David Murphy keeps getting job done
That's how modest David Murphy painted his fourth-inning flair into left field that scored the first of three runs in the frame and set up the Texas Rangers for a 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night to start a 10-game homestand. Right-hander Ryan Dempster returned to the mound and allowed four hits over eight innings and retired the final 11 batters he faced for his second win in four starts with the Rangers.
While Dempster hopes to find consistency, Murphy is living on it like oxygen. His 2-for-3 night boosted his average to .309 and two more RBIs give him 48, two more than he had all of last season. Now a regular outfielder, Murphy is batting .371 in his last 10 games.
His first hit against Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez appeared to be a solid piece of hitting by Murphy as he reached for a down-and-away changeup and looped it into shallow left field to score Adrian Beltre, who started the inning with a single and advanced to second when Nelson Cruz worked a walk.
Murphy, though, almost looked embarrassed that he went after a 2-1 changeup instead of letting it go for ball three.
"Lucky," Murphy said in between trying not to smile too big and criticizing himself for chasing a pitch out of the zone.
Murphy contributed again in the eighth inning, sharply singling home Michael Young with an insurance run to make it 5-1. Murphy was also intentionally walked in the fifth inning, leaving his first-inning fly out as the lone time he wasn't on base.
The bottom third of the Rangers' lineup, starting with the Murphy in the seven-hole, produced the big fourth inning. Catcher Geovany Soto singled after Murphy to drive in Cruz, giving the former Cubs catcher seven RBIs since joining the club. Mitch Moreland beat out an infield single in the fourth to load the bases for Ian Kinsler, whose sacrifice fly made it 3-1.
For Murphy, the notion of coming to the ballpark each day knowing he'll see his name on the lineup card provides great satisfaction and confidence. And it seems to show in every at-bat. His .309 batting average is the best among Rangers regulars. Murphy's on-base percentage is now a team-high .389.
"It's just nice that I can stick with the same feel and stick with the same routine," Murphy said. "And, I don't know, things are just flowing a little bit better."
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