They hadn’t had multiple home runs in a home game since April 19. They hadn’t had a starter outside of Yu Darvish turn in a quality start since April 27. And their closer, Joakim Soria, hadn’t had a save opportunity since May 2.
Those, along with injuries, help explain the recent state of the Texas Rangers, who went from a first-place club to a fourth-place club in less than a month.
But those trends were stopped at least for a day in the Rangers’ 4-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday afternoon.
Elvis Andrus and Shin-Soo Choo went deep; Nick Tepesch allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings; and Soria saved his first game in nearly three weeks.
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It gave the Rangers their second win in the past three games and they are hoping to carry that momentum into an 11-game, 11-day road trip starting in Detroit on Thursday.
“We feel good, everybody is relaxed a little more,” Andrus said.
Said manager Ron Washington: “I don’t think you could have written it up any better. We did exactly what we had to do.”
The Rangers had been reeling of late in all phases, particularly offense. They had scored two or fewer runs in nine of their previous 14 games, but got off to a surprising strong start.
Daniel Robertson drew a leadoff walk in the first, the team’s first leadoff man to reach base in the first inning since May 4.
Andrus followed with his second homer of the season, a two-run shot, and Alex Rios had an RBI single later in the inning.
That lead made it easier on Tepesch, who was making his second start. He faced the minimum through three innings before faltering in the fourth.
Tepesch gave up a leadoff triple to James Jones to start the inning. Jones scored on a single by Michael Saunders and then Robinson Cano delivered a game-tying, two-run shot that narrowly cleared the center-field fence.
“I got out of my lanes a little bit [in the fourth],” Tepesch said. “Left some pitches up over the plate.”
But Tepesch settled down after that and the Rangers regained the lead an inning later.
Choo led off the fifth by depositing an 0-2 slider from Mariners righty Chris Young into the opposing bullpen for the go-ahead run.
It was Choo’s team-leading fifth home run and the first time the Rangers had multiple home runs at home since April 19 against the White Sox.
Off his bat, though, Choo didn’t know if he had enough on it to clear the left-center field fence, but he said the ball was “flying out” of Globe Life Park more than usual.
“The ball carried today,” Choo said. “[During the at-bat], I was thinking more about getting on base so something good can happen. I had two strikes, so I just tried to hit something hard.”
Tepesch and three relievers made that one-run lead stand, surviving a scare in the seventh.
Tepesch recorded the first out and assured Washington he was feeling strong enough to get out of the seventh. But Tepesch walked the next two batters, forcing Washington to turn to left-hander Robbie Ross.
Ross, making his relief debut after being dropped from the rotation, needed only two pitches to end the threat, inducing a double play by pinch-hitter Stefen Romero.
“Robbie bailed me out,” Washington said, smiling.
Neal Cotts and Soria pitched the final two innings to give the Rangers a much-needed victory.
Now it’s about building off it and sustaining a winning streak on the road.
“We’re still a good team, no doubt,” Choo said. “I believe in this team. Hopefully everyone stays healthy and the injured players come back and we’ll be a better team.”