The Texas Rangers scored the go-ahead run in the eighth to break a 4-4 tie and earn a 5-4 victory on Thursday afternoon in Minnesota. Some thoughts:
How it happened: Leonys Martin was a catalyst, scoring three runs and utilizing his speed to do so. Nick Martinez went 5 2/3 innings and left with the game tied. It wasn't a dominant effort, but he kept his team in the game. The bullpen held the Twins scoreless for the rest of the game.
What it means: Texas is two games over .500 for the first time since May 9 and has won consecutive series (both four-game series) for the first time since taking four straight series April 11-23. Prior to this road trip, the Rangers were 1-6-2 in the previous nine series. ... The Rangers are 6-2 on this road trip with three games left in Washington and are .500 in May at 13-13.
Choo clutch: The Rangers loaded the bases in the top of the second, but Robinson Chirinos popped up and Rougned Odor struck out, leaving it up to Shin-Soo Choo with two outs. He delivered, hitting a double down the left-field line to clear the bases. Martin scored from first on the play, showing off his speed (it helped to get a jump start with two outs). The Rangers continue to hit the ball well with runners in scoring position; they came into the game third in the AL in batting average with runners on base.
All about speed: Speaking of Martin's speed, it was on display again in the sixth as the Rangers tied the score. Martin doubled, beating the throw from right field. He then got a good read on Chirinos' single, running hard from second base to score to make it a 4-4 game.
Rios streaking: Alex Rios has a 12-game hitting streak, the longest by a Ranger this season and the second-longest current streak in the majors. Coming into the game, Rios was 20-for-47 during the streak with seven extra-base hits (four doubles, two triples), eight RBIs and nine runs scored.
Mound defense: Martinez showed off his athletic ability in the second after he got himself in trouble by loading the bases with no outs right after the Rangers scored three runs for him. On a slow roller toward the mound, Martinez charged the ball and flipped it to home plate with his glove to get the out.
Flirting with trouble: Martinez got out of that second-inning jam but found himself pitching with guys on base again in the third and wasn't able to keep a zero on the scoreboard. A couple of singles plated two runs for the Twins to make it a one-run game. ... In the fifth, the Twins got a runner to third with one out (a double to the wall and a wild pitch) and Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer with two outs to give Minnesota a 4-3 lead.
Up next: The Rangers head to Washington for three interleague games with the Nationals. RHP Colby Lewis (4-3, 5.10 ERA) starts for the Rangers. The Nationals counter with Stephen Strasburg (3-4, 3.42 ERA) at 6:05 p.m. on TXA21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.