Rangers' bats continue torrid August in rout of Twins

Posted Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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ARLINGTON -- The players currently swinging the bat for the Texas Rangers are largely the same group who flailed away during a dismal July at the plate.

They believed then that they were a great offense, even though they were the lowest-scoring lineup in the league, and sensed that a turnaround was just around the corner.

August hasn't been consistently great, but an offense that pulled a disappearing act in July has found itself again.

The Rangers continued to pour it on against Minnesota on Saturday.

Ian Kinsler had a leadoff homer and a bases-loaded triple, and Mitch Moreland pounded a three-run homer as the Rangers struck early en route to a 9-3 victory.

Ryan Dempster allowed two runs in six innings to win for the second time on this homestand, and the victory allowed the Rangers to maintain a six-game lead over Oakland in the American League West.

The offense is carrying the recent load.

"It's tough as an offense to have every single guy hitting at the same time, and that's what happening right now," Kinsler said. "It's tough on the opposing team when you can do that."

The Rangers have blown past their July totals with five games left before September arrives.

They batted only .243 in their 23 July games, hit 21 homers and scored a league-worst 81 runs. They played their 24th August game Saturday, and finished it with a .297 average, 28 homers and a league-best 147 runs.

Even during the lean times, the Rangers never lost faith in an offense that has produced at least eight runs in four straight games.

"We've been through it before," said outfielder David Murphy, who collected two more hits. "People that are not in this clubhouse panic at times when things are not going well. There's going to be times during a 162-game span when things don't go well. It's not like we're going to be immune to it the rest of the season, but we're in a good spot now."

The runs Saturday came in the first three innings, and started with the first batter. Kinsler took Brian Duensing deep for his fifth leadoff homer of the season, and Nelson Cruz doubled home Josh Hamilton for a two-run first inning.

All three of their runs in the second inning came on Moreland's 14th homer, a 463-footer that clanged off one of the steel beams in the upper home-run porch.

"He threw a couple sliders and gave me a fastball I could hit," Moreland said "I got the barrel on it."

The Rangers tacked on four runs in the third, with the final three coming on Kinsler's triple to the 407-foot sign in center field. Kinsler, who missed the cycle by a double, is hitting .435 with nine RBIs on the homestand.

Dempster was the beneficiary, working with a lead in five of his six innings. He was up 9-0 before Minnesota finally broke through on a solo homer by fellow Canadian Justin Morneau.

The Twins added another run in the fifth, though Dempster rallied to strike out Ben Revere, Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham to end the threat, and escaped the sixth without allowing a run after Craig Gentry threw out Morneau at home to end the inning.

Dempster needed 109 pitches to record 18 outs -- not his best start with the Rangers -- but improved to 3-1 in five outings since he was acquired from the Cubs on July 31.

"I got in a couple jams today, and the guys put up a whole bunch of runs," Dempster said. "They're doing that a lot for everybody. It seems like every day we're putting up four or five runs in an inning."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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