Berkman snaps out of slump with big bomb
JUN 10, 2013 10:19p ET
It was still sweet for him to actually get one though.
Berkman's two-run homer Monday broke a 3-3 tie with Cleveland and helped spark the Rangers to a 6-3 win to open an 11-game homestand. The club now has won consecutive games for the first time this month.
Berkman came into the game hitting just .266 and was in a 6-for-40 slump. He had gone without an extra-base hit or RBI since May 24 before swatting a 1-0 offering from Nick Hagadone 376 feet into the stands in left.
"I have enough experience to know at some point something's going to go your way and you're going to drive another run it or hit another home run eventually," Berkman said. "Anytime you're going through a rough stretch at the plate when you're slumping, it's always a relief when it finally comes, especially in a situation where it means a lot to the team."
Berkman's homer saved what could have been a deflating inning for the Rangers. The club had runners on the corners with no outs before David Murphy hit into a strange double play that ended with Jurickson Profar thrown out at third base after he went too far down the line.
But Berkman turned the downer into a positive inning with his home run. His approach to the at-bat changed after the double play.
"To me it's a more relaxing at-bat with two outs than when there's one out and a runner at third," said Berkman, who also had a single. "As funny as it sounds, when there's one out and a guy at third base you're thinking all you need is a fly ball and you've got to drive this run in. When you get to a two-out situation, you've got to get a base hit. The expectation level comes down."
The Rangers were happy their No. 3 hitter delivered on a night Texas had to come back from a 3-1 deficit. They did just that when Jeff Baker tied the game at 3 with a two-run homer off Scott Kazmir in the fourth inning.
Josh Lindblom, making his second start for the Rangers, settled down after a slow start by retiring the final 10 batters he faced. He didn't figure in the decision, but he kept Cleveland, which has now lost eight consecutive games, at bay long enough for Berkman and the cavalry to come through.
Texas manager Ron Washington had confidence Berkman would be able to get things going.
"He came up with a big one tonight," Washington said. "It was just a matter of time. He's too good not to find his swing. It would be nice if he got going and everyone else got going."
The Texas offense did show some signs of doing just that. Texas had 10 hits, with Elvis Andrus getting a pair after a 4-for-25 road trip. Baker continues to hit well; his homer was his eighth against left-handers, the most in the majors.
If Berkman can also carry over his Monday performance, that will make the lineup that much more potent.
No one doubts that's possible.
"It was big," Adrian Beltre said of the homer. "But we know what kind of hitter he is. Everybody goes through a little slump and I guess he's going through one now. But he's still swinging the bat well and he had a huge hit for us. Hopefully that will get him going too."
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