Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Offense comes through in key situations
By David Collier
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' offense had its share of struggles in Wednesday's series finale against the Boston Red Sox, but came through in some key situations on the way to a 5-3 win that extended the Rangers' home series winning streak to 10 in a row.
“We may have some inconsistent times, but we’ve got a good ballclub," manager Ron Washington said. "They know how to win, and they do whatever they have to do. I still believe before it’s over with, it’s going to click like it’s supposed to.”
The most mind-numbing characteristic about the Rangers' offense over the past month has been the inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Texas was 0-for-5 in those situations in Tuesday's 2-1 loss, and that trend continued early Wednesday.
The Rangers began Wednesday's rubber match 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and nothing stood out more than the wasted opportunity in the third. Yorvit Torrealba and Craig Gentry began the frame with back-to-back singles to put men on the corners with no outs. Ian Kinsler flied out to right before Torrealba was thrown out at the plate on a chopper to second off the bat of Elvis Andrus. Adrian Beltre followed up a two-out walk to Josh Hamilton with a popup to third.
At that point, it seemed nothing could go the Rangers' way. But all of that suddenly changed in the fourth.
Michael Young got a leadoff double, and David Murphy drove him in with a double of his own with one out to get the Rangers on the board. Torrealba followed that up with a single to left to put runners on the corners with one out.
Then, Washington took it upon himself to get something going.
Gentry executed a suicide squeeze to perfection to tie the game at 2-2. Then, Kinsler and Andrus delivered back-to-back two out singles to plate the third Ranger run of the inning.
"We had some good execution tonight," Washington said. "I put on the hit-and-run, we executed. The squeeze, we executed. And I think we put a little pressure on their defense. That’s what it’s about."
The Rangers finished the night 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but those three were huge in the three-run fourth inning.
"We got some big hits when we needed them," Murphy said. "I think that was the bottom line. Some nights it happens, some nights it doesn't."
It's obvious the Rangers' offense still has a ways to go to being the productive bunch that everyone saw at the beginning of the season, but the fourth inning was a bright spot.
"We're getting there," Young said. "I think, offensively, we have a ton of confidence in ourselves. We all know what we're capable of doing. I think now we're getting to the point where we're chomping at the bit. We feel like it's coming and it'll be here for the rest of the way."