ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland's three-run home run to the upper deck in right field in the fourth inning helped give the Rangers a 6-2 win over the Pirates Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.The Rangers have now won eight consecutive series at home, matching a streak they last had over
ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland's three-run home run to the upper deck in right field in the fourth inning helped give the Rangers a 6-2 win over the Pirates Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers have now won eight consecutive series at home, matching a streak they last had over the 2011-12 seasons.
Moreland's 435-foot blast was his second in as many nights and his sixth of the season. Prince Fielder added a home run as well, backing Rangers starter Martin Perez, who picked up his second straight win. Perez allowed two runs and struck out three over six innings, while scattering seven hits.
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"These guys are core players for us. They are big bats in our lineup," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Obviously they need the feel-good of today. I know that those are confidence builders for these guys."
The Pirates were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the loss. An RBI double from Andrew McCutchen in the first inning and a solo home run from David Freese in the third gave the Pirates an early 2-0 lead. Starter Francisco Liriano picked up the loss after allowing five runs on six hits and four walks over six innings.
"They made good pitches," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Some of our swings were bigger than we wanted. Sometimes that happens when you see good pitches. You see them in a spot, you go for them and they're not in a spot any more. They pitched very well this weekend."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fielder snaps HR drought: Fielder and Moreland both launched home runs off Liriano in the fourth to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Fielder snapped the worst homerless streak of his career (34 games) when he hit a line drive over the right-field fence to lead off the inning. It was his third homer of the year, and first since April 19 against Houston. Four batters later, Moreland followed with his second homer in as many nights, a three-run shot to the upper deck in right. The ball came off his bat at 109 mph, according to Statcast™.
"[Perez] has been so solid for us all year, so it was nice to get him some runs there and let him kind of get in his groove and work a little bit," Moreland said. More >
Freese gets Rangers again: Freese, who was greeted by boos in every at-bat, continued to feast on Texas pitching. His homer into the Texas bullpen in the third inning pushed the Pittsburgh lead to 2-0. It was his fourth career regular-season homer against Texas. He also had a memorable one while playing for St. Louis in the 2011 World Series, hitting a walk-off homer in Game 6 of that series eventually won by the Cardinals. More >
Perez is escape artist: Perez picked up his sixth quality start in his last seven outings, despite putting himself in a jam in multiple innings. With runners on second and third and nobody out in the fourth, he got Matt Joyce and Chris Stewart to ground out with the infield pulled in, before striking out Jordy Mercer looking to end the inning. Then in the sixth, Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli opened the inning with singles. After a flyout from Sean Rodriguez, Perez struck out Joyce swinging and got Stewart to ground into a fielder's choice.
"Twelve ground-ball outs today. That's going to give him the ability to escape those innings," Banister said. "The double-play balls, the ground balls, keeping the ball out of the air and giving our guys a chance to field the baseball for him."
Bucs miss out on opportunity: Already up 2-0, the Pirates had a chance for a big inning in the fourth after consecutive hits by Cervelli and Rodriguez put Pirates on second and third with no outs. But Pittsburgh could not get another ball out of the infield, as Joyce and Stewart grounded out before Mercer struck out to end the frame.
"I don't know how many ground balls we hit. I stopped counting at 15," -- Hurdle, whose team had 19 ground-ball outs
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Fielder and Moreland have homered in the same game four times since Fielder joined the team in 2014. The last time it happened came on Sept. 15, 2015 against the Astros.
Rangers pick up run after strikeout
The Rangers picked up their sixth run following a strikeout to Adrian Beltre in the seventh. With Jurickson Profar at second, Pirates right-hander Rob Scahill struck out Beltre on an 83-mph slider that skipped away from Cervelli. Beltre shielded the throw to Freese and the ball kicked to Rodriguez at second. Running all the way, Profar just beat Rodriguez's throw to the plate.
Pirates: Left-hander Jeff Locke opens a four-game set for the Pirates at Miami at 7:10 ET on Monday night. Locke was a perfect 2-0 against the Marlins last year, posting a 1.42 ERA in his two starts.
Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland will start the series opener for the Rangers against the Indians at 5:10 p.m. CT on Monday. Holland, an Ohio native, is 0-3 with a 9.68 ERA through four starts in May.
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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.
Anthony Andro is a contributor for MLB.com who covered the Pirates on Sunday.