Kiner-Falefa, Calhoun lead Rangers' breakout

May 2nd, 2021

The Rangers’ offense had been oddly quiet when playing at home this season. Texas came into Saturday’s game against Boston second to last in the Majors in runs scored at home, scoring just 37 runs in 14 games at Globe Life Field this season.

But shortstop and designated hitter combined for six hits and four RBIs to spark the offense in the Rangers’ 8-6 win over the Red Sox.

Kiner-Falefa went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, which included a single, a home run and an RBI triple, as he fell a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Kiner-Falefa’s solo shot was his fourth of the season, which tied his personal season high that he set as a rookie in 2018.

The shortstop, who received his 2020 Gold Glove Award before the game, said he has worked on his ability to drive the ball.

“I put a lot of effort, a lot of work in the offseason,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I think I should start a YouTube channel, just to show how much I work. It's pretty cool. It's just everything coming together. It's a pretty cool feeling.”

Kiner-Falefa's triple came in a critical spot for Texas. After Calhoun hit a two-run homer to give the Rangers a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning, Kiner-Falefa stepped up later in the frame with two outs and drove in Charlie Culberson with a liner to the right-center-field gap.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said the RBI triple by Kiner-Falefa was a game-changer.

“[Kiner-Falefa] basically won the game because his triple ended up being the game-winner,” Woodward said. “Now he continues to work, and one thing about him is, no matter how bad I've seen him at times throughout the last couple years, it doesn't matter to him. He's gonna keep grinding, he's gonna keep fighting. The kid is relentless.”

Calhoun also fell short of the cycle, as he went 3-for-4 with a single, a double and a homer. Calhoun extended his hitting streak to eight games, which is a career best. It tied him with Nate Lowe, who also extended his hitting streak to eight games Saturday, for the longest by a Ranger this season.

After having his start to the season delayed by a left groin injury, Calhoun is hitting .333 in 45 at-bats since making his debut on April 17.

During the abbreviated 2020 season, Calhoun hit .190 with one homer in 29 games. With a strong start to 2021 after the injury delay, Calhoun said he feels like he is playing at a higher level.

“Obviously, last year was tough for everyone, but I feel back to normal again,” he said. “It feels good that I was able to get away in the offseason and be able to regroup, and I told myself I want to come back into this year and be myself again. So yeah, definitely, it feels good to finally feel like that again.”

Woodward said the hot start from Calhoun is something that has been coming after the struggles last year and the injury setback this year.

“I think everything he's gone through, honestly, it's all kind of building to where he is now,” Woodward said. “The one thing I'd keep telling him: ‘It doesn't stop, the growth doesn't stop. Who you are today, you're going to be better tomorrow.’ I think that he's really embraced that, and we got to continue [down] that road.”