Typically after a win, the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse is overwhelmed with music blaring over the sound system. Something loud that the kids these days like, and something with a lot of bass.
But the visitors’ clubhouse Saturday night at Citi Field was strangely quiet, aside from a few laughs and a few players willingly speaking to the media.
The Rangers had won 5-3, snapping a six-game losing streak and a 10-game slide on the road. It wasn’t easy, but nothing is these days for the Rangers.
Despite winning for the first time in seven days, there was nothing to celebrate.
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The Rangers said that winning games shouldn’t be a foreign concept, even with 14 players on the disabled list and with half a roster of players who should be in the minor leagues or have been this season.
There was no relief in beating the New York Mets. Instead, it felt like there was a bit of shame that things have gotten so bad that a win should be celebrated.
“I don’t think we should be so excited to get a win,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “The last two weeks have been difficult. We haven’t been playing the way we wanted to, but hopefully today is the day it turns and we play better baseball.
“It should be routine. It’s not a relief. It’s something we should be doing. We should be winning more ballgames. I know about all the injuries, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. We should be playing better. That’s what we expect.”
Robinson Chirinos hit a three-run homer in a four-run first inning, Beltre contributed a solo blast in the third and Colby Lewis allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings as the Rangers won for the first time since a 5-0 victory June 28 against Minnesota.
Of course, it wasn’t easy, nor was it completed quickly.
What else is new, aside from actually winning the game?
The Rangers led 5-0 after their third time at the plate, then couldn’t do anything with seven hits over the final six innings.
The bullpen was thinned out to the point that a pinch hitter for Lewis was eschewed with a runner at third and two outs in the sixth inning so that he could pitch another frame.
Manager Ron Washington wanted to win so badly that he started to warm closer Joakim Soria in the eighth after Neal Cotts and Shawn Tolleson walked the first two Mets in that inning.
The Mets brought the potential tying run to the plate twice in the ninth against Soria, who hadn’t pitched in six games and had allowed five runs in his past two outings.
But just enough offense and just enough pitching were just enough.
“We finally put some runs on the board,” Washington said. “That’s what we needed to do, and we needed to pitch better. That’s what we did tonight, especially Colby.”
Chirinos capped the Rangers’ biggest first-inning output since late 2012 with an opposite-field homer off Bartolo Colon for a 4-0 lead after Alex Rios had driven in the game’s first run with a one-out double.
Two innings later, Beltre launched his team-leading 11th homer to extend the advantage, but then the Rangers had to hang on over the next six innings.
Lewis, though, was up to the task. The Mets had scored twice in the third and had the bases loaded with one out when Lewis (6-5) did his best pitching. He struck out home run threat Lucas Duda and got Juan Lagares to ground into a fielder’s choice to keep the Rangers up 5-2.
Lewis, despite pitching well for a second straight start and winning for the first time since June 16, didn’t take much joy in the win, either.
“You always want to build off what happened in the previous game,” said Lewis, who didn’t walk a batter for the third straight start. “So we want to go out there and win tomorrow. We’ve got to keep running guys out there and keep staying healthy.”
Maybe two or three straight wins will bring the music back. One was nothing special, the Rangers said.
It’s what they’re supposed to be doing.
“We finally win a ballgame, but we’ve got to win more than just today,” Washington said. “It’s nice to get a win, but we’ve got to come back tomorrow and we’ve got to continue to get consistent and put some runs on the board and pitch.”