ARLINGTON, Texas — Hey, you Longhorns, Aggies and Horned Frogs.
Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers threw the biggest tailgate party of them all, beating San Francisco 4-2 on Saturday night and cutting the Giants’ edge in the World Series to 2-1.
Rookie Mitch Moreland hit an early three-run homer, Josh Hamilton later launched a 426-foot shot and the Rangers, in the franchise’s 50th season, became the first team from Texas to win a Series game.
“I was just really excited to come back home. I knew with these fans out here we had a definite advantage,” Lewis said. “It was just a thing of comfortability.”
Just in time, in fact, coming off a pair of thumpings in San Francisco.
“This shifted,” Hamilton said.
Game 3 marked the first time the Series visited the Metroplex. On a college football weekend, the parking lots filled up early with flying pigskins and fine BBQ smoke.
But Lewis and the Rangers showed there was still a place in the Lone Star State for baseball, too. And they certainly brought more joy than the Cowboys, whose gleaming stadium is just a few Hamilton-sized drives away.
Former President George W. Bush toured the Texas clubhouse before the game — previously a Rangers part-owner, he gave pep talks to individual players.
Then Big Tex himself, Nolan Ryan, jazzed the largest crowd in the history of Rangers Ballpark by cranking up for the ceremonial first toss. The Rangers’ part-owner brought his heater — at 68 mph, pretty swift for a 63-year-old guy wearing dress pants and a tie.
Lewis took over after that. He worked around solo home runs by Cody Ross — the fifth of the postseason for the NL championship series MVP — in the seventh inning and Andres Torres in the eighth. The Giants eventually brought the tying run to the plate, but reliever Darren O’Day retired Buster Posey to end the eighth.
Texas manager Ron Washington finally brought in Neftali Feliz, and the rocket-armed closer pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the postseason. Washington was criticized in the first two games at San Francisco for leaving Feliz in the bullpen while the Giants broke away.