Monday, June 18, 2012
Big innings boosting Rangers
By Randy Jennings
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers’ big-bang attack worked well over the recent 5-1 homestand.
Instead of putting up a run or two here and there, the Rangers lately have registered a lot of early zeros followed by a five in an inning, as was the case on Friday and Saturday, or a seven-spot as in Sunday’s 9-3 victory over Houston.
“It’s really not the way you want to draw it up,’’ said Ian Kinsler, who ignited Sunday’s explosion with a bases-loaded triple.
For Rangers manager Ron Washington, the big-inning trend is a testimony to his team’s ability to apply pressure. Texas leads the majors, having scored five runs or more in an inning 15 times. Going into Sunday’s schedule, no other team had more than 11.
“We keep grinding and grinding,’’ the manager said. “When you keep battling and put the pressure on, something good happens. It could be a walk or an error, but when we get that break, we take advantage. Guys have a tough time getting through our lineup.’’
In the sixth inning Sunday, Astros reliever Fernando Rodriguez needed just one more out to leave the Rangers scoreless after Texas loaded the bases for the third time in a four-inning stretch.
Kinsler, who had batted against Rodriguez earlier in the series, got a break when a foul ball behind the plate made it over the screen and a row into the stands. He rammed a later Rodriguez offering into the gap in left-center to put the Rangers on top for good.
Six Rangers reached base with two out. Adrian Beltre connected on home run No. 11 later in the inning to break it open.
“I was really pumped up by that hit by Kinsler,’’ said Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis. “That gave me a little bit of breathing room. As long as we put up innings like that, I’m very happy.’’
So is the skipper. Spreading a little around works pretty well, but it is hard to argue with the current results.
“We put nine runs up on the board today and I’m happy with that,’’ Washington said.
Said Kinsler: “We’re a banged-up team right now, but it seems like everybody has come up with a big hit and today was my turn.’’