Texas offense continues to pummel foes

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers may be in an offensive slump.

They went scoreless after the third inning Saturday against the Minnesota Twins.

Of course, that was after the Rangers jumped out to a nine-run lead on their way to a 9-3 victory over the Twins.

Texas has now scored at least eight runs in the last four games, just the sixth time in club history that’s happened and the longest since they did it six times in a row in 2008.

If the Rangers keep going like they are now, that mark figures to be in jeopardy.

“It’s tough as an offense to have every single guy rolling at the same time, and right now that’s happening,” said Ian Kinsler, who got things started in the first with a leadoff homer off Brian Duensing. “We’re all having quality at-bats, one after another. Whether you’re making an out or not, it seems like we’re seeing a lot of pitches, making a pitcher work one through nine. It’s tough on the opposing team when you’re able to do that.”

They did it again Saturday as they moved 24 games over .500 and matched the 1999 team for the best mark at this point in team history at 75-51.

Texas scored two runs in the first, three in the second and then four in the third. And just as Kinsler said, it was a complete effort from everywhere in the lineup. Leadoff hitter Kinsler finished a double shy of the cycle one day after Adrian Beltre hit for the cycle.

No. 9 hitter Mitch Moreland, who got a rare start against a left-hander, had the game’s big blow on a 460-foot, three-run homer to right in the second inning. Every hitter Saturday but Beltre had at least one hit, and the Nos. 5-9 hitters accounted for eight hits, four RBIs and scored six times.

“What’s happening now is we’re back to up and down the lineup,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “We’re sending nine guys up there that’s capable of getting the job done, and that’s what we’ve been doing. When we do that, that’s when we’re really at our best.”

The Rangers have feasted on opposing pitchers during the 5-1 start to their homestand, hitting at a .337 clip with 47 runs. Saturday starter Ryan Dempster has been the beneficiary in two of those games.

Dempster, who struggled to get any offensive support when he was pitching for the Chicago Cubs earlier this season, allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings. Dempster, who struck out seven and walked two, wasn’t perfect Saturday. But now that he’s been here for nearly a month, he’s finding out that with the offense behind him, perfection isn’t necessary.

“I think they’re doing that a lot for everybody,” said Dempster, who has allowed just three earned runs in his last 14 innings. “The bats are just on fire. It seems like every day we’re putting up four or five in an inning. Your game plan is still the same. What it does is give you a little leeway where one run isn’t necessarily going to change the game. I’m sure there’s going to be games where that’s going to happen.”

Saturday wasn’t one of those. The Rangers have outscored Minnesota 27-9 in the series, and players like Moreland have played a big role.

Washington said before Saturday’s game that he was throwing Moreland “a bone” by starting him against a left-hander because Moreland’s been hitting the ball so well recently. Moreland made that move pay off by extending his hitting streak to eight games in the second inning. He’s got two homers and 10 RBIs on the homestand.

Moreland didn’t see anything special about getting a start Saturday. He just wanted to hold up his end of the offensive bargain.

“I got ready just like I do every day, and I just want to do what I can to help the team win,” said Moreland, who acknowledged watching the third-longest homer ever hit at Rangers Ballpark. “We’re swinging the bat really well right now. As a whole, one through nine, there are really no breaks.  We’re getting it done. It doesn’t matter who’s up in any situation.”