Rangers’ Kouzmanoff keeps hit streak alive with home run
ARLINGTON, Texas â A crowd of 44,811 showed up to Globe Life Park on Saturday for Yu Darvish Bobblehead Night.
If Kevin Kouzmanoff keeps hitting like he has been, he might need a bobblehead night of his own.
Kouzmanoff, filling in at third for an injured Adrian Beltre, hit a vital home run in the eighth inning Saturday to hold off the White Sox, 6-3.
Chicago had just scored two runs in the top of the eighth to pull within two. Kouzmanoff’s 376-foot drive over the left field wall gave the Rangers some breathing room going into the ninth.
The homer also gave Kouzmanoff a 10-game hitting streak to begin his Rangers career, the second-longest such streak in team history. Fred Manrique holds the record with an 11-game hit streak in his first 11 with the Rangers in 1989.
Kouzmanoff actually has a 12-game hitting streak going, dating back to 2011. He spent 2012 and 2013 in Triple-A for the Royals and Marlins, respectively.
Now getting a chance to play every day with the Rangers, Kouzmanoff is hitting .395 with nine RBI. His two homers are tied with Robinson Chirinos and Prince Fielder for the team lead.
"Fortunately I’ve been getting good pitches to hit and hitting them hard," Kouzmanoff said. "I think we all have."
Kouzmanoff is a career .258 hitter over seven major league seasons. He hit .275 for the Padres in 2007 and the most homers he’s hit were 23 in 2008. He’s also had two 18-homer seasons.
The odds say that Kouzmanoff’s hot streak at the plate will eventually cool down, but for now the Rangers couldn’t ask for much more while Beltre (strained quad) waits to come off the disabled list April 24.
"[He’s] come up big for us all the time, on both ends," manager Ron Washington said. "He plays the game. He runs the bases. He plays defense. Smart player. He gets hits.
"One thing he don’t do, he don’t go up there and get cheated. When he sees something he likes, he lets the bat go."
Kouzmanoff acknowledged he’s starting to hear some "Kooz!" cheers from the stands.
"Yeah, it’s good. Good support," said Kouzmanoff, who was impressed by the size of the crowd.
"I saw up there on the scoreboard [the attendance was] 45,000. To get this kind of support tonight, it’s awesome. A lot of red, white and blue out there."
And perhaps one day, a lot of Kouzmanoff bobbleheads being handed out, too.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire