The two home runs Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor each swatted late Wednesday night proved notable on multiple levels, but topping the list for them was the significance the game had to their home country.
They became the first two players from Venezuela to hit two homers in the same game, either on the same team or on opposing teams.
The stat surprised both players because of a pair of Detroit Tigers sluggers, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
“It’s great,” Odor said. “They’ve got two guys on the same team, Miggy and Victor Martinez. I’m surprised because they hit a lot of homers.”
Odor’s two homers in the 7-5 victory over the Oakland A’s gave him a team-high 12 and helped the Rangers score their 20th comeback victory of the season. That was tied for the MLB lead with Baltimore.
Despite the pop from Odor, who hit an opposite-field two-run homer in the sixth to tie the game and a deep solo shot to right in the eighth for the final margin, he doesn’t think of himself as a slugger.
The team’s home run lead will be short-lived, he said.
“The big guys are coming,” Odor said. “When I hit the ball to the other side of the field, I’m feeling great. I’m not a power hitter.”
Nick Martinez’s winning appearance Wednesday night did not eliminate him as an option to start Saturday at St. Louis in Yu Darvish’s rotation spot, and manager Jeff Banister said that the Rangers will likely choose Martinez or Cesar Ramos.
Martinez threw 45 pitches in 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Derek Holland before giving way to Matt Bush, Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson, who each tossed a 1-2-3 inning.
Had Martinez thrown another inning he would not have been a candidate for Saturday, said Banister. Ramos started Monday but lasted only 3 2/3 innings.
“We’re looking at all the options,” Banister said.
That includes Martinez’s background as a hitter.
He was an infielder in college and has been considered one of the Rangers’ best hitting pitchers in past seasons.
“You’ve got to consider it,” Banister said.
Darvish is meeting the Rangers in St. Louis, as was tentatively planned. He is eligible to come off the disabled list June 23, an off day, and could return to the rotation June 24, but he hasn’t thrown since his shoulder tightness popped up again Saturday.
Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo was on the bench Thursday for the series finale at Oakland Coliseum for a scheduled day off after he played three consecutive games upon coming off the disabled list from a strained left hamstring.
Choo went 3 for 10 with a homer and five walks, so he did plenty of running around the bases and was active in the outfield. While he wants to play every day, he was on board with Banister’s decision after essentially two months on the DL because of the hamstring strain and an April calf strain.
“Everybody wants to play every day,” Choo said. “But just off the DL, he and I are on the same page. It’s a long season. We better take care of today.”
Choo said that he has talked with Adrian Beltre about how to manage a hamstring injury, and Choo said that he will play at around 80-90 percent for a few weeks to make sure he protects the leg.
Beltre returned to the starting lineup Thursday for the first time since June 8 at less than 100 percent as he nurses a strained left hamstring.
Banister expects Choo to play throughout the three-game series at St. Louis as well as the first three games of the next homestand before a June 23 off day.
Prince Fielder will get at least one game at first base during interleague play, and he got a warmup game there Thursday.