Rangers don’t waste time in ending losing streak

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers found the best way to shake off a three-game losing streak and two days without playing baseball.

Pummel the opposing starting pitcher.

The Rangers did just that Thursday, chasing former Ranger Brandon McCarthy before he could get out of the third inning as the Rangers pounded Arizona 9-5.

Texas scored six times off McCarthy in 2 2/3 innings, with Mitch Moreland’s two-run homer keying a four-run third inning. By the time McCarthy exited, the thoughts of the team’s first losing streak of more than three games since last July were long gone.

Of course the Rangers weren’t thinking about their losing streak coming into Thursday’s game.

“Honestly I hadn’t even thought about us losing three games,” said Moreland’s, whose 11th homer of the season hit the foul pole in right. “I don’t think there’s any urgency. We’re going to go out and play our style of baseball. We got out of it for a couple of games but we came back out today and made it work.”

It also helped that rookie right-hander Justin Grimm made it work too. Grimm sailed through the first five innings Thursday, allowing just four singles and not walking a batter. He ran into trouble in the sixth inning as the Diamondbacks touched him for three runs and four hits.

But by that time, the offense had scored all nine of its runs and Grimm was able to turn the game over to a well-rested bullpen after six innings with his third-consecutive win safely in hand.

“He threw the ball well,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He wasn’t in a whole lot of trouble but when they looked like they were trying to mount something, he was able to make pitches and get out of it. In that sixth inning, they strung some hits together and put some runs on the board. Other than that, he certainly was throwing the ball extremely well out there.”

It helped that Grimm was in control, as he didn’t walk a batter and didn’t allow a homer for a third-consecutive start. That makes giving up eight hits a little easier to take.

“That’s the name of the game,” Grimm said. “You feel like if you don’t give them any free passes, things tend to work out for you. A lot of base hits are just because the ball is up over the plate. It’s something I need to go to work for sure, to get the ball down.”

Grimm (5-3) didn’t have to be perfect as the Texas offense rapped out 15 hits with every starter getting at least one. David Murphy hit a solo homer in the fourth inning and the Rangers added two more runs in the fifth on a single from Elvis Andrus.

Rookie Jurickson Profar had a career high three hits too.

McCarthy came into Thursday on a roll, allowing just four earned runs over his last four starts. That didn’t matter against the Rangers though, which made Grimm’s job a lot easier.

“It’s huge,” Grimm said of the run support he got Thursday. “It’s huge for the team in general. Obviously it keeps me very comfortable when you’ve got a big lead you don’t try to be as fine. It’s helped me a lot in the past couple of games. Runs come and they go. Sometimes they’re on your side and sometimes they’re not.”

Grimm wasn’t the only pitcher to shine Thursday. Neal Cotts continued to sparkle in his brief time with the Rangers. After Michael Kirkman was ineffective in the seventh inning, Cotts came in and retired all four batters he faced.

In five games with the Rangers opponents are hitting just .125 against Cotts and he has eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.

“He’s a big part of the bullpen as he showed that again today,” Washington said. “He came in and we needed the side finished off and he struck out the side. Then he went back out and gave us another inning. Neal is throwing the ball well and he throws strikes. He attacks hitters.”