Texas Rangers

Rangers keep getting prime Pence, a resurgent Mazara and Elvis Andrus is waiting just off stage

It’s getting awfully close to June and the Texas Rangers are still an interesting bunch.

In fact, they’ve been a pretty good team. And they’ve certainly played better than expectations before the season.

Texas is back over .500 after winning their fourth consecutive game by completing a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 2-1 win Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park. The team is off Thursday before beginning a six-game road trip in Anaheim on Friday.

The Rangers (24-23) are back in second place in the American League West, eight games behind the Houston Astros (if you’re counting).

“We played some good baseball. We’re just staying locked into the process,” said Hunter Pence, who was 2 for 4 with a sixth inning home run. He also scored both Rangers’ runs. “The preparation is a big reward and something we’re really proud of. In the good times and tough times, we’ve stayed on that preparation and trusted it and continuing to look to get better.”

Three reactions from Wednesday’s 2-1 win:

1. Prime Pence — Hunter Pence hit his 10th homer on Wednesday. He has homers in four of his last nine games and seven of his last 13. He also had seven doubles and 31 doubles. Only Joey Gallo (35 RBIs) has more on team. He’s hitting .312 with a 1.015 OPS. He already has more homers and RBIs than he did in 97 games in 2018.

“I’ve really had good stretches and one little quick, rough stretch, three games from Houston to beginning of KC,” Pence said. “For the most part, working on that new swing thing. I’m getting comfortable more often. I feel like it allows less effort and more power and the barrel in the zone longer. It allows me to do damage even if I don’t hit it perfectly.”

2. Nomar Mr. Nice Guy — Nomar Mazara was 6 for 12 in the three-game series, including 1 for 3 with an RBI double in the first inning on Wednesday. Mazara is 11 of 28 over his past seven games. He made a nice catch up against the wall or the first out in the fourth.

“I just timed it. I knew where it was and I did a good job of timing it,” he said. “We are really working hard on our defense. We are showing up early to taking ground balls or fly balls and you can see the work is showing up. We are playing good baseball right now.”

After dipping down to .220 on May 10 in Houston, Mazara his lifted his batting average back up to .262.

3. Elvis leaves Frisco, twice — Elvis Andrus was 1 for 3 with a homer for Double-A Frisco on Wednesday. In his two-game rehab stint, Andrus was 1 for 6 as a designated hitter. Andrus will travel with the team and do field work in Anaheim before being activated off the injured list on Saturday. Andrus has been on the IL with a right hamstring strain.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.