Rangers inch toward playoffs by hitting it a mile

Back-to-back-to-back homers lift Texas to its sixth straight victory

September 26th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- In a hitter's meeting in New York back in August, as the Rangers struggled through one of their toughest stretches of the year, Marcus Semien told his teammates that you don’t always need a three-run homer or a grand slam to win a ballgame.

But it definitely doesn’t hurt to hit a lot of homers.

The Rangers beat the Angels, 5-1, on Monday night at Angel Stadium, thanks in part to back-to-back-to-back home runs from Adolis García, and in the sixth inning. Semien added one of his own to lead off the seventh as the Rangers earned their sixth straight victory.

  • Games remaining (6): at LAA (2); at SEA (4)
  • Standings update: The Rangers (88-68) lead the AL West by 2 1/2 games over the Astros (86-71) and four games over the Mariners (84-72).
  • Tiebreakers: The Rangers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker vs. the Mariners but not the Astros. For a Wild Card spot, they would win a tiebreaker vs. the Blue Jays.
  • Magic number: 4 to clinch the AL West

It was the first time Texas has hit back-to-back-to-back home runs since August 19, 2015, against Seattle, when Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus accomplished the feat.

“I’ve seen that a couple times,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “But you know we were pretty quiet through the first five innings. García woke us up there with his home run. They were tough on us with the left-handers, but we came alive and it’s good to see the long ball.”

The Rangers have hit 10 home runs over their last two games, tying the franchise record for the most in any two-game span, done four times previously. They also took over the lead for home runs in the American League in 2023, with 227, which is tied for the seventh-most in club history.

The Rangers were the best offense in the AL for most of the season, but tapered off as four of their five position player All-Stars -- García, Corey Seager, Jonah Heim and Josh Jung -- spent time on the injured list in July and August.

Texas’ offense has surged back since getting the full lineup back healthy last homestand, when García and Jung were activated on Sept. 18.

“Our lineup is stretched out,” Bochy said. “We’re a team that hits a lot of homers. You saw in the first half. These guys are doing a good job of getting their pitch and putting a good swing on it. It’s pretty simple. It really is power throughout the lineup. There’s no letup. That's the great thing about our lineup.”

Rangers starter Jon Gray, who tossed six innings of one-run ball, knew that if he kept the game within reach, the offense would eventually break through.

“It's only a matter of time before this team rattles off some runs,” Gray said. “It’s a really dangerous lineup, and they proved that tonight. It was late, but they’re still capable. So it's always fun to see what they're going to do.”

Garver said he didn’t feel like the Rangers were putting together the best at-bats early in the game against Angels starter Patrick Sandoval. Texas collected two hits, and drew five walks but failed to drive in a run in his three innings. But the left-hander departed with right oblique tightness.

“That kind of opened the door for us to do something,” Garver said. “It was definitely nice for Adolis to get his home run to tie it, mine to go ahead and then Nate. It felt like there was a big relief for us.”

The Rangers’ offense is clicking at just the right time -- the AL West title and a postseason berth are well within sight for Texas for the first time since 2016. 

Bochy emphasized that they’re not thinking about that just yet, words that were echoed throughout the clubhouse, as well. 

“We know what we have to do here,” Garver said. “We have to take care of business here and get up to Seattle and take care of our business there. We’re just taking it one game at a time.”