Rangers, Young finally produce with clutch hits
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rangers finally got a big inning Friday, although it lacked the usual big hits.
After struggling to score the last two games, the Rangers plated five runs and batted around in the fifth inning of a 6-2 win over the Astros.
But instead of mixing in a homer or a couple of doubles, the Rangers produced five straight singles in the inning. The hits were big only in importance, not length.
“Singles work when you get guys on base,” designated hitter Michael Young said. “That’s one thing that we try to stress to ourselves, not to try to do too much. We know we have the ability to hit balls in gaps, hit the ball out of the ballpark and knock in runs. But a lot of times singles work. Tonight was an example of that.”
Young had one of the biggest hits during the rally, an RBI single to right that got the scoring started. Until that moment, the Rangers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and had left runners stranded at second or third in all four innings.
“We like to think ourselves as a dynamic offense,” said outfielder David Murphy, who drove in two runs. “Some days we can hit the three-run homer, but we like doing the little things and getting some big singles with runners in scoring position, and we kind of did that tonight.”
The singles started only after an error and a hit-by-pitch put two runners on to start the inning.
Considering the Rangers had been held to one and three runs in their last two games, any opportunity to spark the offense was a welcome one.
Ian Kinsler led off by grounding to third, but he wound up at second when Chris Johnson’s throw bounced into the stands. Elvis Andrus followed and was grazed by a pitch to set up Young’s RBI single.
“Kinsler put a ball in play, they made an error and we took advantage of it,” manager Ron Washington said. “For a minute there, it looked like [Astros starter Jordan] Lyles was on his way, but we kept grinding out at-bats and some good things happened for us and we put some runs on the board.”
Young had been 3 for his last 27 in run-producing situations when he came up. He was batting in the No. 3 spot only because Josh Hamilton was out with an intestinal virus.
After Young’s RBI broke the ice, the Rangers also scored runs on bloop hits by Nelson Cruz and Yorvit Torrealba. The Rangers’ only extra-base hit of the night was a homer by Mitch Moreland in the eighth.
“He[Young] finally came through,” Washington said. “Once he came through it became contagious. And then we just started swinging the bats pretty good, although a couple of them were dunkers. But in the boxscore they’ll look like they were line drives. Dunkers count, too.”
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire