Odor becoming force at top of lineup

Rangers leadoff man goes 3-for-5 with long homer, two-run double

May 7th, 2016

DETROIT -- Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor is doing his best to prove his second-half outburst last season wasn't simply a fluke.

Odor continued to swing a hot bat Friday night, going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs to help lead the Rangers to a 5-1 series-opening win over the Tigers at Comerica Park.

It was the team-high fifth home run for Odor, who added a two-run double in the ninth inning to give the Rangers a much-needed five-run cushion with the top of Detroit's lineup due up.

"You can't be not pleased with [Odor], that goes without saying," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Obviously, we look to Rougie to be a force in the lineup. It's something that he did in the second half for us."

Odor struggled at the plate in the early going this season, hitting .205 in his first 12 games. But the 22-year-old infielder has busted out of late and raised his batting average to .287.

Skepticism has surrounded Odor since his second-half breakout in 2015, when he hit .292 with 15 home runs after being called up in mid-June. But he has exceeded expectations, giving the Rangers a five-tool player at the top of their lineup.

"Early on, it was sporadic, but now he's found a nice little rhythm," Banister said. "He's seeing the ball well, and he's very balanced at the plate."

A seventh-inning single to right field marked the 10th multihit game this season for Odor, who is 16-for-42 (.381) in his last 10 games.

"He's putting good swings on the baseball," Banister said. "And when he gets a ball to hit, he tends to find the barrel."