ARLINGTON, Texas – With the innings starting to stack up and a harsh storm approaching, Mitch Moreland took a mighty whack at the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th inning.
Before the ball even landed deep in the upper deck in right field, teammates were climbing over the dugout rails to join Moreland in celebrating the Texas Rangers’ 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The giddiness was justified. Heavy winds blew debris across the field by the time Moreland crossed home plate and before he was even out of the shower, sheets of rain slapped across the field. Had the game not ended when it did, it could’ve been quite a long night, or a suspended game to be resumed today.
The win itself was nice for Texas, as were milestones such as the first game-ending hit of Moreland’s blossoming career, and Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama (1-0) earning his first career victory. The Rangers were also glad to find a way to win on a night when ace C.J. Wilson lacked his best stuff, and the offense relied mostly on solo homers.
Moreland’s blast was his 10th of the year and his second long homer in as many games. Houston rookie reliever Enerio del Rosario (0-2) took the loss.
“My ultimate goal was to try to get on base and get something started, and I was able to end it all on one swing,” said Moreland, who couldn’t remember having hit another game-ending homer in pro ball.
Josh Hamilton of Texas tied it at 4 with a homer leading off the eighth, keeping Astros prized prospect Jordan Lyles from getting his first major-league win.
Hamilton went 2-for-5, keeping up his incredible success in interleague play. Over his past 17 games against the National League, not counting the World Series, he is 36-for-75 (.480 average) with six homers and 21 RBI.
Texas also got solo homers from Michael Young and Nelson Cruz. The only manufactured run was when Endy Chavez tripled home Taylor Teagarden in the seventh inning.