Rewind: Rangers vs. Giants, Game #1

For a moment, it seemed like the save was blown and a game was getting out of hand. But somehow, a puff of chalk was missed and the Giants had new life. The umpires had a major presence in this game with three Rangers players tossed (not to mention a manager), but it overshadowed one of Morris' best starts of the season.

The umpires were perhaps the most important people on the field on Tuesday.

Three Texas Rangers players were ejected, including two in the 9th, and a controversial call helped the San Francisco Giants hold onto a 5-3 victory in the interleague series.

With 2 down in the 9th, the bases loaded, Jeremy Accardo on the mound and the Giants holding on desperate to a 5-3 lead, Mark Teixeira blooped a ball down the right field line.  The ball landed and a puff of chalk went up, apparently indicating it landed on the line and therefore fair, but first base umpire Tim Hallion called it foul.  The call incensed everyone wearing a Ranger uniform, including the bullpen down the line and Teixeira himself, who fired his helmet to the ground and was ejected in what was now the middle of his at-bat.  Mark DeRosa was also ejected for arguing.

The at bat resumed with two strikes with backup catcher Gerald Laird at the plate, and Laird flew out to left to end the game.

Everyone saw it. ... I honestly couldn't believe it. It blew my mind that that was the call. I didn't know what to do," Texeira said after the game.

That overshadowed what had been a great outing by Giants starter Matt Morris.  Morris went 8 strong innings, allowing just an unearned run on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7.  It was Morris’ third straight win and his 7th in interleague play, during which he has never lost.  Morris dropped his ERA for 4.24 on the season.

The game looked like it was in hand for the Giants, powered by Morris and right fielder Randy Winn.  Winn went 4 for 5, including his 16th double of the year and his 8th homer, a 3 run shot in the 2nd inning.  Jose Vizcaino added a single and a double, while Bonds lined his 10th double of the year into the right field corner and was walked 3 times after that.

The umpires had become an issue early in the game, after Texas starter Kevin Millwood struck out end the 3rd.  At the start of the inning, Rod Barajas had words with home plate umpire Larry Young, forcing Texas Manager Buck Showalter to come out and separate the two.  Showalter also took advantage of the chance to argue with Young.

That set the stage for the 5th, when Rangers second baseman Michael Young was struck out looking to end the 5th.  Young flipped the bat in frustration, but did not appear to be addressing Larry Young behind the plate.  Larry Young, however,  did not hesitate to eject Michael Young, and then ejected Showalter after he came out to defend his player.

Barajas, the first Ranger to argue, was not ejected in the game, a fortunate thing for the Rangers, as he hit a one-out homer down the line to left in the 9th to close the game to 5-2.  He hit it off of Giants reliever Tim Worrell, who gave up 2 hits and 2 runs (1 earned) in two thirds of an inning. Player of the Game: This is actually a tough one (and no, we’re not considering the umpire).  And while Morris’ continued emergence on the staff after a poor start is big, Randy Winn’s 4 for 5 day is also a slumpbuster of a performance and perhaps more important, as the Giants offense has struggled recently.

Notes: While it was speculated that right fielder Moises Alou was going to return Tuesday and that Bonds would be out after injuring his knee on Friday night, Alou missed the game and Bonds played.  The Giants had indicated previously that if Alou did not return on Tuesday, he would be put on the Disabled List, but no such move was announced, and Alou was in the dugout and in uniform during the game.

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