Monday, October 3, 2011

Baseball Digest | For Napoli, The Price Was Right

The pitcher is tall and lean, fluid and precise; a baseball magazine cover boy. The batter is average looking, the guy next door changing the oil in his driveway. But the batter can mash and today he did. Mike Napoli’s 2-run home run off of David Price in the 7th inning gave the Texas Rangers their first lead of the day en route to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The victory also gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the best of five series.

Price had scattered five hits and a walk through six innings before Adrian Beltre led off the top of the 7th with a single. After a wild pitch moved Beltre into scoring position, Price threw a 2-2 fastball right into Napoli’s wheelhouse and the catcher turned on it and sent it into the left field seats. The Rangers grabbed the momentum by the horns and used their speed to gain another two runs. After Craig Gentry’s two out single knocked Price from the ball game, Brandon Gomes walked Ian Kinsler and the two base runners pulled off a double steal.

When Gomes walked shortstop Elvis Andrus as well, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon brought in left-hander J.P. Howell to face the left-handed hitting Josh Hamilton. But the career .278 hitter against southpaws came through with a line drive single to right to plate two more for a 4-1 Rangers’ lead.

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