SEATTLE -- The Rangers need to do two things to fix their terrible road record -- their offense needs to put more runs on the board and they need better pitching away from Arlington.
The Rangers found both on a cold Saturday night at T-Mobile Park with Mike Minor on the mound and the offensive muscle showing up against the Mariners pitching.
That combination allowed the Rangers to smash a five-game losing streak with an 15-1 victory over the Mariners. All five losses had been on the current road trip to Oakland and Seattle, including an 11-inning walk-off defeat Friday night that has been particularly tough to absorb.
“To see our offense get off to the start that it did and continue the at-bats, hopefully it will turn into more as we get going,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “It was nice to get the monkey off our backs and have an explosive game. Obviously we were starving for results. For the most part we were sticking to the process but at some point you need results. We got some today."
The 13 strikeouts were a career-high for Minor and tied the Rangers' club record for a left-hander shared by Jamie Moyer on April 8, 1989 and Cliff Lee on July 27, 2010. The overall record is 16, done twice by Nolan Ryan. The Rangers saw no need for Minor to chase that one after throwing 111 pitches, his most in one game over two seasons in Texas.
“It’s cool,” Minor said. “I knew tonight I was in control of it. I felt a lot of the counts were 0-2, 1-2. I was getting ahead of them. I didn’t feel I had great stuff, overpowering stuff, but I was putting the ball where I wanted it.”
More important for Minor was snapping the losing streak and giving the bullpen some breathing room. Ariel Jurado, called up from Triple-A on Friday, took care of the final two innings.
“Yeah, for sure,” Minor said. “We battled last night. We haven’t played well the last couple of games, so we really needed a win tonight. Early on, I knew it was going to be tough with the weather, but I just kind of grinded through it and gave them as many innings as I could because I knew the bullpen was kind of spent.”
The offense gave Minor plenty of cushion with season highs in runs scored and 20 hits. Their seven doubles and 10 extra-base hits were also the most this season.
“This game is a lot about momentum from an offensive and a pitching standpoint, so hopefully this will catapult us on both sides of the ball moving forward,” Woodward said. “I don’t think our team has any issues playing on the road. It’s not that there is a different mindset when we go on the road. I just think we haven’t had results. I think that kind of starts to wear on you after awhile and yesterday’s game we played pretty well and we didn’t win. It kind of frustrated guys."
The Rangers entered the game with a 2-9 record on the road, and it was by merit. In those 11 games, their offense was hitting .242 with a .388 slugging percentage and an average of 3.7 runs per game. Their pitching staff had a 6.17 ERA.
The Rangers had also hit just three three-run home runs in their first 25 games before Andrus and Odor delivered Saturday from the top of the lineup. For Odor, it was his first hit since being activated off the injured list Friday. He was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in his first game back on Friday.
The bottom of the Rangers lineup also did damage. Danny Santana, Logan Forsythe and Jeff Mathis were a 9-for-16 with four runs scored and four RBIs.
“We needed this, especially on the road, we haven’t had much luck lately,” Andrus said. “Today was an amazing game for us, hopefully we can carry this momentum going forward.”