It couldn’t have been a more fitting ending.
Poor Jorge Cantu. After starting out the season getting a hit and an RBI in a record ten consecutive games for the Florida Marlins, Cantu was traded to the Rangers before the deadline to give Texas some RBI support from the 1st base position against lefties.
Well, that was the plan.
Only problem is, Cantu went a few games without an RBI. Then a few more. Then a few more. Cantu managed to break an all-time Rangers record by going his first 84 at-bats without a run batted in. The old record was 78. Cantu broke it by a good two games worth of at bats.
Saturday, the streak ended. In a 1-1 game, Cantu hit a one-out single to break the tie and put the Rangers up 2-1. At last an RBI, probably too late, though, for Cantu to earn his post-season roster berth. Even if that RBI turned out to be the pennant clincher for Texas. It wasn’t.
Texas would tack on another run on a stolen base/wild pitch combination, plating Elvis Andrus with the 3rd run, making it 3-1.
Unfortunately, the A’s tied it up in the 7th with a 2-run home run. 3-3 after 7 innings. It looked like the clincher might have to wait another day.
Until Jorge Cantu came up in the 8th. Mr. 1 RBI on the season hit a solo shot to make it 2 on the season, both in the same game and putting the Rangers on top, 4-3. Six outs later, my Texas Rangers had their first division title since 1999.
Neftali Feliz closed it out by setting a rookie record with his 38th save. I’m happy about that. I’m even happier for Michael Young, who had a solo homer in the game and now will be tasting the post-season for the first time in his long career. Nothing makes me happier, though, than seeing one Jorge Cantu be the difference maker in a pennant-clinching game.
Your humble scribe has been chronicling this season from his home base of McAllen, Texas. It’s a good eight hour drive from McAllen to Arlington, where the Rangers play. That’s why I’m lucky to see one or two games in person in any single season. Still, I love living in McAllen, Texas. Especially now, since McAllen is also the home of one Jorge Cantu.
As I said, I couldn’t picture a more fitting clincher.