Rain is only thing slowing aggressive Rangers

DETROIT -- Nelson Cruz dusted himself off at second base Thursday after completing the back end of a double steal and looked 90 feet ahead with a big grin on his face.

Michael Young, to Cruz's surprise, had just stolen third base.

"I wasn't expecting him to take off," Cruz said. "He got me. It was a good steal. I was telling him today to teach me how to do that."

It was the right play in a close game that the Rangers ended up winning 10-3. But it was also an example of how the Rangers, all of them, have played the game en route to consecutive American League pennants and so far as they chase a third straight World Series visit.

They haven't swiped too many bases this season, but they continue to press matters with an aggressive style that applies pressure to opposing pitchers and the fielders behind them.

That's the way manager Ron Washington wants baseball to go.

"These teams we've been playing, they know we run, and they've been doing everything they can to stop us from running," Washington said. "But when they do that, they give us an advantage in other areas.

"Once they decide that they want to get the hitter, we'll start running the bases. Once they decided they want to stop us from running, we'll just keep swinging the bats."

The Rangers only ran back to their hotel Friday as rain postponed their game against Detroit. The teams will play a day-night doubleheader today at 12:05 and 6:05 p.m. at Comerica Park.

Mistakes are bound to be made with all the running the Rangers like to do, and they had a few Thursday while also stealing a season-high four bases to raise their season total to seven.

Cruz and Craig Gentry were both picked off. Gentry was safe at second as the throw from Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder went into left field, but Gentry was out at third trying to advance.

"I don't mind it," Washington said. "It's the way we play. He just misjudged what we saw. I'm not going to blame him, because I want him to stay aggressive. I just left him alone"

Gentry was later barely safe at second base after tagging up and advancing on a fly ball to deep right field.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus finally stole his first base of the season and ended up scoring in the sixth. Just as a hitter needs to find his timing early in the season, so does a base stealer.

Andrus, who has stolen more than 30 bases in all three of his big league seasons, said he's ready to getting going now that he is performing better at the plate than he was the first week of the season.

"You can't steal second base when you aren't getting on first base," Andrus said. "The more you get on base, the more you're going to get your timing. It always takes me a little time to get that timing and momentum."

Young wants to turn up the dial, too, and he has made it a priority to be more aggressive on the bases. That might not necessarily translate into a career high for stolen bases, but he wants to keep up with his teammates.

"The biggest thing is striving to make sure we're getting better," Young said. "I want to be a better base runner. If it's there, I want to make sure I'm being aggressive and taking extra bases. Moving up 90 feet is a big deal."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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