A.J. Griffin, Jeff Banister address Griffin's shoulder issue
At some point, the Texas Rangers’ offense was going to flex its muscles and have a game like it did Saturday.
They did it early, as early as possible in a baseball game, and they did it in the middle innings to erase a three-run deficit.
They did it after starting pitcher A.J. Griffin left in the third inning with shoulder stiffness and with the bullpen facing a busy day and in need of some run support.
The Rangers collected five home runs in their 10-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers. The first two batters of the game went deep, Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland connected in a five-run sixth inning, and Beltre tacked on another two-run shot an inning later.
“We didn’t have to hit five homers, but we need to be more consistent scoring runs and finding a way to do it,” Beltre said. “The power showed up today. However the win comes, we’re going to take it.”
The Rangers hadn’t hit more than two homers in a game this season until connecting for five Saturday. It was their first game with five since doing it Sept. 15 against Houston.
The 10-run, 10-hit performance came in support of six pitchers, five of them after Griffin exited after 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander entered with a team-best 2.32 ERA and has been the team’s biggest surprise to start the season, but he isn’t sure when he will pitch again.
The good news is that Griffin, who missed the past two seasons with elbow and shoulder woes, doesn’t believe that the injury is too serious. He called it a “bump in the road,” but he could end up on the disabled list.
“I couldn’t get extended and couldn’t get the pitches to do what I wanted to do,” said Griffin, who felt some tightness warming up. “The fastball velo dropped, so it was time to shut it down for the day. ...
“I’m not too concerned at the moment, not really at all, actually. We’ve just got to take our time and dial it back in and make sure I’m right to go.”
The Rangers gave Griffin a 2-0 lead as Rougned Odor and Nomar Mazara started the game with back-to-back homers, the first time the Rangers had done that since Rusty Greer and Randy Velarde connected on April 13, 2001, at Oakland.
Anthony Ranaudo, who replaced Griffin, surrendered a two-run homer to Ian Kinsler in the fourth but posted a scoreless fifth despite walking the first two batters.
Moments later, Odor started the sixth with a single and scored on a double by Mazara. Beltre was next, and he sent a liner into the seats in right field to tie the game at 5-5.
Moreland connected three batters later for a 7-5 lead on a deep home run into the Rangers’ bullpen in left-center field. Beltre went deep again in the seventh, this time with two outs and with Delino DeShields at third.
“Any time Beltre shows up in a batter’s box on a baseball field you look for special things to happen,” manager Jeff Banister said. “The first five home-run day for us this season. We know it’s in our guys. Our guys are going to hit home runs for us.”
He’s monster-strong. When he gets the barrel to it, it’s loud.
Manager Jeff Banister on Adrian Beltre
The Rangers hadn’t hit more than two homers in a game this season. They have scored 15 runs in the first two games of this series at Comerica Park after scoring 14 in their previous seven road games.
Odor leads the team with six homers and is tied with Beltre for the team lead in RBIs with 20. Beltre’s five homers rank second on the team, and Mazara and Moreland are tied for third with four apiece.
Beltre said that the two youngsters atop the lineup — Odor, 22, and Mazara, 21 — are giving the veteran players some extra energy. Odor and Mazara became the first players in baseball history 22 or younger to start a game with back-to-back homers.
“They play the game hard. They know what to do,” said Beltre, 37. “It’s good to have those guys in front of us veteran guys. It kind of energizes us a little bit. We try to keep up with them.”
There was no keeping up with the Rangers’ homer-happy offense Saturday.
How the Rangers fared
Hitting: Odor and Mazara became the first Rangers players with back-to-back homers to start a game since Rusty Greer and Randy Velarde did it April 13, 2001, at Oakland. ... After Mazara drove in Odor with a double for the first run in a five-run sixth, Beltre hit a two-run shot to the opposite field for a 5-5 tie. ... Mitch Moreland followed with a two-run homer three batters later. ... Beltre connected for another two-run homer in the seventh. ... Beltre had the 28th multi-homer game of his career. ... Delino DeShields’ sacrifice fly in the ninth accounted for the Rangers’ final run.
Pitching: Griffin lasted 2 2/3 innings before leaving with shoulder stiffness. He was trailing 3-2 after being staked to a 2-0 lead. ... Anthony Ranaudo replaced him and allowed a two-run homer in the fourth to Ian Kinsler before posting a scoreless fifth. Ranaudo got his first win with the Rangers. ... Tom Wilhelmsen worked a scoreless sixth, his third straight scoreless appearance, and Jake Diekman had a scoreless seventh. Tony Barnette got a disputed 2-4-3 double play to end the eighth and got two outs in the ninth before exiting with the bases loaded. ... Shawn Tolleson struck out Anthony Gose to end it and collect his 10th save.
Rangers at Tigers
12:10 p.m. Sunday, FSSW
Rangers at Tigers
12:10 p.m. Sunday
Radio: KRLD/105.3 FM, ESPN/1540 AM (Spanish)
Rangers LHP Martin Perez (1-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (2-3, 6.49)