Rangers trust their way to a slide-ending win
ARLINGTON, Texas – The bulk of a pre-game meeting for the slumping Texas Rangers focused on the offensive players trusting in each other that the job could get done.
That trust was tested early Sunday as the Rangers followed up the meeting by seeing just 36 pitches from R.A. Dickey in the first three innings and falling into a 1-0 hole against Toronto.
But then the offense got going and at least for a day the message seemed to get across as Texas rolled off a 6-2 victory over Toronto to snap a four-game losing streak.
The victory came because the Rangers got production from everywhere in the lineup despite having just seven hits. That’s the way they know they can win games.
"We have to stick together," said Elvis Andrus, who spearheaded the players’ only meeting along with Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios. "That was the main word for us. If you didn’t do the job, trust that your teammate behind you is going to do it and don’t be the hero. Do your job. Do what you’re capable of doing and let’s all be together. Don’t put pressure on yourself that you have to do it or we’re done."
A few extra-base hits didn’t hurt the trust factor for the lineup either.
That’s what the Rangers finally got in the fourth inning.
Alex Rios ripped a two-run triple to right center to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead for the Rangers. The triple not only marked the first extra-base hit for the Rangers since Wednesday, it was the first ball the Rangers got out of the infield against Dickey.
The triple - which gave the Rangers their first lead of the series – seemed to relax the offense a little. While rookie Nick Martinez and three relievers were holding the Jays to two runs and eight hits, the offense was picking its spots.
Mitch Moreland came up big, lining a two-run homer to right in the seventh inning to snap a 2-2 tie and give the Rangers the lead for good.
The offense still isn’t where it expects to be but the extra-base hits helped an offense that is scoring at its lowest clip since 1988.
"We just wanted to go out and get back to playing Texas Rangers baseball," said Moreland, who added a double in the eighth inning on a day he ended an 0 for 12 slide. "Trusting each other as a team and knowing that we’re more than capable of going out and doing some special things this year. I think that was a good first step and we need to continue to keep it rolling."
It rolled on past the seventh inning Sunday as Texas tallied two more runs in the eighth inning on an RBI double from Shin-Soo Choo and a run-scoring single from Shin-Soo Choo.
While six runs isn’t exactly a dam-bursting number, it’s big by the 2014 Texas standards. It was the third-highest offensive output for the Rangers in May and marked just the fourth time the club has scored at least six runs since April 20.
The offense also came on a day when the pitching was once again good enough for the Rangers to have a chance to win. Nick Martinez, who was inserted back into the rotation because of the injuries to Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, worked five innings of one-run ball. Aaron Poreda allowed a run in his two innings but got the victory. Shawn Tolleson and Joakim Soria finished things off while pitching with what’s become a rarity at Globe Life Park – run support.
The trust meeting was big for the Rangers Sunday. How it plays out from here remains to be seen but at least manager Ron Washington saw flashes of what he expects out of his offense.
"There’s certainly a lot more those guys can do offensively," Washington said. "We’ve just got to keep grinding and pretty soon what we are will come to the surface. Today we did what we needed to do. We had some great at-bats against a real good knuckleballer. We worked him hard and good things happened."