WASHINGTON -- Robinson Chirinos hammered a three-run homer in the 11th inning to lead the Rangers to one of their best wins of the year in a 6-3 victory Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park."I mean it was an amazing win," Chirinos said. "It just tells you about our guys. We
WASHINGTON -- Robinson Chirinos hammered a three-run homer in the 11th inning to lead the Rangers to one of their best wins of the year in a 6-3 victory Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.
"I mean it was an amazing win," Chirinos said. "It just tells you about our guys. We play to the last out."
It was the seventh homer of the year for Chirinos, but the eighth homer Kelley has surrendered this season in 19 games (15 2/3 innings), a troubling trend that has plagued him all season.
• Come-from-behind W gives Rangers big boost
The Rangers erased a two-run deficit in the ninth inning off Koda Glover, who blew his first save since being installed as the Nationals' full-time closer last month. Shin-Soo Choo began the inning with a solo homer, and Nomar Mazara eventually tied the game with an RBI double. Texas nearly scored the go-ahead run on a sac fly from Chirinos, but Bryce Harper unloaded a strong throw to the plate to nail pinch-runner Pete Kozma and keep the score tied.
"That's the thing about our guys, they don't get deflated," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "They have played with their backs to the wall a lot this year. They continue to battle. Some games they haven't been able to finish off, but those guys don't give up. They continue to fight."
Washington received strong contributions from Adam Lind, who hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and left-hander Giovany Gonzalez, who struck out a season-high nine in six innings of one-run ball.
MOMENTS THAT MATTER
Mazara just misses: The Rangers trailed 3-1 going into the ninth before Choo led off with his home run. A single by Elvis Andrus and a walk to Adrian Beltre put the tying and winning runs on base. Mazara followed with a drive off the top of the wall in right field just in front of the Nationals' bullpen, missing a home run by a couple of feet. The tying run scored, but the Rangers' rally stalled there.
"I didn't think it was going to go that far," Mazara said. "I hit it off the end of the bat. I thought it was going to be a long fly ball."
After his outing, Glover revealed to the Nats' coaching staff that his back had locked up on him while showering earlier in the day.
"I pushed the limits today, tried to pitch through it," Glover said. "It's one of them things where it was out of my control, and I should have said something early. I didn't, and now my back's in pretty bad shape."
Bunt attempt backfires The Nationals had a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth after pinch-hitter Stephen Drew led off with a double. He was replaced by pinch-runner Wilmer Difo. Matt Wieters moved Difo to third with a grounder to first, but Rangers reliever Alex Claudio struck out Brian Goodwin for the second out. Trea Turner then tried to surprise the Rangers with a bunt, but Claudio jumped on it, and Difo stopped between third and home. Claudio ran him back and flipped to third baseman Kozma for the out.
"Well, that's a tough read, but if you're going to go, you got to go, especially against a left-hander," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "You really don't accomplish anything by stopping. Like I said, if you're going to go, you got to go. ... Trea saw the third baseman back and it wasn't a bad bunt. But the pitcher responded, got off the mound quickly, and he could've thrown to first, but he looked at Difo, who was right in front of him."
"The bunt surprised me a little bit," Difo said through an interpreter. "It was a great bunt. ... I should have scored on that play. But I was surprised, and it was my fault. It was a good bunt."
"That's a real good win, and it started with the job that Martin Perez did against their hitters." -- Banister on his starting pitcher, who gave up two runs and struck out five in five-plus innings
• Despite ankle, Beltre steals base in return
GO-AHEAD RUN REVIEWED
The Rangers, with the score tied at 3, had runners on second and third with no outs in the ninth. Chirinos flied out to Harper, and pinch-runner Kozma broke for home. Harper's throw was perfect, but Kozma was ruled safe ahead of catcher Jose Lobaton's tag. The Nationals challenged and the call was overturned, instead becoming a crucial double play.
"I'm healthy," Harper said. "Being able to throw a ball with all my might, it's a lot of fun. Being able to show it off a little bit and throw some guys out and work hard for my pitchers, that's what I want to do ... throw guys out when our pitchers need it and play the best right field I can."
Rangers: Right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx makes his second Major League start when he pitches against the Nationals at 3:05 p.m. CT Sunday. Bibens-Dirkx allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Rays on May 31 in his first start.
Nationals:Max Scherzer takes the mound for Sunday's series finale against the Rangers at 4:05 p.m. ET. He has been on a roll in his past three starts, giving up two earned runs in 24 2/3 innings (0.73 ERA) with 38 strikeouts.
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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.