single to left field beat the Los Angeles 3-2 at Globe Life Park. The win snapped a four-game losing streak and salvaged a 2-5 homestand.
It was the Rangers' sixth walk-off win in 2014, and second in four days. The first four all came in April. Rosales drew a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk in the 14th inning to beat Tampa Bay on Thursday. He'll keep playing the hero role, if necessary.
"I had one in college and that's it, but I think I'm more of a table setter," he said. "It's a thrill for sure to help a ball club win in the clutch and that's what helped me today."
On Sunday, Rosales' game-winner was preceded by Mike Carp's game-tying single to center, which scored Alex Rios.
Rios and Adrian Beltre started the ninth with singles through the left side against closer Huston Street, who had converted nine consecutive save opportunities and thrown 12 scoreless innings since being traded to the Angels from the Padres in July. Carp, who entered the game as a pinch hitter for J.P. Arencibia in the seventh, sent the first pitch he saw from Street to shallow center field to score Rios from second. Beltre moved to third on the play and scored easily when Rosales' fly ball sailed over Angels' left fielder Collin Cowgill, who was playing shallow.
For the second time in four days, Rosales was mobbed near first base by teammates, who playfully ripped at his jersey in celebration.
"Honestly, I didn't know what to do," Carp said. "I went and touched second and turned right back around and by that time everyone was already ripping his jersey off and throwing water bottles at him. It's good fun, especially the way things have been going for the team lately ... to have games like this, it helps boost confidence and keeps us going this month and a half."
Confidence should be sky high for the other heroes of the day, the Rangers pitching staff.
Starter Nick Tepesch had his fourth consecutive solid start and left game after walking the lead-off batter in the eighth. He allowed two runs on six hits and four walks in seven innings. Tepesch was able to limit the damage after four straight singles to start the second as the Angels took a 2-0 lead. In the fourth, he walked Efren Navarro to start the inning but stranded him at third by starting an inning-ending double play by snaring a comebacker and doubling up Cowgill at first.
"That second inning it really could have gotten ugly," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "In the past it may have. But that's the new Nick Tepesch. He was able to slow it down. He was executing pitches all day. He didn't let traffic bother him. He kept us in the ball game and gave us a chance."
Shawn Tolleson, after replacing Tepesch in the eighth with a runner on and no outs, quickly had the bases loaded after a double from Albert Pujols and an intentional walk. In fact, Pujols' double could have perhaps scored Mike Trout, who was on first. But Trout slid into second thanks to a nice decoy double-play move by Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor while Pujols' ball was banging against the left-field wall. The decoy kept Trout at third instead of giving the Angels a 3-1 lead with no outs.
Tolleson struck out Erick Aybar and David Freese and left-hander Neal Cotts came in to face left-hitting Navarro and struck him out to escape the jam.
"That was huge right there," said Washington, who told Tolleson "I don't know if you've got a heartbeat, but mine is about to jump out of my chest. That's one heck of a job you just did right there," when he made the switch for Cotts. "That's what you go out there for, to give yourself an opportunity. We were able to get the big hit at the right time. All day we were getting runners on the bag we just couldn't make anything happen. We just kept grinding."
The Rangers had been held to four hits before collecting four consecutive singles off Street in the ninth.
"We never gave up," catcher Geovany Soto said. "The pitching kept us in there. We were in a tough spot right there 1/8in the eighth3/8 and 1/8Tolleson and Cotts3/8 bailed us out."
Said Rosales: "Every at-bat my heart is pumping and that's what I try to remind myself, it's just another at-bat. I really didn't care if it dropped. I saw him give up on it, I knew that it would get the run in. Once I saw the ball drop, you get that release of joy and that happy feeling."
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