David Murphy hit just .220 last year in his seventh and final season with the Texas Rangers before signing with the Indians as a free agent in the offseason.
But after his red-hot series against his former club concluded in a 4-3, 12-inning victory and three-game sweep of the Rangers on Sunday, the Rangers just might have wished they had him back.
If for no other reason than to keep Murphy from coming back to haunt them again and again and again this season. Luckily for the Rangers, they don’t have to face Murphy and the Indians anymore this season.
But during the seven games played between the two teams, Murphy went 12-for-25 with six doubles, a home run, five runs scored and seven RBI.
“It’s awesome to be able to play well in front of your friends,” Murphy said of his former teammates.
The home run couldn’t have come at a better time Sunday – a two-run shot to right center that tied the game 3-3 in the ninth and sent it into extra innings. As much as Murphy enjoyed playing so well against his former team, he had an even bigger motivation to hit the home run.
“The best part about it — obviously it was great to tie up the game — but today is my daughter’s 7th birthday. After I hit the double, I was a little mad because I wanted to hit her a home run on her birthday. It’s fun to be able to do it on this day for her — it makes it special.”
On second thought, it might have been more special for Daddy than daughter.
“She probably won’t even care about it,” Murphy said. “She’ll just care about her presents. Maybe we can look back on it and laugh someday.”
Murphy’s RBI double against Rangers starter Yu Darvish in the second inning and his game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth off reliever Neftali Feliz accounted for each of the Indians’ runs in regulation.
“He came right out of the shoot, first pitch he saw — double,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’ll be nice to get him nice and hot.”
In addition to his offense, Murphy contributed two of the best defensive plays of the game — each time robbing Rangers catcher and former Indian Chris Gimenez of extra bases.
In the ninth, Murphy made a diving, sliding catch, running toward the right-field corner. In the 11th, his running catch right at the fence in front of the visitors’ bullpen robbed Gimenez of a leadoff hit.
“I thought the play he made late in the game going to right against Gimenez, that ball was trouble,” Francona said. “But Murph made a really good play.”
By Stephanie Storm - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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