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September 18, 2013

What You Need to Know

Nothing Quiet on the Wild Card Front

by Daniel Rathman


The Tuesday Takeaway
The Rangers notched at least one home run in each of their first seven September games, though the yardwork did them little good, as they went 2-5. In their next seven, all losses, they didn’t go deep even once. Slugging .291 as a team over the course of that skid, during which they never led, Ron Washington’s squad was in dire need of a jolt. On Tuesday, Ian Kinsler didn’t wait long to supply it.

The leadoff man walked into the batter’s box so anxious to whack a first-pitch fastball that he almost yanked Jeremy Hellickson’s 92-mph, get-me-over offering foul. It was a shrewd plan of attack for a hitter tasked with sparking a dormant offense. And Hellickson lasted only 39 more pitches before the Rangers sent him to the showers with five runs on his 2 2/3-inning line.

Kinsler was in the middle of the action again in the top of the third inning, which began with a Mitch Moreland walk and a Leonys Martin double. The second baseman singled both of them home and then scored on a two-run shot by Elvis Andrus, his double play partner’s third of the season. Two batters later, Hellickson’s afternoon was over. Martin’s was only getting started.

Batting at the bottom of Washington’s order, the center fielder did his best to serve as a second leadoff man, using his catalytic powers to help the visitors manufacture another run in the fifth. He started that frame with his second two-bagger of the contest, advanced to third on a fly ball by Kinsler, and scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Andrus. The game was well in hand by the time Martin made his final plate appearance in the top of the ninth, but he thumped a Cesar Ramos pitch 412 feet just for good measure to give the Rangers a 7-1 lead that the Rays would not even begin to bridge.

The two-double, one-homer output marked the first three-extra-base-hit game of Martin’s big-league career, and his first two-XBH showing since he logged three in a four-day span in late June. With the rest of the offense scuffling, Kinsler, Andrus, and Martin—who combined to go 7-for-12 while the other Rangers went 3-for-24—shouldered the load in one of the team’s biggest wins of the season.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (09/18)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (09/19)
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