Rangers' power finally comes in focus
From Leonys Martin's first career home run to Nelson Cruz's fifth career grand slam. From Mitch Moreland's go-ahead two-run home run in the fourth inning to Adrian Beltre's two-run shot in the sixth.
The Rangers finally started hitting home runs with runners on base in Sunday's 11-3 throttling of the Seattle Mariners. Let the rest of the American League be put on notice: The Rangers can still slug it with the best of them.
"We're dangerous all the way one through nine," Cruz, who belted his grand slam in the fifth inning, said. "I'm glad it was there for the whole team. It was a good series."
The Rangers scored 23 runs in three wins against Seattle, earning their first sweep since last June. They reached a season high in runs with 11 on Sunday, a drastic improvement after scoring four runs or less in the seven games that preceded Friday's series opener against the Mariners. The Rangers were the only team in baseball that hadn't score eight runs in a game.
Have the bats finally awoken in Texas?
"We'll get consistent," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Everyone will realize if we're consistent or not."
This weekend was a good start. Sunday was a great start as far as home runs go.
Martin's home run was a solo shot to tie the score at one in the third inning. That made it 15 of 19 home runs with no one on base for the Rangers. Moreland's fourth-inning homer changed that trend.
Fighting through a 1-for-20 slump, Moreland kept his approach -- grind out at-bats. Put a good swing on the ball. He got a sinker that didn't sink on a 2-1 pitch from Aaron Harang. Moreland crushed it 422 feet to center field. The two-run homer gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead.
"I got up there and missed a pitch early in the at-bat," Moreland said of a first-pitch sinker that he fouled off. "I got another one in the zone over the plate. I'm just trying to grind out at-bats."
Cruz said he's been trying to stay patient with his at-bats as his average has dropped from .458 to .277 in the past 11 games. He had two RBIs in 12 games before his grand slam.
Cruz took advantage of a 2-0 count against Harang and ripped a fastball seven or eight rows up in the center-field stands for the Rangers' first grand slam since last August (by Moreland). Another sign that the Rangers offense is starting to percolate.
"This game was an indication of that," Moreland said. "We definitely took a step forward. Nellie's swing today was a big blow."
Beltre added a two-run home run in the sixth inning, his third of the season. Beltre came into Sunday's game batting .222, but it appears he is starting to drive the ball. Three of his past four hits have gone for extra bases.
Martin had the most memorable home run of the day. He also had a triple in the fifth inning and scored on Ian Kinsler's single. Martin didn't have an extra-base hit before Sunday.
"I just made a connection," Martin said. "I didn't know it was a home run until it went in the stands. It was exciting. I'm not going to forget that for the rest of my life."
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