The primary reason for the Texas Rangers’ wild success the past three weeks, according to manager Ron Washington, is that all 25 players are making a contribution.
That’s not a stretch, either, now that Adam Rosales has finally made his debut since joining the Rangers on two separate occasions.
Their win Saturday night proved Washington right, as nearly half their runs were produced by the bottom two spots in the order and as a member of the rotation overcame a rough start to keep alive an impressive streak.
David Murphy and Craig Gentry each delivered a key two-run double from the No. 9 spot in the lineup, No. 8 hitter Jurickson Profar drove in two more runs, and Martin Perez turned in seven strong innings as the Rangers beat Seattle 15-3 and toppled Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez for the third time this season.
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The Rangers scored eight times in the eighth inning, and included in the late barrage was an RBI from Rosales as the Mariners misplayed a double-play grounder.
“You look for your horses in the middle of the lineup to do the majority of the damage,” Murphy said. “But there are nine guys up there for a reason, and if you can become a complete offense 1 through 9, you’ve given yourself a lot more chances to score runs.
“The thing that I’ve liked the last few weeks is that we’ve used every bit of our 27 outs. This offense is not content until the last out is made, and that’s been the key to our performance.”
The final run total was a season-high for the Rangers, who had 10 players score a run. It was the fourth time in club history that the Rangers had scored 15 runs in a game without a homer and the first time it had happened in a home game since June 3, 1977.
But they were down 2-0 before they scored five times against Hernandez in the second. His old pal, Adrian Beltre, opened with a single as the first three Rangers reached before Geovany Soto struck out.
Profar collected a single to drive in the first run, and Murphy was next with a double off the base of the center-field wall for a 3-2 lead. Leonys Martin followed with a squeeze bunt that only went about three feet, but Profar snuck home for another run.
A single by Elvis Andrus finished off the rally. He’s a lifetime .281 hitter against Hernandez, but Murphy is at .329 and has more RBIs (16) against Hernandez than any other player.
“It’s not like when I see we’re playing the Mariners, and I’m like, ‘Yes, we’re facing Felix,’” Murphy said. “Things have worked out in my favor against him.”
Kyle Seager hit a one-out homer in the third off Perez to cut the Rangers’ lead to 5-3, but the left-hander allowed only three more hits and a walk over his final four-plus innings.
He retired nine of 10 at one point and was at only 97 pitches when he was removed after a leadoff single in the eighth. The effort by Perez (6-3) extended the starters’ streak of consecutive games with no more than four runs allowed to 20, the club’s longest run since 1991.
“He didn’t let the game get away from him, and that’s part of his growth,” Washington said. “He kept his poise out there.”
By then, the Rangers were up 7-3 thanks to Gentry’s two-out double in the seventh as a pinch hitter for Murphy. After Neal Cotts got out of the eighth, the first five Rangers reached in the bottom half, and each scored en route to the Rangers’ biggest inning at Rangers Ballpark this season.
Ian Kinsler had a two-run double, but he said the key was getting to Hernandez. He is 0-3 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts this year against the Rangers and 12-3 with a 1.98 ERA in 21 starts against other teams.
“We got to him, and it set the tone right there,” Kinsler said. “Perez did a great job minimizing damage, and it turned out to be a pretty fun game for us.”