Rangers snap skid with offensive eruption
Club pounds 19 hits, including five during key sixth-inning rally
CHICAGO -- The rap and hip-hop music was quite loud in the Rangers' postgame clubhouse on Tuesday night.
They weren't exactly dancing wildly to D.J. Khaled's "All I Do Is Win" but the Rangers, more than usual, seemed to be laughing, smiling and letting loose with a few primal screams of exuberance after this one was over.
"Nah ... young ears just like the music loud," third baseman Michael Young said.
Not this loud. But the Rangers had a reason to celebrate after snapping a four-game losing streak with a 9-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night. The victory also put the Rangers back in first place in the American League West, although it's only by percentage points.
First place was not what made the Rangers giddy.
"We were coming off four straight losses," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "It was good to get a win and get untracked. It was a battle. A bunch of guys in the bullpen were in the game. We had big hits off the bench and big hits from the starters. It was a good win."
Rich Harden picked up the victory despite falling behind, 4-0, after two innings. He made it through five innings, and then the Rangers used five relievers to get them through the final four innings. Harden allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out one. He is now 3-1, with a 5.33 ERA, after 11 starts.
"At least he kept us in the ballgame," Rangers manager Ron said.
The Rangers had 19 hits, second most in a game this season. Seven players had multiple-hit games, including Justin Smoak, who had an RBI single and a home run in two at-bats off the bench. Craig Gentry, starting in center field, only had one hit, but it was a big two-run single with the bases loaded off of Mark Buehrle in the Rangers' five-run sixth inning.
The Rangers had already blown two bases-loaded opportunities earlier in the game against Buehrle before Gentry came through in the fifth.
"The hit that Gentry got was huge," Washington said. "We finally got a big hit."
The Rangers entered the game 6-for-26 with runners in scoring position during their previous four losses, including 5-for-23 while getting swept in a three-game series in Minnesota.
"We didn't execute like we should [have] in Minnesota," outfielder Josh Hamilton said. "It wasn't that Minnesota was that much better than us, we just didn't execute. We had a hitters' meeting today, and we talked about what we needed to do better."
The Rangers had the bases loaded with one out in the first inning and didn't score. They had the bases loaded with nobody out in the fourth inning and scored one run, when David Murphy hit into a double play.
But they finally broke through in the sixth and ended the night going 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position. The White Sox were 4-for-18.
"It was just a game of being bad from the get-go and pitching out of some jams early," Buehrle said. "When you are falling behind in the count, getting guys on base and pitching out of the first couple innings, it's going to catch up to you. It was a bad game for me. I couldn't get ahead in the count. We go out and get an early lead, and I've got to hold that."
He didn't. A double by Young and single by Kinsler made it 4-2 in the fifth, and then the bottom of the Rangers' order led the breakthrough. Joaquin Arias started the rally with a one-out single, his second of two hits on the night. David Murphy, who led the Rangers with three hits, and Matt Treanor then singled to load the bases.
That brought up Gentry, batting in the No. 9 spot, and he drilled a single up the middle to tie the ballgame.
"Regardless of who it is, this lineup can hit, one through nine," Murphy said. "But it's great to see the bottom of the order start a rally. If we get on base, we know the top of the order is going to drive us in."
Elvis Andrus walked, and Young put the Rangers ahead with a sacrifice fly. Both runners moved up in the process, and Kinsler brought them home with a double into the left-field corner.
"You never know how a ballgame is going to end up, but usually when you have those opportunities early and let them pass, it's going to come back to haunt you," Washington said. "Tonight, the third time was the charm. We just kept putting the pressure on Buehrle."
Kinsler's double made it 7-4, and that would be enough, although it didn't hurt that Smoak, pinch-hitting for Gentry in the seventh, delivered a couple of extra runs. Neftali Feliz faced his own bases-loaded situation in the ninth but got Alexei Ramirez to pop up and Omar Vizquel to fly out to end the game.
Then they turned up the music in the Rangers clubhouse. Loud.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.