Rangers race to eighth win in nine games
Six steals help Texas pile on without an extra-base hit
ANAHEIM -- Manager Ron Washington didn't want to hear about "small ball."
"I call it playing baseball," Washington said. "You can call it small ball, but I call it winning baseball. We play winning baseball."
He also didn't want to talk about the 8-3 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night illustrating on how the Rangers have to win while Nelson Cruz serves his 50-game suspension.
"What you saw tonight, you would have seen the same thing if Nelson Cruz was in the lineup," Washington said. "Our game is what it is, and we're not going to change. We've got different guys in the lineup, but aggressiveness has always been a part of our ballclub and we're going to use it."
What people saw on Tuesday night is the Rangers score eight runs against the Angels without the benefit of an extra-base hit. Instead, they parlayed 12 singles, six stolen bases, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly into their eighth win in their last nine games. The Rangers also took advantage of three Angels wild pitches and a crucial error in the eighth inning that led to a game-breaking four-run rally.
This was the most runs the Rangers scored in a game without an extra-base hit since a 9-2 victory over the Royals on July 30, 1999. It was also only the eighth time in club history the Rangers have scored eight or more runs in a game without an extra-base hit. It's just the fourth time since 1978.
"We don't have to get an extra-base hit to win," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We got singles when we needed them and we got the fly ball when needed it. We're playing baseball. We're just trying to do whatever we need to do to score runs. We don't care how we win games."
The Rangers made up for the lack of extra-base hits with their baserunning. Leonys Martin had three stolen bases, Elvis Andrus had two and Craig Gentry had one against Angels catcher Chris Iannetta.
After the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia expressed his displeasure, not at his catcher, but at his pitchers and their inability to hold runners.
"This is not on Chris at all," Scioscia said. "Chris is throwing the ball well. This is about the inability of some of our pitchers to make the adjustments they need to make. The reality of it is, if this is going to become Instructional League, we need to make some changes because guys up here should be able to do a better job."
The Rangers' offensive work allowed Yu Darvish to earn his 11th win despite allowing three runs on eight hits, including home runs to Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout leading off the first. He walked three and struck out six. The eight hits were a season high and he allowed 11 baserunners for the second time.
"It was probably the worst outing I've had this year," Darvish said. "But I was able to keep the game close and contribute to the win."
The Rangers manufactured two runs in the first against Angels starter Garrett Richards. Martin led off the inning with a single, stole second and went to third as Andrus reached on an infield single.
Ian Kinsler followed with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Martin. With Beltre at the plate, Andrus advanced to second on a wild pitch and then stole third. Beltre left him there by popping out, but Richards threw another wild pitch with A.J. Pierzynski at the plate and Andrus scored.
Darvish gave the lead right back with the two home runs in the bottom of the first, and the Angels took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a double by Erick Aybar and a single by J.B. Shuck. But the Rangers had only just begun to run.
"This game was a lot of fun," Andrus said. "As a team, it's more fun this way in a game like this rather than hitting a lot of extra-base hits. We take pride in being able to do this."
The Rangers pulled even in the fifth after Mitch Moreland and Jurickson Profar led off with singles. Engel Beltre bunted the runners to second and third, and Martin brought home Moreland with a high chopper to second.
The Rangers went ahead against reliever Kevin Jepsen in the eighth. Andrus led off with a single, stole second and went to third on Kinsler's ground out. Beltre brought him in with a ground-ball single to right. The Rangers then broke it open in the ninth against lefty reliever Nick Maronde and closer Ernesto Frieri.
Gentry, pinch-hitting for Engel Beltre with two outs in the ninth, walked and stole second. Martin hit a chopper to Calhoun, the Angels' first baseman who bobbled the ball momentarily. That was just enough for Martin to beat the flip to Maronde as Gentry raced home from second.
"Two-out, nobody on in the ninth, they blow it open with a PFP play that we mess up and those guys took advantage of us not really giving Chris a chance to throw," Scioscia said, referring to pitchers' fielding practice.
After Martin stole second, the Rangers followed with four straight singles from Andrus, Kinsler, Beltre and Pierzynski that brought home three more runs.
Afterward, Washington smiled when asked if this was one of his favorite games played by the Rangers.
"Very much so," Washington said. "It was quite exciting."