ARLINGTON, Texas — Not even Miguel Cabrera can kill the high the Texas Rangers are riding on right now.
He did his best to Sunday night.
The Detroit slugger smashed three home runs for the Tigers, but it wasn’t enough as the Rangers rallied twice to win 11-8 and take three of four games in the series.
It wasn’t a good start for Derek Holland or the first three relievers that followed him, but the offense got them all off the hook as the Rangers rapped out 18 hits and scored 10 runs over a three-inning span.
The slugfest victory lifted the Rangers to 29-15 and holders of the best record in baseball heading into their three-game series starting Monday night against Oakland.
“We got the final blow and were able to sustain,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “It was a good ballgame, a real good ballgame.”
It was a ballgame in which the Rangers needed every offensive player and seven pitchers to try and quell Cabrera, who hit a three-run homer in the third, a solo homer in the fifth and another solo shit in the eighth. He also singled and then was intentionally walked. Even that move backfired for Texas as Prince Fielder followed with a three-run double in the sixth inning.
But despite the third three-run homer game of Cabrera’s career, the marquee performance came in a loss. Texas answered a deflating top of the sixth in which Detroit scored three times to take a 7-5 lead with four runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth.
David Murphy’s three-run homer to right gave Texas the lead for good and the Rangers continued to add on with three more in the seventh, providing a big enough hurdle that not even Cabrera could get over.
“However it was, we won the game and that’s the bottom line,” said Adrian Beltre, who had a pair of bloop doubles on his way to a 4-for-5 night that included two RBIs. “We’d like to make them easier than that but we ended up getting a win against a team that’s really good offensively and has a good pitching staff. We’re happy to take three of four in the series.”
And get Cabrera out of town.
Washington said he’d be happy when Cabrera was at the airport. That was a sentiment shared in the Texas clubhouse after his three homers totaled 1,250 feet and he went 9-for-16 in the series.
“He can’t hit,” Beltre joked. “We know that. He had three bloopers today. He’s unbelievable. He’s fun to watch. It doesn’t matter how you pitch him.”
Derek Holland found that out in the third inning. And again in the fifth inning. Even Tanner Scheppers, who had allowed just one run all season, wasn’t immune to Cabrera’s exploits as he fell victim in the eighth inning.
But while Holland, Derek Lowe and Michael Kirkman struggled to get outs Sunday, the back of the bullpen was able to calm things down as the Tigers had just one run in the final three innings.
Robbie Ross, the fifth Texas pitcher, registered the win on a night when the Tigers had 13 hits.
“We had hitters out there crushing the ball,” said Ross, who is 2-0 with a 0.46 ERA. “It’s nice knowing we’ve got our guys swinging and we’re out there batting. Everybody’s out there trying to do what they have to do to help the team win.”
Sunday night that meant scoring in waves.
The Rangers were able to do that behind 18 hits. It didn’t start that way as Texas trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. But five hits later — with Beltre’s two-run blooper to right the key — the Rangers were in the lead.
Cabrera made sure that didn’t last in the top of the sixth but the Rangers again answered in the bottom half with Murphy’s homer turning the tide and making Cabrera’s heroics a nice afterthought.
“We kept putting innings together and tonight we were able to deliver,” Washington said. “It was a great team win overall on the offensive side. We played great defense and the bullpen did a great job also. We got away with the win.”