Rangers’ big innings overcoming slow starts

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rangers would prefer to get big games, not just
big innings, from their offense, but they’ll take what they can get for now.

The Rangers used another big inning, this time a seven-run sixth, to win 9-3
and sweep a home series from the Houston Astros on Sunday.

The Rangers went 5-1 on the homestand and had innings of five runs or more in
the four of the six games against the Diamondbacks and Astros.

While the casual fan might see a big inning as a sign of an explosive offense,
the Rangers tend to dwell on the scoreless innings leading up to the
explosions.

“It seemed like this whole homestand it took us a while for the offense to
get going,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “It’s really not the way
you to draw it up, with big innings like that. You kind of want to score
consistently. But you know, it works, and we are having that big inning.”

Sunday’s game followed the same pattern this weekend against the Astros:
struggle for four or five innings, then erupt.

This time it was an Astros pitcher making his major league debut who shut out
the Rangers for five innings. Dallas Keuchel worked out of bases-loaded jams in
the third and fourth innings before Kinsler hit a bases-clearing triple in the
sixth to tilt the game in the Rangers’ favor.

“I would describe it as us grinding, keep putting the pressure on, and
then something good happens,” manager Ron Washington said. “And today
it was Kinsler. It got us a triple, and from that point on it began to fall
into place.”

One reason for the offensive grind is the absence of slugger Josh Hamilton, who
missed the Astros series with a viral infection. Without his presence in the
lineup, the Rangers were still able to produce a five-run inning Friday, a
five-run inning Saturday and then Sunday’s seven-run inning.

The Rangers have generated a major league leading 14 innings of five runs or
more this season.

“We’ve just got to keep grinding,” Washington said. “We know
we’re out of synch. But you know, we were able to put up nine runs today. I’m
happy with that.”

After Kinsler jump-started the offense with his three-run triple, Michael Young
singled in two runs and scored on Adrian Beltre’s two-run homer for a 7-1 Texas
lead.

The Rangers managed to display the dynamic offense they strive to be. They just
did it all in one inning.

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire