ARLINGTON, Texas – It takes a village to beat a pitcher like Felix Hernandez.
In baseball terms, that means contributions from up and down the lineup, which is exactly what the Rangers got in Saturday’s 15-3 win against the Seattle ace.
Specifically, the Rangers got a whopping five RBI from the number nine spot in the order shared by David Murphy and Craig Gentry.
Add in the No. 8 hitter Jurickson Profar, and seven of the Rangers’ 15 runs were driven in by the bottom two spots.
“When we can do that, that’s when we’re at our best,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Murphy drove in two runs with a double to the wall in center during a five-run second inning.
Gentry pinch-hit for Murphy in the seventh inning and drove in two more runs with a double to left field. He also had an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth. Profar drove in runs in each of the Rangers’ big innings, the second and the eight-run eighth. He also scored on a suicide squeeze with a smart slide in the second.
Although Murphy, hitting .225, hasn’t had much success this season, his success against Hernandez is nothing new. Murphy has 16 career RBI against Hernandez, the most of any player by five runs.
The 16 RBI off Hernandez are also Murphy’s high mark against any pitcher. “The more familiar you are with a guy, the more likely you are to have success,” Murphy told Fox Sports Southwest’s Jim Knox. “It’s not like we’re looking forward to facing a guy like Felix Hernandez every day, but I don’t know, maybe there’s something about it.”
It marked Murphy’s second multi-hit game since getting three hits on July 20 against Baltimore.
“It’s nice to see Murph swing the bat,” Washington said. “I’d like him to come in tomorrow and do the same thing, because it would certainly set things off if we could get Murph going. It’s been a battle for him all year, but you know he never quits.”
Gentry’s pinch-hit double came with two outs and allowed the Rangers to take four-run cushion into the eighth.
Typically a late-inning substitution for his defense, Gentry is 2-for-2 with two walks in four straight games as a pinch hitter during the homestand.
The three runs driven in by Gentry on Saturday were the most by a Rangers sub since he knocked in three on June 29 in Oakland.
All in all, the bottom of the Rangers’ batting order was at the top of its game on a night when the Mariners started Hernandez, who came in with 12 wins and a 2.28 ERA.
“Those guys were grinding against a very good pitcher,” Washington said. “They actually got it done.”