The pitch that Chris Davis took for a third strike to end the game Friday night was a hot-button topic among team and baseball personnel encountered at the team hotel the past 18 hours. No one believed Joe Nathan's curveball was a strike except plate ump Mike Estabrook. Replays showed he was wrong, six or eight inches wrong. Even Twins radio announcer Dan Gladden was up-in-arms about the call.
Scott Kazmir is now a member of the first-place Angels, which isn't great news for the Rangers. Kazmir hasn't been very good this season, but the native Texan has been very good historically against the Rangers. The left-hander, for sure, is an upgrade over the various minor-leaguers the Angels have been plugging into the fifth spot in their rotation.
The near miss in the ninth inning Friday took some of the attention away from the big-league debut of right-hander Pedro Strop. The converted infielder hit 97 mph on the radar gun as he went through the heart of the Twins' lineup (Joe Mauer, strikeout; Justin Morneau, pop up; Jason Kubel, groundout) in the eighth inning.
Compounding the narrow loss Friday, Boston scored once in the eight to be Toronto and the Angels rallied from 6-1 down to beat Oakland. The Rangers enter play today 2 1/2 games behind Boston in the wild-card standings and five behind the Angels.
-- Jeff Wilson