By Sam McPherson
As the fictional film character and minor-league baseball catcher Crash Davis once quipped, you never mess with a winning streak. So now that the Texas Rangers finally lost a game on Saturday, it’s time to look back what else you may have missed last week in Major League Baseball.
Rangers win ten straight games and 11 of 12 overall
When the streak began on May 9, Texas had a 13-20 record while sitting 8.5 games out of first place in the American League West. On Friday night, May 19, in Detroit, the Rangers won their tenth consecutive game behind two home runs and stellar starting pitching. The streak is the longest in MLB this year so far and Texas’ best stretch since taking 12 straight back in 2011.
Joey Gallo’s HR in the sixth inning was the clincher as the Rangers won the game, 5-3. The Tigers were able to stop the Rangers on Saturday, but Texas resumed its winning ways on Sunday to move within 5.5 games now of the Houston Astros in the AL West. The Rangers won the division last year and now are in a position to defend their crown more readily. Winning streaks tend to do that for a team.
Giants take another series from the Dodgers
San Francisco got off to a bad start this season as well, and although the Giants have not won ten games in a row, they have been playing better lately. They’ve won nine of their last 12, including a series win over the rival L.A. Dodgers at home last week. Overall, S.F. is 20-26 this season, but with six wins in ten over its Southern California nemesis, things are looking brighter.
Giants pitcher Ty Blach has struck out only 14 batters in 41 2/3 innings this year, but he’s been able to limit his mistakes on the way to two victories in the last week while replacing the injured Madison Bumgarner in the starting rotation. That could be huge for San Francisco if the team wants to stay in the National League West division race, where it is currently nine games out of first place still.
Twins play twin doubleheaders on short notice
Due to challenging weather, Minnesota was forced to play a twin bill on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies and another one on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals. That’s more doubleheader action than one MLB team should see in a short span. In the end, the Twinkies split both of them, thanks to an 8-4 win in Sunday’s second show.
Minnesota pitcher Adalberto Mejia won his first MLB game, thanks to a sharp effort and three HRs from his teammates. The victory left the Twins tied for the AL Central lead as of Sunday’s play, a division Minnesota hasn’t won since 2010.
White Sox bury Mariners at Safeco Field over the weekend
Chicago lost in walk-off fashion to Seattle on Thursday night, but the ChiSox recovered to take the next three games on the road by a combined 26-3 score, including an impressive 16-1 victory on Saturday at Safeco Field where Chicago racked up 19 hits. Right fielder Avisaíl García had six RBI in the win, as well as two HRs.
The White Sox star is hitting .342 currently, which is the third-best mark in the AL. Add in eight HRs and 34 RBI, and García is in line for his first All-Star appearance later this summer. As for the Mariners, the weekend left them in last place among AL West teams.
A’s take home series against Red Sox to keep 2017 hopes alive
In August 2014, Oakland had the best record in baseball. Since then, things have gone very downhill for the A’s. After three straight postseason appearances from 2012-14, the team hasn’t finished over .500 since, putting together consecutive last-place finishes for the first time since 1998. But, the A’s are showing signs of life in 2017, despite a lot of injuries to key players.
Mark Canha’s walk-off HR on Friday night came in the second of three straight victories over the Boston Red Sox for the A’s at the Coliseum in Oakland. Still nine games behind Houston in the AL West, at least Oakland is showing the ability to compete with the best teams in the league, even if the A’s are still a 20-game win streak of their own away from reaching the top of the division.