Rangers 5, Redlegs 4,
A competitive afternoon between two quality teams took an unfortunate ending that awarded the Rangers with a 5-4 win in 10 innings on Sunday, August 23 at Franklin Park.
As great as any win can be for either side of the Backyard Battle, you hate to see a game end on a questionable call by an umpire.
A pair of right-handers toed the rubber for the 19th running of the Backyard Battle. Rangers’ starter Joe Becker ran in trouble right from the beginning as Jacob Robinson and Jackson Millard roped back-to-back doubles to start the game. After a flyout from Brandon Howard, Brad Clark smoked a ball to deep left field, which Ben Schubert was able to leap above the fence to try and rob a home run. But as his arm came down on the top of the fence, the ball trickled out of the glove for a 2-run HR. Three straight singles in the top of the second abruptly gave the Redlegs a 4-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Redlegs righty Matt Mattice was having his way with the Rangers’ batters, not allowing a hit through 5 innings. The Rangers were able to put across a run though in the second inning after a pair of walks and a hits-batsman loaded the bases, and a double-play ball plated the first run. Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Jonmarc Lippincott broke up the no-no bid with a leadoff single to left. Brandon Riley put runners on second and third with a one-out double. Steve Marshall plated a pair with a single to make it 4-3 in favor of the Redlegs. In the bottom of the seventh, Kody Barth was hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third on the throw and then scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
So while the Rangers were busy chipping away at the Redlegs’ lead, Becker was settling down on the mound. After allowing 6 hits in the first two frames, Becker allowed just five more over the next 8 scoreless innings to give the Rangers a chance at the comeback victory.
The Redlegs threatened in the top of the 9th as Mike Hartman and Casey Waterhouse stood at second and third with two outs. Matt Morrison then scorched a line drive that was headed toward left-center, if not for the Rangers’ shortstop Kody Barth leaping high to snag the liner to end the inning. A couple of questionable umpire calls thwarted any attempt at a rally for the Rangers in the bottom of the ninth, so both teams headed into extra innings for the first time ever in the Backyard Battle series.
It was a good thing Becker took his O2 Gold prior to the game, because he needed every ounce of that extra oxygen to get him through a full 10 innings. Robinson and Millard found themselves on the basepaths again in the top of the 10th with one out, but Becker coerced Howard into a popout and Clark into a long out to right to set up the Rangers’ final drive.
The bottom of the 10th started with a leadoff double down the right field line by Schubert. Barth blooped a single to shallow left-center, just out of the reach of a diving Jared Bradley. Phil Dickerson was intentionally walked to load the bases. Nick Gilmore then stepped up to the plate and hit a sharp line drive one-hopper to shortstop, who bobbled but recovered to fire home for the would-be force out at the plate. But apparently Schubert’s slide home “beat” the throw, giving the Rangers the walk-off 5-4 win.
Joe Becker struck out six in the 10-inning complete game effort to move to 8-1 on the season.
Offensive highlights: Steve Marshall 1-3, 2RBI; Ben Schubert 1-3, double; Kody Barth 1-1, 3BB, SB.
Historical Notes: The Rangers lead the Backyard Battle series 12-7. Kody Barth set a team record with 10 walks in one month. Joe Becker tied a team record with 4 wins in a month.