ARLINGTON, Texas â The positive vibes for the Texas Rangers started in the bottom of the first when Rougned Odor, inserted into the leadoff spot earlier in the day, drew a nine pitch leadoff walk.
They didn’t end there.
The offense was clicking throughout the game and Nick Martinez put together another stellar start as the Rangers pounded the Los Angeles Angels 8-2.
It was a textbook kind of game for manager Jeff Banister. The Rangers worked Angels starter Drew Rucinski. They made solid defensive plays. And then they got the pitching from Martinez (2-0), who hasn’t allowed an earned run in either of his starts.
But it really all started with a walk from Odor, who eventually came around to score the game’s first run.
"The first at-bat by Odor, seeing that many pitches, and then get on first and get on second, for me that was the key for us besides Nick’s performance today," Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "It was fun and great to see that first inning and we didn’t stop. We kept going. We kept pushing. That’s what we need to do this year."
Andrus had a hand in the offense too, collecting the first team homer at Globe Life Park with a solo homer in the sixth inning. That homer snapped a 481 at-bat homerless streak for Andrus, which was the longest in the majors.
He wasn’t the only Texas player to have a big night at the plate. Robinson Chirinos, who was batting .077 entering the game, had a three-run homer later in the sixth and finished the night with five RBI as the Rangers raised their team batting average from .199 to .213 following their 11-hit night.
The Rangers forced Rucinski to throw 77 pitches in 2 2/3 innings before getting to the Los Angeles bullpen for four more runs.
While the club’s team batting average was going up, Martinez’s ERA was staying at a perfect 0.00 after he worked out of trouble in each of the first two innings.
Martinez allowed five hits, walked three and struck out just one. But he was at his best in crucial situations. He worked out of a first-and-second jam in the first inning and then after the Rangers had given him a 1-0 lead, he escaped trouble again in the second.
A walk, a double and a hit batter loaded the bases for Los Angeles with just one out. But Martinez got Erick Aybar to hit a double-play grounder second to end that inning.
The Rangers responded to the Martinez work with three runs on the bottom of the second, with a two-run double from Chirinos the big blow.
That was more than enough support for Martinez, who became just the third starter in club history to open the season with back-to-back starts of at least seven innings and no earned runs allowed. He did that because of his early-inning work.
"You just got to stick to the game plan," Martinez said. "Try not to get out of your vibes and stay with it. Attacking them, moving the fastball in and out, up and down like I normally do and attack when I have to. It’s great when they come out and swing the bats like that. When they’re swinging the bat hot like that I do my best to try and get them back in the dugout."