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Monday, July 8, 2013
Ian Kinsler's swing proves a game-changer

By Jeff Seidel
Special to ESPNDallas.com

BALTIMORE -- The Texas Rangers manufactured plenty of offense in Monday night's game. They banged out 12 hits and came through in the clutch, finishing 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

However, even though Texas found all that offense, there’s no doubt that one swing of Ian Kinsler’s bat changed everything. His three-run double in the sixth inning broke the game open and helped the Rangers to an 8-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a four-game series at Camden Yards.

Ian Kinsler

The bat of Ian Kinsler did some serious damage Monday in Baltimore. The second baseman produced half of the Rangers' eight RBIs.

The Rangers already had scored three runs in the sixth and taken a 5-3 lead over Baltimore, knocking out starter Scott Feldman (0-1), a former Texas teammate. Kinsler came up with the bases full against left-hander Troy Patton and lined a double to left that skipped up against the wall and cleared the bases to cap a six-run inning.

“It was a tough at-bat,” Kinsler said. “I was down [0-2], was able to kind of work myself back into it, got a changeup that I was able to put a good swing on and, luckily enough, it found a hole out there.”

When asked how big that hit was, Texas manager Ron Washington never hesitated.

“Huge. We needed it,” Washington said. “We were fighting the whole night, and he came up in that situation and delivered.”

Kinsler had already banged out an RBI single earlier in the game off Feldman and finished 2-for-5 with four RBIs.

He’s been on a bit of a roll lately, as this stretched his hitting streak to seven games. Kinsler is 6-for-15 in his last four games and now has a 14-game hitting streak against the Orioles.

Battling on the mound

Derek Holland played a big role in the Texas victory, as well. The left-handed starter made it through 6T innings to win his second straight game and improve to 7-4.

It wasn’t an easy task. Holland spent most of the game wriggling out of jams thanks to the Orioles’ strong offense. But the left-hander kept finding ways to escape.

“Derek fought hard tonight,” Washington said. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but he found a way to keep us in the ball game.”

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Holland gave up five runs on 10 hits. However, he struck out seven and retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings, which let the Rangers have an opening for their six-run inning that gave them an 8-3 lead.

“For the most part, I’ve really got to pitch better than that,” Holland said. “The guys gave me some runs. I gave them right back and, to me, that’s very frustrating. I know I’m better than that.”

Holland allowed five hits in the first three innings, but forced the Orioles to strand two in the first, one in the second and two more in the third.

A big key was how Holland handled All-Star first baseman Chris Davis, a former Ranger. Holland struck him out with two on in the first, then did the same thing in the third. He struck out Davis again in the seventh, and the Rangers struck him out four times in this game.

“Chris Davis is doing unbelievable things this year with the ball club,” Holland said. “But I wanted to make sure I could do everything I could to slow him down. I know he’s a threat, and I didn’t want to give him anything good to hit.”