Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers’ struggling offense snaps out of funk in trip finale

One game isn’t going to erase what was mostly 10 days of offensive futility but the Texas Rangers will take what they can get at the moment.

The Rangers closed out their nine-game road trip by doing what they had struggled to do for most of the trip: They had success with runners in scoring position.

Texas held off a Toronto Blue Jays sweep by taking the finale 7-3 at Rogers Centre Wednesday afternoon. The Rangers won the first and last games and went 3-6 on the trip.

The Rangers open a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at Globe Life Park.

Rookie left-hander Kolby Allard impressed again. In his second start for the Rangers (and third of his career), Allard again left with the lead.

Texas was leading when Emmanuel Clase took over for Allard with two on and two outs in the sixth inning. A wild pitch and single allowed two runs but Allard earned the win, his first for the Rangers.

He’s the youngest pitcher (at 22 years and one day) to win a game for the Rangers since Martin Perez did it at 21 years, 87 days, on June 30, 2012.

“There were a lot of good things I did today but there were still some things I could have done better,” said Allard, who was charged with three runs on four hits and three walks and had five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. “But it was obviously good to go out and go a little deeper in the game and help the bullpen a little bit.”

The offense, which started the day 2 for its last 40 with runners in scoring position, was 4 for 12 on Wednesday, including Delino DeShields’ run-scoring single in the second that gave Texas a 1-0 lead.

Danny Santana’s two-run double and Elvis Andrus’ run-scoring single pushed the lead to 4-0. Andrus was 4 for 5 with a double and two RBIs.

“I think the next six weeks means a lot for the team moving forward, so that was what we talked about [before the game],” Andrus said. “That was the message: to keep playing hard, keep doing our thing, don’t give in, keep trusting that we can play better, we’re a better team. And I think today was a good example of going out there and just competing.”

The Rangers, who have relied on home runs to score most of their runs the past week, added two more. Nomar Mazara homered in the seventh and Santana homered in the eighth to give Texas a four-run lead.

The Rangers had at least 10 hits for the first time since Aug. 2, a stretch of 11 games. Their seven runs are equal to the total runs scored in their previous four games combined.

“We didn’t try to do too much. I think everybody was just trying to have good at-bats, especially when we had a guy in scoring position,” Andrus said. “Take what the game gives you. Especially for me, that’s what I did today. I didn’t try to be a hero or something like that.

“I saw my opportunity, I saw the right side of the field, like a huge hole and I was just trying to shoot the ball that way.”

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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.