Sunday, July 29, 2012
Rangers' offense finds a way to score
By David Collier
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Most of the time, it's not a good idea to try to score from third on a ball that is in barely in front of the plate, but when Nelson Cruz decided to give it a shot in the fifth inning of Sunday's 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox, it was the right call.
The Texas Rangers were leading 1-0 at the time and Cruz was on third with Michael Young at the plate with one out.
Young hit a tapper in front of the plate that was fielded by White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd, who looked at Cruz before throwing Young out at first. As soon as Floyd turned away from Cruz, he began darting towards the plate. White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn had a chance to throw Cruz out, but the throw bounced in the dirt allowing Texas to take a 2-0 advantage.
"It was simple," Cruz said of the aggressive baserunning. "When he looked at me, I gave him my little shuffle. When he threw the ball, I just went."
A good throw from Dunn would have had Cruz out easily, but it was a risk worth taking.
The Rangers' offense was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position Sunday, extending the team's streak to 29 straight at-bats with runners in scoring position without a hit. Texas was 1-for-31 in those situations in the weekend's three-game series. Cruz knew he had to make something happen.
"I wanted to be aggressive," he said. "We needed the extra base and needed to do whatever we could to score an extra run."
The offense obviously has a long way to go, but it took a small step in the right direction Sunday.
"We don't always have to get the big hit," David Murphy said. "We steal runs here and there when we can. Tonight, we did it. We'll be the dynamic offense where we get the big hits, but tonight, we put runs on the board whenever we could."
The Rangers scored its first run of the night with some help from the White Sox. Mike Napoli grounded to Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez and it would've left runners on first and third, but Ramirez bobbled the ball, allowing a Texas run to score.
It was that kind of night for the Rangers. They needed some things to go their way with the offense struggling and they did. So while it might not seem like much, it was a positive game. This offense did not take advantage of opportunities with runners at third with less than two outs in the first two games of this series, but Sunday, they put the ball in play and gave themselves a chance.
"For the most part, we had some good at-bats," Young said. "We worked some deep counts. We didn't necessarily finish off some of those at-bats the way we want to, but we're getting there. ... I think our approach was better, and that's key. Things haven't gone our way over the past couple of weeks, but we expect to turn it around."