Moreland's big day at plate carries Rangers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister said it was a team effort. It was also the kind of effort the Rangers will need to stay in the pennant race.
"We've got to play with the grit from here on out that we showed today," Banister said after the Rangers rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Twins on Thursday. "The grit and the grind to play team baseball. That's what it was today, team baseball."
That may have been the case, but it was also a huge day for first baseman Mitch Moreland. He almost single-handedly carried the Rangers back from being down 4-0 by going 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.
"Huge day for Mitch," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "He is the reason why we won that game. He had four RBIs and we needed every one of them."
Moreland's four hits tied a career high and the four RBIs gave him 61 on the season. That's a career high for a player who has been held back by a series of injuries the past four years.
"It was a good day," Moreland said. "I felt comfortable and got some pitches to hit. It was a big day for the team. It's good to carry some momentum back home."
The day started off looking like the Rangers were going to be swept by the Twins. Starter Chi Chi Gonzalez gave up four runs in the second inning and the Rangers trailed 4-0 going into the fourth against Twins starter Ervin Santana. But Beltre led off with a single and Moreland then crushed a full-count fastball deep over the right-field wall to cut the Twins lead in half.
"That was definitely a big lift, losing 4-0," Beltre said. "We hadn't scored for a few innings, so that blast brought a big uplift to the dugout."
Moreland also contributed to the Rangers two-out barrage in the fifth that allowed them to take the lead. Ryan Strausborger led off with a single and was bunted to second by Delino DeShields. Santana then got Shin-Soo Choo to pop out, but the Rangers followed with three straight two-out hits.
Prince Fielder singled off the right-field wall to drive home Strausborger and Beltre moved him to second with a basehit up the middle. Moreland followed with a double to deep right-center that brought home both runners to give the Rangers a 5-4 lead.
After the Twins tied it up, the combination of Beltre and Moreland came through again in the eighth against reliever Casey Fien. Beltre led off with a single and went to third on Moreland's single to right. Elvis Andrus put the Rangers ahead with a sacrifice fly to center.
"I can't say enough about Beltre, Moreland and Elvis today," Banister said. "Incredible day for Mitch."