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Rangers’ Bullpen Unravels In Eighth Inning Of Game 2

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Derek Holland couldn’t find the strike zone. Mark Lowe failed to retire a single batter. Michael Kirkman gave up a couple of run-scoring hits.

As Game 2 unraveled in a disastrous eighth inning for the Texas Rangers, closer Neftali Feliz was nowhere to be found. The San Francisco Giants broke open a close game with a seven-run inning and went on to beat the Rangers 9-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series.

The inning started innocently enough when Darren O’Day struck out Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez. Buster Posey then reached on an infield single and manager Ron Washington called on the left-handed Holland to face lefty Nate Schierholtz.

That’s when things took a bad turn for Texas as Holland walked Schierholtz on four pitches. Washington stuck with Holland against the right-handed Cody Ross and Holland threw four more consecutive balls to load the bases.

“I wasn’t thinking about anything at all,” Holland said. “I was just trying to make pitches. It’s one of those things that happens. I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to try to be a little bit better next time.”

Holland stayed in against lefty Aubrey Huff and threw three more balls before betting his first strike of the night. Another ball followed to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. He finished the night with one strike in his 13 pitches.

“I thought he would correct himself,” Washington said. “I felt like he could finally get back in the groove. I certainly brought him out there to get Schierholtz out of there, and he didn’t. I didn’t expect 12 balls in 13 pitches. But it happened.”

Holland became just the third pitcher ever to walk at least three batters in a World Series outing without recording a single out. Art Reinhart walked four and allowed a hit for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the 1926 World Series against the Yankees. Ryan Speier walked three without retiring a batter for Colorado in Game 1 in 2007 against Boston.

“In the bullpen I was hitting all my spots and feeling good,” Holland said. “I just wasn’t controlling my fastball very well and I have to work off my fastball.”

Lowe came in and walked Juan Uribe to force in another run and allowed a two-run single to Edgar Renteria that made it 6-0.

Kirkman relieved Lowe and allowed a two-run triple to pinch-hitter Aaron Rowand and an RBI double to Andres Torres before finally escaping the inning.

“You take all the runs you can get, and these guys did a great job of finding a way to get on base either through walks or big hits,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

The Giants became the first team in World Series history to score seven runs in an inning after there were two outs and the bases empty.

Washington said he never even considered going to the All-Star Feliz, who had 40 saves during his rookie season.

“No, I didn’t,” he said. “I didn’t at all.”

 

DH OPTIONS: The lack of a designated hitter in the first two games of the World Series already has wreaked havoc with the Texas Rangers’ lineup, with cleanup hitter Vladimir Guerrero not starting Game 2.

When the World Series moves to Texas this weekend, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy will be the one with decisions to make.

Bochy said he will talk with his coaches about his designated hitter options on the flight to Texas. While left fielder Pat Burrell would appear to be a prime option because he is one of San Francisco’s best hitters and often is removed for defense late in games, Bochy said he’s not inclined to go that direction because of his struggles as a DH in Tampa Bay.

“If a guy is not comfortable doing something, you don’t want him in that position,” Bochy said. “That’s part of our job putting a player in that position where he’s comfortable and can succeed.”

Burrell has a .209 career average in 160 games as a designated hitter, leading to his release by the Rays earlier this season. Burrell has said he’s willing to do whatever he’s asked but it’s clear he is more comfortable in the outfield.

Other options include playing Travis Ishikawa at first base and moving Aubrey Huff to designated hitter or using Pablo Sandoval as his DH. Ishikawa also could just DH, based on his success as a pinch hitter. Bochy said he likely would use multiple options for the three games in Texas.

Huff has extensive DH experience from his time in the American League, having batted .278 with 69 homers and 240 RBIs in 401 games.

“That’s up to Boch,” Huff said. “He’s nailed the lineups all postseason. Every time he’s put something together it’s worked out. Obviously I’m comfortable DHing. I’ve done it for a long time. … I don’t care where I am. We have one goal as a team and that’s to win the World Series.”

 

SLOPPY PLAY: The Texas Rangers looked the part of first-time World Series participants by making four errors in the opener.

Vladimir Guerrero made two in a rare outfield appearance, while shortstop Elvis Andrus and third baseman Michael Young each made one. The four errors were a season high for the Rangers and the most in a World Series game since Boston made four in Game 2 in 2004.

No team has committed more errors in a nine-inning World Series game since the Dodgers had a record-tying six in a Game 2 loss to Baltimore in 1966, including three in one inning by center fielder Willie Davis.

“There probably was nerves going on out there,” manager Ron Washington said. “I don’t think any player would ever say that that happened, but there probably was. It wasn’t the type of game that we can play. We’re a very good team defensively, and we believe in playing defense. We just didn’t do it last night. But I don’t think the defense beat us last night. I think the San Francisco offense beat us.”

Only one of the Giants’ 11 runs in Game 1 was unearned.

 

A WORLD SERIES WIN AT LAST: Bruce Bochy’s last trip to the World Series didn’t go too well. A quick four-game exit by his San Diego Padres against the New York Yankees in 1998.

So when the Giants took Game 1 against the Texas Rangers 11-7, Bochy finally could say he had his first World Series win.

“There’s no question the last time you’re in the Series and it didn’t go well and you get swept, it’s nice to get that off your back,” Bochy said. “It’s a seven-game series but it’s always nice to get the first one.”

Bochy added a second one Thursday.

He hadn’t had much postseason success before this improbable run. He had lost 10 of his previous 11 postseason games while managing the Padres — including being eliminated in the minimum three games in the 2005 division series by St. Louis, then losing in four games to the Cardinals in the first round the very next year. That ’98 team was Bochy’s lone pennant in 12 seasons as Padres skipper.

 

RISING RECOGNITION: Texas president and part owner Nolan Ryan is getting used to seeing more and more people where Rangers gear in Texas and around the country.

But hearing Jay Leno talk about his team on “The Tonight Show” really hit home.

“I’m thinking, ‘Gosh, that sounds strange,'” Ryan said. “I think that it puts us on the map with a lot of people within the country and within baseball that we’ve made it to this level. I think we were more of a North Texas-type franchise in the past because of the lack of the success that we’ve had. I think it definitely has a very positive impact on your organization and just on recognition.”

 

LINCECUM’S LEG: Tim Lincecum’s left leg was just fine Thursday, a day after the Giants ace was hit once in the shin and later in the hamstring in his victory over the Rangers.

Manager Bruce Bochy received no reports from the training staff that Lincecum would have any ill effects from the injuries.

“He’s fine. He’s walking around,” Bochy said. “I didn’t think he’d have any problems today.”

 

AROUND THE HORN: The last seven teams to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series have gone on to win it. The Yankees were the last team to overcome that deficit in 1996 against Atlanta. Overall, teams that go up 2-0 have won 40 of 51 World Series. … The 20 runs allowed by Texas are the most in a franchise’s first two World Series games. … Among the celebrities on hand were Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky and Journey singer Steve Perry. … The Giants had lost four straight Game 2s since beating St. Louis in the 2002 NLCS. … Giants reliever got Josh Hamilton to fly out to end the eighth. Lopez has limited lefties to one hit in 13 ABs this postseason.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.