ARLINGTON -- The Rangers entered Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Guardians 0-for-27 when trailing after seven innings.
It’s an almost astonishing stat when considering Texas has boasted one of the best offenses in baseball with the best run differential in the American League through the first half of the season. The hits were bound to fall eventually.
And they did on Sunday.
Texas was trailing from the very first batter against Cleveland after Steven Kwan launched a leadoff homer against Martín Pérez to open the game, but the Rangers offense kept chipping away before roaring back for a four-run eighth inning to beat the Guardians, 6-5, and complete a sweep to kick off the second half.
“[We had] two great comebacks in this series against a very good bullpen,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “I have to add that the guys fought hard this whole series. It was a really, really good series for the guys and it ended like this, an exciting game, a very entertaining game especially late in the ballgame there …
“I think it just shows you you need to go hard for nine innings and you see what happens. You're going to get down, but once you [come back], you know you can do it again. You have the confidence and know, ‘Hey, this game's not over, and it doesn't matter who you face out there.’”
García’s double had a 110.6 mph exit velocity and gave him his MLB-leading 80th RBI this season.
Jung, Texas’ rookie third baseman, was 1-for-his-last-12 in the series before knocking in the go-ahead run with a two-run single to cap off the rally.
“With Josh, you know, it's all about putting the previous bad at-bat behind you and he's done that all year,” Bochy said. “He's done a great job of that and these guys want to be the guys out there [in the big moment], in those situations. So that's what's important, and we just had good focus when we needed it.”
Jung has emphasized all season long that he believes hitting to be contagious. That’s what’s made this Rangers team so good for so much of the season. Even with the bump in the road over the last month, the offense just needed to get back to what it does best: string hits together and continue to pass the baton.
Texas went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, and finished the series 12-for-28 with runners in scoring position, an area they really struggled with during the final month before the break.
“I feel like we got really simple there in the eighth,” Lowe said. “Besides Adolis trying to knock the whole wall down [with his RBI double], I feel like we got some pretty big little hits.
"[We got] a couple singles and played some 'small ball.' It's good for our offense to know that we don't have to hit the ball out of the yard to win a game. When we win one pitch at a time, we're a pretty good offense.”
The Rangers closed out the first half of the season 16-19 since the start of June, while dropping the final three series against Houston, Boston and Washington. During that time, their lead atop the American League West shrunk from six games to just two games over the Astros.
A sweep over Cleveland was exactly what Texas needed to get back on track.
“It was a good one and I think we were due for an offensive breakout, due for a come-from-behind win,” Lowe said. “We got both those taken care of in the series. The pitching staff held us in some games there and gave us a chance to put some runs up, and then the offense came through when we needed to, so it was nice.
"That's a competitive team over there, but it doesn't matter who we play as long as we play our game, and I think we did a good job of that this weekend.”