So what about that Rangers’ offensive slump?
As quickly as it appeared, the recent offensive struggles that hindered the Texas Rangers’ the previous week vanished with abandon in the first two games against the Minnesota Twins.
The Rangers battered the Twins for 15 hits, including seven for extra bases, to romp for an 11-7 rain-delayed win on Saturday in front of 28,661 at Globe Life Park.
After being shut out in 20 consecutive innings until the seventh on Friday, the Rangers scored 15 over their next eight, including the first six innings Saturday before an hour and 19-minute rain delay. In the span, Texas collected 19 hits after being held to 14 total in its previous three games combined.
Starter Colby Lewis withstood a three-run third in which the Twins took advantage of a ball that dropped for a double in left-center field after hitting off a diving Delino DeShields’ glove.
In the bottom of the inning, the Rangers scored twice to tie at 3-3 on Shin-Soo Cho’s RBI single and Mitch Moreland’s RBI double. With one out in the fourth, the Rangers’ next seven batters reached, including a three-run homer by Moreland and a solo homer by Joey Gallo to give Texas a 9-3 lead.
“I think it was big for us to keep creating opportunities, and we were able to kind of answer back after they took the lead and put a few more on there the next inning,” said Moreland, who had a season-high four RBIs. “It let Colby kind of cruise after that, so it was a good one for us.”
Lewis retired the next 15 batters in order before the rain delay ended his day. He allowed three runs on four hits and a walk, with six strikeouts in seven innings.
The Twins scored four runs in the ninth against Anthony Bass before Jon Edwards got the final out.
“It’s always kind of been my MO to go out there and throw strikes and try to get quick outs,” Lewis said. “In a game like today, or any day game, you move forward into summer here in Texas, you want to get that opposing pitcher who’s not used to the heat back out there. For me, in any situation you want to get your offense back out there where they’re going to still feel good, still be on their toes and score some runs for you.”
Texas added two more runs in the fifth on Choo’s two-run double off the left-center wall. Every starter in the Rangers’ lineup had at least one hit and five had two or more. The top four hitters in the lineup combined to go 9 for 18 with nine RBIs and six runs scored.
No Rangers hitter is swinging a hotter bat than Moreland, who raised his average to .310 and has three homers in his past seven games.
“The confidence with what he’s doing at the plate shows up,” manager Jeff Banister said. “He’s been in the middle of that order and doing big things for us all year. In the absence of Adrian [Beltre], to be able to step up into that role and back up Prince [Fielder] and add some power in that spot and come up with some big hits for us ... I think that’s a testament to his work and staying with that approach.”
The Rangers rotation has thrown nine consecutive quality starts for the first time since 1992. The last time Texas had 10 consecutive quality starts from its staff was 1978. Nick Martinez (5-2) faces Twins right-hander Phil Hughes (4-6) in the series finale at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.
“I think the rotation is really good,” Lewis said. “Everybody’s doing their job, keeping us in ballgames. That’s all you want out of a starter. That’s all the expectation I put on myself. For us doing what we’re doing I think we’re just kind of feeding off each other a little bit and enjoying this atmosphere we have right now.”
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760