Rangers wind clock in 14 - 7 win over Indians

Friday, September 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ARLINGTON – Say this for the Rangers. They take a long time to win.

A long, long time.

The Rangers came within one minute of the major league record for longest nine-inning game in history on Thursday. Their 14-7 win against Cleveland at The Ballpark in Arlington lasted 4 hours, 21 minutes.

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Baltimore and the New York Yankees set the record at 4:22 in 1997. The Rangers record try fell short when Cleveland pinch-hitter Russell Branyan hit the first pitch from John Wetteland and grounded into a game-ending out.

It was the longest nine-inning Rangers game ever, exceeding the 4 hour, 15 minute game between the Rangers and Baltimore on April 19, 1996. And the clubs made a heroic assault on the major league record. They combined for 10 pitching changes, 47 baserunners and 406 pitches.

"If you win, you don't care," Rangers manager Johnny Oates said. "I couldn't care if it took until six o'clock tomorrow morning as long as we won a game."

The Rangers had gone more than 144 hours since their last win, losing five consecutive games. The slide ended because of rare, for this season, offensive production from the outfield.

The first-time outfield combination of Rusty Greer, Ricky Ledee and Gabe Kapler combined to drive in 10 runs. A big offensive game by the outfield has been almost as rare as wins for the Rangers, who remain tied with Tampa Bay and Minnesota for the worst record in the American League at 59-74.

The Rangers and Minnesota have the fewest outfield home runs in the AL with 38. The Rangers' outfield has driven in 210 runs. Only Minnesota, with 201, has fewer outfield RBIs.

The Rangers' outfield last season had 72 homers and 303 RBIs. The steep decline is the main reason Oates experiments with outfield combinations during the final month.

Center field is for defense. Ledee started in center for the first time as a Ranger and drove in three runs. Left and right fields are for offense. The production came from those two spots.

Kapler started in right field for the first time since May 2. He took a bases-loaded walk in the third and put the Rangers ahead 6-5 in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single.

Greer matched a career-high with five hits and had four RBIs.