Texas Rangers

Rangers reaction: Napoli leads homer barrage against Mariners

The gangs all here and it’s getting fun again at Globe Life Park.

The Texas Rangers scored 10 runs for the second consecutive day as they beat up the Seattle Mariners 10-4 again Saturday afternoon.

It’s the first time Texas has scored 10 or more runs in consecutive games in 2017. Coincidence? Or does having a healthy lineup for the first time this season make it inevitable?

More on the offensive fireworks below, but first here’s a reminder of where the Rangers stand on June 17.

They’re over .500 (34-33) for the first time since May 24. They’re back in second place in the American League West and have won seven of their past eight and eight of their past 10. In short: they’re playing some really good baseball after struggling for much of April and May.

Here’s the Saturday edition of the Rangers reaction:

1. Nap is back — Mike Napoli reminded Rangers’ fans why they were so happy he returned to the club this off-season. In his second game back from the disabled list, he homered twice and drove in four runs. He’s now hitting over .200 and has 13 homers and 29 RBIs for the season. It’s the 16th multi-homer game of his career and second in 2017. He also did it May 11.

2. That’s offensive! — The Rangers’ offense is letting it rip against the Mariners. They’ve scored 20 runs on 23 hits, including six homers, in two games. They hit four or more homers in a game for the third time in ’17. They hit three homers in an inning (the sixth Saturday) for the third time since the start of the 2014 season. They’ve scored 10 or more runs in consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 3, 2016. They had two five-run innings in the same game for the first time since Aug. 3, 2015, against the Astros. Rougned Odor has five homers in his past 10 games after homering just once in the 26 previous games. He is hitting .300 in his last 12 games.

3. How did wrestling videos help Yu Darvish? — During his June 2 start against the Astros, Yu Darvish’s pitch count rose quickly as the Astros’ batters took a lot of pitches and fouled off many more. Darvish had to leave the game after throwing 104 pitches in five innings. “I was able to shut them out until the fourth inning, but I didn’t feel that I was winning (against the batters).”

The outing annoyed Darvish, who starts the finale against the Mariners on Sunday. He sought advice from several people, including his wife, Seiko. It was pointed out to Darvish that he was no longer an unknown commodity to major league hitters. He was told to look closer at his own tendencies on the mound and the tendencies of opposing batters. Seiko, an amateur wrestler with four world titles, agreed with this assessment and suggested he study more film. She did that before facing rival wrestler Saori Yoshida, a three-time Olympic gold medalist.

“So she looked at video and was able to find her weakness,” Darvish said.

Darvish has since increased his video preparation before outings and it seems to be working. He’s allowed four earned runs in  14 1/3 combined innings in two starts since June 2.

4. Offense = weather — The Rangers’ offense isn’t the only thing hot in Arlington these days. The weather was scorching Saturday, although 35,928 hearty fans braved the elements anyway at Globe Life Park. The temperature was 95 degrees at first pitch (4:06 p.m.) with a heat index of 147 degrees (that may not be accurate). It’s the highest first-pitch temperature in Arlington since Sept. 19, 2016, against the Angels, when it was 95 degrees for a night game.

5. More like it — After striking out eight or more times for a club-record 19 consecutive games, the Rangers have brought the swings back under control this weekend. They’ve struck out six times in each of the first two games against the Mariners, who don’t strike out a lot of batters. Rangers pitchers, by the way, have struck out 465 batters, the second fewest in the majors.

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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