Thursday, August 16, 2012
Rangers' offense roars in series finale
By Ian Begley / ESPNNY.com
NEW YORK - This is late Wednesday night. Ron Washington is sitting in the visiting manager's office at Yankee Stadium, lamenting another punchless performance by his offense.
Texas had scored just four runs total in three straight losses to the Yankees, and the manager was trying to find a silver lining.
"We'll bounce back tomorrow," he said, "Maybe we need the challenge of facing Nova."
The Rangers offense bounced back in a big way on Thursday, pounding out 16 hits and ten runs against starter Ivan Nova and the Yankees' bullpen.
In doing so, they avoided a sweep in their four-game series in the Bronx and left for Toronto on a positive note.
Washington was asked after the game if this was the kind of performance he'd come to expect out of the Texas offense.
"I don't know about putting up ten runs every night," he said. "But it's certainly the offense I expect to see most nights (in terms of) putting the ball in play and finding holes and getting base hits."
There was plenty of that on Thursday.
Let's start with Adrian Beltre, who knocked in three runs with a single in the first (he was put out trying to stretch it into a double). The three first-inning runs helped "relax" the Rangers, according to Washington.
Then there was David Murphy.
The outfielder entered play Thursday hitless in his last five at-bats with runners in scoring position. But he came through with runners in scoring position twice on Thursday.
The second hit arguably saved the day for Texas. Murphy knocked in Michael Young with a double in the sixth to tie the game at 5-5. A half inning earlier, the Yankees had scored five runs on the Rangers to take a 5-4 lead.
"We obviously had a never-say-die attitude," Murphy said.
Washington said he didn't consider hitting Nelson Cruz for Murphy.
"I wasn't going to do that," Washington said. "I trust Murphy and he came through, that's it."
Two batters after Murphy, Craig Gentry -- hitless since July 29 -- struck a two-strike, two-out, two-run single to give the Rangers the lead.
"That's just what we do on this team," Michael Young said of the Rangers' late-inning resiliency.
Texas entered this series in the Bronx leading the major leagues in runs scoring and average.
They made those numbers look misleading, though, in the first three games at Yankee Stadium. They were limited to four runs on 12 hits in 20 2/3 innings against Yankee starter in the opening three games of the series.
But Washington didn't panic. As he said late Wednesday night, all Texas needed was to see Nova.
The Rangers banged Nova around on Thursday to the tune of four runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings.
And they beat the Yankee bullpen up for nine hits and six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Not bad for an offense that couldn't get out of its own way earlier in the week.
"Obviously it wasn't our best series," Murphy said. "All we could do today was win and go from there. And we pulled it out."