– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
ARLINGTON, Texas — In his first-ever at-bat in a Texas Rangers uniform, Danny Santana repaid the trust that his manager had in him to come through in a clutch situation, helping to lead the Rangers to a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
Santana hit a one-out, two-run triple to tie the game in the eighth inning, then scored the winning run on a squeeze bunt single by Delino DeShields to cap off an 8-7 victory by Texas over the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park on Sunday.
“I was really happy to get Danny in there,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “There is something about him. He is a special guy with special talent. You saw the speed, the power, who he is. Everybody liked him in spring training, so I am really excited to see what he can do.”
The Rangers entered the bottom half of the eighth down 7-4 before getting two of the first three hitters on base. Third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera then followed with a single to right to score Nomar Mazara to cut Oakland’s lead to 7-5. Woodward then decided to pinch-hit for first baseman Patrick Wisdom, sending up Santana in the spot with Texas having runners on the corners. On a 1-1 pitch, Santana sent a Joakim Soria change-up to the right-center field gap for a triple, scoring Shin-Soo Choo and Cabrera to tie the game.
“I didn’t feel any pressure, I just looked for a good pitch to hit,” said Santana, who previously played for the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves.
Two batters later and with Santana still at third representing the go-ahead run, DeShields laid down a perfect squeeze bunt off of reliever Yusmeiro Petit down the third base line and beat the throw to first from catcher Josh Phegley for an infield hit to give the Rangers the lead.
Jose Leclerc came on in the ninth, giving up a hit but striking out the side to earn his third save of the season.
“To fall back five runs against their bullpen and come back to win it, that was pretty special,” Woodward said.
Elvis Andrus had an RBI triple in the first inning for the first Rangers run that tied the game, scored the second run when he stole home later in the inning after a pickoff move to first from starter Brett Anderson and hit a solo home run in the seventh.
Stephen Piscotty and Matt Chapman hit solo home runs in the second and third innings respectively to give Oakland a 3-2 lead, and the A’s then tacked on four more runs in the fourth to take a 7-2 lead. All four of those runs came with two outs, as Josh Phegley and Robbie Grossman hit RBI singles before Marcus Semien hit a two-run double.
The defeat spoiled another stellar performance from Anderson, who came into the game 3-0 with an ERA of 2.50. In six innings, Anderson allowed just two hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out three and walking two. Left-handed reliever Jeffrey Springs worked a scoreless eighth for the Rangers to earn his second victory of the season.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 28 pictures in total.