Tuesday, October 18, 2005

NLDS Recap: Game 2

Despite high hopes, game two of the NABL playoff between the Pike Rangers and the California Terrapins ended with another Ranger defeat; this time 5-3. The Rangers’ woes began in the first inning. Starter Kip Wells walked lead off man Ryan Freel and followed that up with consecutive singles to Mark Kotsay and Albert Pujols. The single by Pujols drove in the first run of the game and put men at the corners with none out. Wells retired Adam Dunn on a strike out, but a single by John Mabry plated the Terrapins’ second run. Another Wells strikeout, this time of Mike Lowell took some of the pressure off, but Adam LaRoche singled for the third run of the inning. Wells then finished the inning by striking out Yadier Molina, but the damage was done and the Terrapins held a 3-0 lead.

Orlando Hernandez took the mound for the Terrapins, but immediately ran into trouble of his own. Leadoff man Jerry Hairston, Jr. drew a walk and B.J. Surhoff singled him to third. Ben Broussard fouled out to Molina, before Kenny Lofton grounded out to first scoring Hairston. The inning ended when Dave Dellucci popped out to short, leaving the Rangers down 3-1.

Both teams went down in order in the second, but the third inning saw more scoring. Pujols led off the Terrapins’ third with a homer to deep left making the score 4-1, but Wells settled down to retire the next seven in a row. In the Rangers’ half of the third, Hernandez gave up a leadoff double to Alex Gonzalez and following a Hairston strike out, Surhoff hit a flare to short center that was not deep enough to score Gonzalez, leaving runners on the corners with only one out. Broussard picked up the slack with a single, driving in Gonzalez and making the score 4-2. Lofton flew out to center field, before Hernandez walked Dellucci to load the bases. Kit Pellow drew a bases loaded walk as the Rangers pulled to within 4-3. A.J. Pierzynski’s line shot to short was caught and the Rangers’ rally stalled. From there Hernandez retired the next eight Rangers in order.

The scoring concluded in the seventh. Following a single and a walk given up by Wells, Chris Hammond entered the game. Hammond retired the first man he faced, but gave up an RBI single to Lowell, making the score 5-3.

The Rangers’ best chance to overtake the Terrapins came in the sixth inning when following two outs, Pierzynski and Joe Randa hit back to back singles. Gonzalez however struck out to end the Rangers’ last threat. Credit for holding the Rangers goes to Travis Harper who entered to start the eighth inning and in two innings of relief gave up only one hit while striking out two.

Following the game a disappointed Ranger general manager, Tom Carusillo, said: “This should have been our game. But for the first inning we played well. Against a good team like the Terrapins you cannot give them a big inning and expect to come back.”

The series now shifts to California where the Rangers hope that warmer weather will also mean a change in their fortunes.


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