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Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Tigers 4

5/25/2014

DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers scored five runs in the fifth inning on their way to a 12-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. Some brief thoughts:

How it happened: The Rangers jumped on Tigers' starter Justin Verlander, continuing their momentum from a 12-2 win Saturday. Texas scored nine runs (six earned) off the 2011 MVP and Cy Young Award winner, taking a commanding lead after five innings. Verlander lasted just 5 1/3 innings and was behind 9-2 when he left. Alex Rios and Mitch Moreland led the way with three RBIs each. The two had five hits between them, though every Rangers batter except Leonys Martin had a hit.

What it means: The Rangers won three of four from the Tigers in this series and have won five of their last seven games. They have also closed the gap to five games in the AL West, the closest they've been since May 14.

Lots of runs: Texas outscored the Tigers, 35-15, in the four-game series. They put up back-to-back games of at least 10 runs scored for the first time since August 2012. For an offense missing some key hitters, it was a solid performance. They didn't have trouble with Verlander, who posted his third straight disappointing outing. Over his last thee starts, Verlander has allowed 19 runs (16 earned) in 17 1/3 innings pitched with 28 hits allowed, seven strikeouts and nine walks.

Bottom of order (again): On Saturday, Nos. 7-9 in the order were the story. On Sunday, they were solid again. Michael Choice, Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor combined to get five hits, including a home run and two doubles.

Walking to run: After Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus each took swings on first pitches to start the game (Choo getting on first with a broken-bat single and Andrus popping out on a bunt attempt), Mitch Moreland knew he needed to make Verlander throw some pitches. Moreland took four straight balls to put two runners on. The Rangers eventually scored on Alex Rios' two-out hit. But Moreland's walk set the tone for the rest of the inning.

Balk: Colby Lewis turned to throw to second to keep Rajai Davis close in the first and was called for a balk. It appeared his left foot didn't come off the rubber, though it was difficult to tell on the replay. The balk sent Davis to third and he scored on a ground ball with one out to tie the score. The balk was the first one charged to a Rangers pitcher this year.

Choice cuts: Michael Choice, who played left field Sunday with Choo as the DH nursing a sore ankle, pounded the first pitch he saw from Verlander in the second over the left-field wall and into the Tigers' bullpen. The homer gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead and they added to it with another run in the second inning.

Big fifth: For the second straight game, the Rangers put together a big offensive inning. On Sunday, it was the fifth. All nine batters came to the plate in the frame and the club scored five runs on four hits. That included a triple from Rios and singles from Moreland, Adrian Beltre and Chirinos.

Briefly: Verlander had just one strikeout Sunday. It's the first time he's had one or fewer strikeouts in a start since 2008. ... Choo walked three times Sunday, giving him 31 on the season, good enough for top-5 in the AL. ... Texas leads the AL with 51 infield hits. All three infield hits Sunday produced runs.

Up next: RHP Nick Tepesch (1-0, 3.09 ERA) gets the Rangers started on a four-game series in Minnesota. RHP Kevin Correia (2-5, 6.52 ERA) is on the mound for the Twins. It's a 1:10 CT start on Memorial Day on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.