For the first time in 2015, the Rangers rolled out the same lineup in consecutive games.
In fact, Saturday night was the first time the same lineup had been used twice in the first 22 games.
But after the Rangers scored five runs on nine hits in Friday’s 7-5 series-opening loss to Oakland, manager Jeff Banister figured he’d roll out the same set of players to see if the offense could do it again.
For the Rangers lately, five runs is an explosion. It was more runs than they had scored in the previous three games combined. They’ve scored five or more runs in just eight games this season.
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Part of Banister’s reasoning was practical. They were facing a left-hander for the second consecutive night — Drew Pomeranz. Fellow lefty Scott Kazmir allowed three runs on six hits Friday.
“The at-bats have been progressively on the uptick,” Banister said, pointing to at least four line-drive outs on top of the nine hits. “I like the direction they’re going.
“We’re going to run those guys out that put five runs on the board and just the energy level and the at-bats and how they went off on Kazmir.”
Hamilton takes live BP
Outfielder Josh Hamilton faced live pitching Saturday in Surprise, Ariz., for the first time this season.
He faced Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, who is rehabbing from spinal fusion surgery, and right-hander Kohsuke Tomita.
Hamilton is scheduled to play in his first extended spring training game Monday against the Kansas City Royals in Surprise. He also shagged balls in the outfield, and Harrison reported that Hamilton “looked good.”
Hamilton is likely to be assigned to Triple A Round Rock later this week, perhaps playing with the Express in Nashville for a four-game series May 8-11. Round Rock returns home May 12-15 for a four-game set against Omaha.
Friday’s 7-5 loss, in which the Rangers blew a 5-0 lead in the eighth inning, was the sixth time this season that Texas has lost after leading at one point in the game.
That is tied for second-most in the American League and tied for fourth-most in the majors.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Friday night was the first time that the Rangers have given up seven or more runs after holding their opponent scoreless through at least the first seven innings.
Outfielder Ryan Rua will have a scan on his injured right foot on Friday to check its healing progress.
The Rangers don’t have a target date for his return, but they’re hoping it’s late May or early June.
21 Consecutive games in which the Rangers have collected a double. They’ve had at least one in every game since the second game of the season. It’s the longest current streak in the big leagues and the longest for the Rangers since they did it in 21 consecutive games April 19-May 11, 2007.
The Rangers were tied for 13th in the league with 39 doubles entering Saturday’s game.