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DeShields delivers walk-off win for Texas in 12

@Sullivan_Ranger
June 6, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Delino DeShields is trying to re-establish his value to the Rangers, and reliever José Leclerc is getting closer to regaining his role as their closer. Both made compelling cases in helping the Rangers pull one out in extra innings on Wednesday night. DeShields singled home the winning

ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Delino DeShields is trying to re-establish his value to the Rangers, and reliever José Leclerc is getting closer to regaining his role as their closer.

Both made compelling cases in helping the Rangers pull one out in extra innings on Wednesday night. DeShields singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Orioles at Globe Life Park. The win was the Rangers' sixth in eight games and 14th in their last 20.

Box score

“We needed that win,” DeShields said. “The pitching staff came through and did what they needed to do to give us a chance. That was a fun, competitive game.”

The Rangers, with closer Shawn Kelley on the mound, were two outs away in the ninth from a 1-0 victory. But Orioles rookie shortstop Richie Martin tied it up with his second home run of the year. The blown save was Kelley’s second in seven opportunities since taking over as closer.

Kelley has done an admirable job as the Rangers closer after Leclerc was taken out of the role at the end of April. Leclerc had an 8.44 ERA at the time, but even Kelley admitted that his duties were temporary. There was always the possibility Leclerc would regain the role, and that time could be coming.

Leclerc didn’t get the win on Wednesday night, but he followed Kelley with two scoreless innings by retiring all six batters faced. Leclerc has a 1.76 ERA in his last 13 games, allowing four hits and six walks while striking out 28 batters in 15 1/3 innings.

Manager Chris Woodward said he is thinking about putting Leclerc back in the role.

“It’s definitely getting closer the way Leclerc is feeling,” Woodward said. “He wants to win so bad -- he’ll do anything we ask -- but he has been pitching lights out. It’s getting closer. That’s why I would love to put him back in that role and see how he handles it.”

Jeffrey Springs earned the win by pitching a scoreless 12th, as the Rangers finally broke through against Orioles reliever Paul Fry.

The Rangers' winning rally started when third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera led off with an infield single against Fry. Cabrera’s hit came just after he had made a terrific sprawling catch of Trey Mancini’s line drive in the top of the inning.

Fry struck out Ronald Guzman, prompting Woodward to send up Rougned Odor to pinch-hit for catcher Jeff Mathis. Isiah Kiner-Falefa also pinch-ran for Cabrera, but Odor flied to left for the second out.

Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch, bringing up DeShields with Kiner-Falefa advancing to second base. DeShields worked the count full and grounded a single up the middle to bring home Kiner-Falefa.

Choo suffered a bruised left hand from the pitch, but X-rays were negative.

“I’m glad we won because I don’t think I could have batted again,” Choo said.

DeShields, called up on Sunday from Triple-A, also scored the Rangers' first run in the first inning, reaching on an infield single and scoring on a double by Elvis Andrus. He was 4-for-6 on the night and is 6-for-11 since moving back into center field after Joey Gallo went on the injured list.

“I just feel I was doing my job getting on base and making things happen,” DeShields said. “I’m happy for myself, but I’m happier for the team. They have been grinding this out. It’s just nice for me to come up and contribute like I did.”:

DeShields won’t replace Gallo’s power, but Woodward also wants to see what he can do offensively.

“I like the swing,” Woodward said. “Obviously he had a lot of hits tonight, but all his at-bats were good. He uses his speed and keeps the ball in the middle of the field. He brings an element we don’t have. When he gets his swing like that, he puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”

Rangers starter Mike Minor pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, but had to exit with another high pitch count. He threw 117 pitches while allowing seven hits, two walks and one hit batter with seven strikeouts. The Orioles were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position against him. That’s the most at-bats with runners in scoring position Minor has had in any of his 41 starts for the Rangers the past two seasons.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.