Since getting blown out June 13, the Texas Rangers have gotten creative.
They have won via a blowout, won with power, won with brilliant starting pitching and won when their starting pitcher hasn’t been very good.
They have won with a clutch pinch hit and won when their worn-out bullpen has been asked to carry another heavy load.
But the common theme has been that the Rangers are winning and keep winning. They found another way to do it Monday night.
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Ian Desmond homered, Shin-Soo Choo drove in two runs and the bullpen logged 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Derek Holland to lift the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Even though when we get down, we’ve seen it: It’s the battling at-bats, the attack early, the solid defense, our pitchers giving our defenders the opportunity to make plays, and then you see it on the basepaths.
Manager Jeff Banister on another Rangers comeback victory
The win was the Rangers’ seventh in a row, their MLB-leading 23rd come-from-behind win and their 17th by one run. They are 15-4 this month and have won 10 consecutive series.
“It’s finding ways to win,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We go into these games with plans. Plans on how we’re going to attack hitters. Plans on how we’re going to attack pitchers. Defensive alignments.
“Even though when we get down, we’ve seen it: It’s the battling at-bats, the attack early, the solid defense, our pitchers giving our defenders the opportunity to make plays, and then you see it on the basepaths.
“We like to think that we’re some sort of juggernaut offense, but the realization is we’re an offense that continues to grind on pitchers and just wear them down. Eventually we get the big knock that puts us on top, and with the bullpen we have, we turn it over to them and let those guys work.”
The Rangers trailed 3-0 after two innings as Derek Holland labored for a third straight start. Holland worked around two two-out singles in the first inning but allowed three runs in the second as the Orioles opened with a single and double for one run and then singled and doubled with two outs for two more.
They appeared to be ready for another big inning in the third, which started with a walk and two singles to load the bases. They had eight hits at that point, and Holland had recorded only four outs.
Holland, though, appeared to find whatever had been missing, maybe since as far back as his June 10 start at Seattle. He struck out J.J. Hardy and got Nolan Reimold to bounce into a double play to end the Orioles’ threat.
Holland worked a scoreless fourth, too, providing a shutdown inning after Desmond’s homer gave the Rangers their first run with two outs in the third.
The Rangers were back in it, and they pounced on the chance Holland had given them by scoring three times in the fourth. Prince Fielder started things with a walk, and he moved to third after consecutive one-out singles by Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland.
Fielder scored as Bobby Wilson outlasted Kevin Gausman by delivering a sacrifice fly to end a 10-pitch plate appearance in which he fouled away seven two-strike pitches.
“That’s who Bobby is,” Banister said.
Choo was next, and his rope off the right-field wall scored two and gave the Rangers their first lead.
Holland lasted two more batters, walking one, before giving way to Shawn Tolleson after 91 pitches.
“It was time,” Banister said. “Our guys had done a great job and got rewarded, and stop whatever we needed to stop. Obviously, it’s not perfect and we can’t continue to do that.”
These guys shored themselves up. They’re doing the things we thought they’d be able to do coming out of spring training.
Jeff Banister on the Rangers bullpen
Tolleson (2-2) got the final two outs of the fifth and worked a scoreless sixth, and Tony Barnette worked two innings as Matt Bush got a night off before Sam Dyson wiggled out of trouble in the ninth.
Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo were at first and third after one-out singles, but Dyson struck out Matt Wieters and got Jonathan Schoop to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end it.
The Rangers had found another way to win a ballgame. Give a nod to the bullpen.
“These guys shored themselves up,” Banister said. “They’re doing the things we thought they’d be able to do coming out of spring training.”
Rangers vs. Reds
7:05 p.m. Tuesday, FSSW