ARLINGTON, Texas – It took 16 games but the Texas Rangers offense that people had grown accustomed to seeing at Rangers Ballpark finally showed up.
Texas, which hadn’t scored more than three runs in an inning all year, broke through with the big inning Friday against Seattle and cruised to a 7-0 victory.
Of course with Yu Darvish on the mound, the big inning wasn’t really needed. But it sure was a welcome sight for a club that had been scuffling at the plate and had scored 17 runs total in the last seven games.
“We know what we’re capable of as an offense,” said second baseman Ian Kinsler, who had an RBI double in the six-run fifth. “We were able to break through in the fifth. That was big for Yu and big for our club. I think we all want to get it going earlier. The fifth inning, we’ll take it. As an offense we want to make sure we’re focused on the game every at-bat, every inning, make sure we’re pounding guys from the get go.”
The Rangers had just one run in the first four innings against Seattle lefty Joe Saunders, whose last start at Rangers Ballpark eliminated the Rangers from the postseason last year. But in the fifth Texas sent 10 batters to the plate, had a season-high five hits in an inning and four hits with runners in scoring position.
Texas got it from everywhere in the order as A.J. Pierzynski had a two-run single, David Murphy an RBI groundout, Craig Gentry a two-run triple and Kinsler an RBI double to left.
The hits came from players who needed them too, which could also get the offense going. Murphy had just two hits vs. left-handers coming into the game but had two Friday, including a double in the third. Gentry’s two RBI were the first from a Texas centerfielder this year.
Now the club has to try and build off what they hope is a dam-bursting performance.
“We haven’t really been performing offensively like we know we can,” said Gentry, who also had a double. “It’s good to come home and start the series off swinging the bats a little bit. I feel like that inning showed what we can do. We brought our bats out a little bit today and that’s something good to see.”
Also good to see for the Rangers was another solid start by Darvish. He pitched seven shutout innings and struck out 10. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in an outing this year and now leads the majors with 38 strikeouts.
Darvish (3-1), who threw 111 pitches, also showed no ill effects from a pesky blister that had hampered him early this season. He also was able to beat a Seattle team that handed him a loss last week in Seattle.
He struck out the side twice and the Mariners managed just three hits against him. It turned out to be solid effort for him after he needed 42 pitches to get through the first two innings.
“The good points were after the second inning I was able to command my fastball and get strikes with my fastball and get a lot of ground balls,” said Darvish, who now is tied for fifth in club history with 10 games with at least 10 strikeouts. “I wasn’t able to do that the last outing, so I think I was able to confuse the Mariners lineup with the different kind of pitching style that I did today.”
Maybe having Darvish on the mound is key for the Texas offense. The Rangers have scored seven runs (a season high) three times this season. All three of them have come in Darvish starts.