ATLANTA -- Rougned Odor provided the offensive spark the Rangers needed as they powered past the Braves, 8-2, on Monday at SunTrust Park.
Odor's 28th home run capped a three-run fifth inning that chased Braves starter R.A. Dickey from the game. Odor finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs as the Rangers moved above .500 for the first time since Aug. 24. They are now within two games of an American League Wild Card berth.
"I was trying to focus a lot and focus on everything in the game, and it helped me," Odor said.
The offensive attack allowed Andrew Cashner to settle into his 23rd start of the season. He picked up his ninth win by surrendering two runs over six innings. Cashner had his two-seam fastball working as he registered 14 called strikes on the night.
Cashner earned his first career win against the Braves, entering the game with a 9.35 ERA in two starts at Turner Field. He has won six of his past 10 starts.
"Some of the guys had big swings tonight and [Odor] put a dagger in there late," Cashner said. "I think we are swinging the bats really well and guys are feeling good. We are playing really good baseball."
The same couldn't be said for Dickey as the knuckleballer struggled against his former team. He wasn't effective and labored through 4 1/3 innings. Dickey got behind several batters and had to use his fastball to work out of trouble.
"I was behind the count quite a bit and having to elevate that knuckleball, and that's tough when you have to do that," Dickey said. "That's a good team over there. I can't make excuses. I've just got to keep trying to execute."
The main source of Braves offense came from left fielder Matt Adams as he hit his 20th home run, a two-run shot into the right-field seats. The home run went 416 feet with an exit velocity of 107.8 mph, according to Statcast™.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Early runs:Elvis Andrus started Rangers' night in style as he crushed his 19th home run into the left-field bleachers. He caught a knuckleball that stayed high and over the plate. It would prove to be a sign of things to come, as the Rangers scored five runs in the first three innings.
"I just kept hoping when [Dickey] ended the fourth, I thought maybe he'd gotten a hold of it because I've seen that happen before, too, where it starts out rough and then he'll find it and can stretch the game a little bit," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It just wasn't happening from the get-go."
The response: After the Braves scored two runs on Adams' homer, the Rangers roared back and scored three runs to push the game out of reach. Nomar Mazara started with a solo home run and three batters later, the Odor added the final blow to incoming reliever Matt Wisler by greeting him with a two-run homer to provide the game's final runs.
"I believe the add-on inning to answer back was really key for us," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I thought our guys did a great job off of Dickey in staying patient and drawing some walks."
"I think that he had to force himself, when facing Dickey, to stay on the ball and use his hands to let the ball travel. Hopefully, he can keep that process going. That is who 'Rougie' is. We know he can hit the ball from left-center to the foul pole. I thought the at-bats early allowed him to stay on the pitch and hit the home run."-- Banister, on Odor
"It makes me want to throw up not going more than six innings. Tonight was a night where I had to be pretty good. We weren't scoring many runs on him. He had a good night, and I didn't give us a really good chance to win the ballgame." -- Dickey
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cashner became the first Texas pitcher to collect a sacrifice fly in the second inning. It was the first in the organization's history since moving to Texas. The last franchise pitcher to have a sacrifice fly was Camilo Pascual on Sept. 5, 1968, for the Washington Senators.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, a ground ball off the bat of Mazara to Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson resulted in a close play after Swanson's throw pulled a leaping Freddie Freeman off the bag at first base. Initially, the call indicated that Freeman did not get a tag on Mazara, resulting in a throwing error for Swanson. The Braves opted to challenge the call, and it was overturned, taking Mazara off the base and ending the inning.
Rangers:Miguel Gonzalez takes the mound against Atlanta at SunTrust Park as the series continues Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. CT. Gonzalez is making his first start with the Rangers after being traded from the White Sox. He is 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA in his past eight starts.
Braves:Julio Teheran takes the mound Tuesday night at 7:35 p.m. ET for the second of three games against the Rangers. He will be looking to build on a four-game stretch that has seen him post a 2.33 ERA and three quality starts. Preview >>
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