Saturday, June 16, 2012
Struggling Rangers offense feasts on errors
By David Collier
ARLINGTON, Texas -- There is no doubt the Texas Rangers' offense has been struggling lately. So when teams want to help them out, they will certainly take it.
For the second straight night, errors led to game-changing innings as the Rangers clinched a series win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
In Friday's contest, it was an five-run fifth, started by a one-out error, that gave Texas the edge. On Saturday, it was five-run sixth that sealed the Astros' fate.
It all got started on back-to-back singles by Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler, who broke an 0-for-14 streak. Then, a one-out comebacker to the mound from Michael Young got Gentry in a rundown between third and home, but a Houston catcher Chris Snyder dropped a throw and the Rangers loaded the bases.
Adrian Beltre drove two runners in on a single before Nelson Cruz gave the Rangers a 5-3 lead on a three-run home run.
"(Astros starter Lucas Harrell) was dealing the first five innings," Cruz said. "Finally, we got some men on base and things started to come apart (for Houston). ... I was looking for something in. That was the same pitch he gave to Adrian Beltre and Michael Young. I was able to drive it."
Errors plagued the Astros again in the seventh. Gentry stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Snyder, his second miscue of the game. Gentry scored on a single by Kinsler, who came in himself on a sacrifice fly from Young.
So while the Rangers' offense has been struggling in the past few weeks, it is still making teams pay for giving them extra outs. The real question is whether the offense will get going.
"I think overall we've done a really good job the last few series getting a clutch hit when we need it," Cruz said. "Everybody's been doing it. It's not one person. It's the whole team."
Will the trend set that last two days continue? Who knows? But it is encouraging to see runs being scored with Josh Hamilton, the biggest offensive threat, out with an illness. David Murphy has been scorching hot as of late, going 8-for-15 in the last five games.
"We’d been waiting on Murphy," manager Ron Washington said. "It’s nice to see he’s started swinging the bat because when Murphy is swinging the bat he, certainly, can deliver some RBIs."