ARLINGTON — Order was restored in the Texas Rangers’ batting order Thursday as Elvis Andrus returned to the No. 2 hole against a right-handed pitcher.Andrus had batted second Wednesday against left-hander Andy Pettitte. But manager Ron Washington had been keeping Andrus lower in the lineup until he became comfortable with his swing.That has happened at the start of the second half. Andrus had a hit in all seven games, the result finally identifying some fixes on video and also clearing his mind over the All-Star break.“When you don’t feel good, no matter what you do, you’re not going to feel comfortable,” Andrus said. “I didn’t think about baseball, which was a good thing. That helped me out. That was huge.”Andrus was a .242 hitter at the end of the first half, and had seen his average dip to .237 in June. He isn’t hitting for power, though he never has, but he and Ian Kinsler have combined in the past to make a formidable 1-2 punch ahead of the meat of the order.Washington, though, had shuffled five other hitters into the spot as Andrus tried to make tweaks to his swing. Andrus had batted as low as eighth.“He’s starting to get back to shortening his stroke,” Washington said. “I won’t say that you won’t seem him down here and there, because there will be times when I have to do it. I’ve seen all the work he’s been putting in finally come together.”Perez damage controlMartin Perez has lost consecutive starts, though he didn’t get much support defensively Sunday against Baltimore.A pair of misplayed balls allowed the Orioles to score twice in the second inning and have the bases loaded with no outs.But he escaped without further damage, sitting down the top of an Orioles lineup that cause so many problems during their three-game sweep. Perez had impressed his teammates, and also given himself a shot in the arm.“I know that I can pitch here, and they know that I’m good enough to be part of the team and that I can do my job,” Perez said. “I’ve got more experience now. I know that I have to compete no matter if I’m losing. I have to concentrate so the other team doesn’t score more runs.”Ron Washington said that he didn’t need to see Perez escape trouble and keep the Rangers in the game to be convinced that the left-hander has taken another step in his development. He has kept his composure since coming back to the majors June 22.“He showed that against the Cardinals, and he showed that against Cincinnati,” Washington said. “Now, it’s just a matter of going out there and putting it together for a long period of time.” Perez returns to the mound Friday night to open at three-game weekend series at Cleveland. The Indians, second in the American League Central, took two of three games at Rangers Ballpark last month to kick-start a six-game Rangers losing streak.“I like to pitch against the best teams,” said Perez, 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA. “I feel more comfortable.”Briefly• Colby Lewis (triceps) will make his third rehab start Sunday for Double A Frisco at San Antonio. The right-hander allowed three runs in three innings Monday for Frisco, throwing 56 pitches. He will be targeting 70 pitches Sunday.• Fans were delayed from entering Rangers Ballpark after a small electrical fire on the third level. Stadium security doused the flames, which caused only minor damage, but the Arlington Fire Department responded as a precaution.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson