ARLINGTON -- For the second game in a row, Rougned Odor's heads-up running on the basepaths paid off. After stealing two bases and scoring three runs in the Rangers' win on Monday, the second baseman provided what was, at the time, a crucial insurance run Texas needed in the seventh
ARLINGTON -- For the second game in a row, Rougned Odor's heads-up running on the basepaths paid off. After stealing two bases and scoring three runs in the Rangers' win on Monday, the second baseman provided what was, at the time, a crucial insurance run Texas needed in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 10-4 win.
The Tigers had scored twice in the top of the inning to cut the Rangers' lead to 5-3. Odor walked to lead off the inning, and with Robinson Chirinos batting, he stole second. Detroit catcher John Hicks' throw skipped past Ian Kinsler and into center field, allowing Odor to advance to third with nobody out.
But Chirinos struck out and Delino DeShields' flyout to right wasn't deep enough for Odor to tag up on. So he tried something else. Odor noticed something in Detroit lefty Daniel Stumpf's delivery, so he bluffed an attempt to steal home. Once he saw how Stumpf reacted, Odor knew he had him.
"I saw him jockeying two pitches before that," Stumpf said. "Saw him in the corner, didn't think anything of it. Made my next pitch … I got lazy and came up too slow. Looked home and saw Hicks red-eyed it and knew he was moving."
Odor bolted home, scoring easily.
Stumpf had thrown home, but home-plate umpire John Tumpane ruled it a balk once he noticed Stumpf didn't come set before coming to the plate. Even if there wasn't a balk, Odor would've scored anyway. He slid into home well before Hicks applied a tag.
Either way, the Rangers had a three-run lead and a bit of breathing room heading down the stretch.
"Stumpf just got in a zone where he wanted to make his pitch and forgot about the baserunner, and it cost us," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. " ... It was a two-run game. All of a sudden it's a three-run game and we don't have a lot of outs to play with."
The Rangers scored four runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach, so Odor's play didn't end up swinging the game in their favor. But those types of plays are what the Rangers are going to need if they want to remain in contention for the American League Wild Card.
"Just a great play by [Odor]," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He set it up early with the bluff, getting his timing down. When there was no reaction there, it was just a matter of time. You could see it in his face that he was going to go. A great play by him."
Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas who covered the Rangers on Tuesday.