Rangers ride wild fourth inning to 8-6 win over Rays in ALDS
Mike Napoli's tying two-run single in a five-run fourth inning against suddenly wild Tampa Bay starter James Shields sent the crowd into a real frenzy. It also propelled the Rangers to an 8-6 win Saturday night over the Rays to even the American League Division Series at a game apiece.
The Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas — Mike Napoli kept fouling off pitches while Texas Rangers fans chanted his name.
"It was pretty loud, too, and when I heard it, I was like, 'You guys can't do this to me right now in this situation,' " Napoli said.
He came through anyway.
Napoli's tying two-run single in a five-run fourth inning against suddenly wild Tampa Bay starter James Shields sent the crowd into a real frenzy. It also propelled the Rangers to an 8-6 win Saturday night over the Rays to even the American League Division Series at a game apiece.
The defending AL champion Rangers had just gotten their first run of the series when Shields hit his second batter of the inning, a fastball near the left knee of Adrian Beltre that forced in a run.
When Shields threw three consecutive balls to Napoli, the chants of "Nap-o-li!, Nap-o-li!" began and only grew louder with each swing.
"The whole stadium is chanting his last name, and I get the chills," teammate Ian Kinsler said. "I don't know how he is up there staying focused."
Finally on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Napoli ripped a liner to left that tied the score 3-3.
Then Shields really got wild, throwing two wild pitches while David Murphy was at the plate.
Murphy fell behind 0-2, though he worked back to a full count with a couple of foul balls and a wild pitch that allowed Beltre and Napoli to move up a base.
Next came a pitch that Murphy swung at and missed, but the ball hit in the dirt and ricocheted away from catcher Kelly Shoppach, allowing Beltre to score for a 4-3 lead.
Napoli came home on Mitch Moreland's grounder.
"He was composed, he was fine. He just hit a couple of guys," manager Joe Maddon said. "He was just trying to make an even better pitch, and that's what got him in trouble right there."
Texas finally got on the scoreboard in this series after being held to two hits in the opener.
"It was very satisfying because Tampa has some great pitching over there, and pitching usually settles down a great offense," Washington said. "But we kept grinding and kept grinding, and, you know, I think we got our confidence back."
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
The Seattle Times Store
Shop The Seattle Times Store for books, videos, keepsake pages and other unique gifts
Career Center Blog
Your Opinion Matters
Take our survey and enter to win $100. Enter Now!