Extra Bases: Chirinos carries bottom of order

April, 9, 2014
4/09/14
9:30
AM CT
BOSTON – For every superstar in baseball, there is a Robinson Chirinos.

And while Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knows what star power he has at the top of his lineup, it was the rank-and-file bottom of the order, including Chirinos, that bolstered Texas to a 10-7 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

[+] EnlargeRobinson Chirinos
David Butler II/USA TODAY SportsRobinson Chirinos was all smiles Tuesday after hitting his second career home run and first since 2011.
“Those guys are going to have to play their part,” Washington said. “That’s what a team is. Yes, we’ve got names at the top, but we’ve got baseball players at the bottom.”

Chirinos, the 29-year-old catcher who made his first Opening Day roster with the Rangers this season, lit the firecracker to the Rangers’ five-run third inning, in which they batted around, sending 11 men to the plate. He turned on an 89-mph fastball from Felix Doubront on a 3-2 pitch and cleared the Green Monster with plenty of distance.

It was Chirinos’ first home run since 2011, when he was a Tampa Bay Ray, and the second of his career.

“I knew that he sometimes has a hard time throwing strikes,” Chirinos said of Doubront, “so if we bring him to the strike zone, we’d get good swings.”

Chirinos finished 2-for-4, reaching three times, driving in two runs and scoring two out of the 8-hole.

“You’re trying to get on base for those guys hitting in the middle of order -– they’re going to bring us home if we can get on base,” he said.

But while the bottom half of the order was supported by Chirinos and second baseman Donnie Murphy, who doubled and drove two in while making his third straight start and batting sixth, there’s another question which was opened up as cleanup hitter Adrian Beltre (2-for-3, 2 RBI) left the game with tightness in his left quadriceps. Beltre will return to Texas to see Dr. Keith Meister.

If Beltre is to miss any length of time, that will only compound the importance of the bottom half doing its job.

“It’s better than hitting with nobody on base,” said leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo, who was on base four times and scored two runs on Tuesday.

“He did a great job tonight, hitting a home run, getting on base a couple of times,” Choo said of Chirinos. "He made a lot of his opportunity.”

Setting the table: Rookie southpaw Robbie Ross opposes Jake Peavy in today’s matinee rubber match from Fenway. Making his second major league start, Ross looks for his first career win and is opposed by Peavy, who gave up six hits in six innings in his season debut April 4 against the Brewers.

Scott Barboza

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
Scott Barboza joined ESPNBoston.com as a high schools editor/reporter in May 2010. He spent the previous three seasons working in the New England Patriots media relations department after a stint at the Taunton Daily Gazette, where he covered everything from Little League baseball to the Boston Red Sox.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182