Rangers win again, big, but with no HR
Frankly, no one has ever seen these Rangers.
The Rangers had plenty to celebrate Saturday against the Mariners, with 14 hits and 15 runs but nary a home run.
But against Felix Hernandez, who is as good as it gets in the American League, and against a Seattle Mariners team that gives the local nine fits, the Rangers used singles and a few timely doubles to rip off a 15-3 victory over the Mariners and their King on Saturday night.
The Rangers won for the 15th time in 18 games and took their lead back to 1½ games over Oakland in the American League West. Texas has won its past six games in which it hasn't homered.
The Rangers trailed 2-0 heading into the bottom of the second, and against Hernandez, that's usually like being down six or seven runs. Adrian Beltre led the way to a big inning.
Beltre had an eight-pitch at-bat against his ex-teammate and good friend and started the inning with a single. Alex Rios followed with a single. Mitch Moreland walked, and after Geovany Soto struck out, Jurickson Profar delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to 2-1.
That brought up David Murphy, who started the day batting .222, but who also has great career numbers against Hernandez (.324 BA, 3 HRs, 14 RBIs). Murphy drilled a hanging curveball over center fielder Dustin Ackley's head for a two-run double and a 3-2 lead.
The Rangers never looked back as Leonys Martin had a suicide squeeze to score Profar, who got a bad jump from third but made up for it with a great slide for a 4-2 lead. Elvis Andrus made it 5-2 with an RBI single.
"Our guys were grinding against a very good pitcher," manager Ron Washington said. "It's good to see Murphy get his bat going."
Murphy has 16 career RBIs against Hernandez, his most against any pitcher. It's one of those baseball oddities you'll never get. He was looking to make, at worst, a productive out and instead connected with the go-ahead double.
"There's a lot [of] different ways to be successful right there," Murphy said. "Even if that ball doesn't get over his head, it's a sacrifice fly and there's a run. I take the same approach with him as I take with everyone else. It's not like I look at who we're facing and it's the Mariners and I say, 'Yes, we're facing Felix.' That's just the way things work out."
|ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly segment to discuss the Rangers and MLB replay.
They had seven RBIs out of the No. 8 and 9 spots in the lineup. Craig Gentry came in as a pinch hitter for Murphy in the No. 9 spot in the seventh inning and had three RBIs. Murphy and Profar each had two RBIs.
Texas put the game away with eight runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Rangers sent 13 batters to the plate and had three infield hits among their six that inning.
"The thing that I've liked with the last few weeks is how we've used every pitch of our 27 outs," Murphy said. "There's been times where we might get those five runs and we might not get runs the rest of the game. There's that sense of contentment. We're not content until the last out of the game, and we're going to use all 27 outs."
The Rangers gave Martin Perez loads of support, with the 22-year-old left-hander facing one of his heroes, Hernandez, a fellow Venezuelan.
Perez allowed single runs in the first three innings. He settled in after that when it looked like he might just go five innings and was back on the mound to start the eighth. Perez allowed eight hits overall but blanked the Mariners for the final four innings.
It was almost as impressive as his complete game on Sunday in Houston just because of the way he battled.
"I didn't have all of my pitches," Perez said. "But I competed. That's important."
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