ARLINGTON, Texas — Moving up in the batting order was intended to get a slumping David Murphy more involved in the action. You can’t get more involved than Murphy’s 3-run homer in the sixth inning Sunday night.
The blast to right field gave the Rangers the lead for good in a tumultuous 11-8 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Murphy moved up to the No. 2 spot in the order the day before in a shuffling caused by an injury to leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler.
“Hitting him down in the order when he’s struggling there, he has to wait too long to get to the action,” manager Ron Washington said. “I moved up there to get him a chance to get involved early and he came up big for us tonight.”
With two outs in the sixth, Murphy connected on an inside fastball to give the Rangers an 8-7 lead.
“I just basically reacted,” Murphy said. “It got in on me a little bit, but I got just enough of it.”
The home run could be a sign Murphy is breaking out of the doldrums. He came into the game hitting just .205, and that’s after hitting .297 in his previous 13 games to improve from .168.
“I don’t think you can really take a bad swing and hit a home run, so it’s always going to be a good sign,” Murphy said. “But today is one day. I can be happy about it for right now, but when I wake up in the morning I’ve got to wake up and do it all over again.”
When Murphy wakes up, he will still be the No. 2 hitter in the lineup. Washington said he will hit Murphy second for the foreseeable future – Kinsler was just placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Murphy had been hitting mostly fifth and seventh, with some appearances at sixth and eighth mixed in. Murphy isn’t so sure hitting second has helped his swing, but so far it hasn’t hurt.
“It’s fun to be in the middle of the action, and that’s going to happen more when you’re hitting up in the order,” Murphy said. “But nothing changes. If you’re leading off an inning or if there’s nobody on base, you’re trying to start something. If there’s guys on base, you try to move them or drive them in. It’s the game of baseball, nothing changes.”
But the Rangers also know Murphy is capable of changing from a deep slump into a hitter who, at his hottest, is capable of lifting the offense to another level.
“We just need David to keep fighting and keep going, and I know he will,” Washington said. “And pretty soon things will turn for him.”