Rangers' offensive onslaught sinks Mariners
Hamilton, Young both go deep to power club's 17-hit attack
ARLINGTON -- In the first of a four-game series against the Mariners on Monday, Seattle pitcher Cliff Lee handcuffed the Rangers by giving up only two ninth-inning runs in a complete-game win.But the Rangers dominated the Mariners over the next three games, capping a series win with a 12-3 victory over their American League West rivals Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. After being nearly shut out in the first game, the Rangers' offense outscored the Mariners, 31-6, over the next three games. Texas' past four victories have been by at least five runs. "Those bats came to life again. We continue to swing the bat and put runs on the board," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But I don't know if we dominated. The past couple of games, we've scored a bunch of runs." Leading the way for the Rangers in the three-game win streak were Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero. The three combined to go 17-for-38 (.447) with five home runs, 18 RBIs and 14 runs scored. "It's just one of those things where we were fortunate to catch some breaks," Young said. "We're pretty confident in our offensive approach. We don't ever expect to have outbursts like that, but we like our approach, and our pitching has done a really great job." It's proved beneficial to the bottom of the order, too. Justin Smoak and Julio Borbon combined to go 10-for-21 (.476) with three RBIs over the past three games. Borbon capped it with a 3-for-3 performance on Thursday, pushing his hit streak to eight games. "This homestand, the bottom of our order has been huge," Young said. "This series has kind of shown what we're capable of doing when we get contributions one through nine. We have a chance to be a really deep offense. It's been a lot of fun to be apart of, and hopefully, we can keep it up." But Smoak credited the performance of the bottom order to those at the top. "There's not much pressure on you with those guys in the lineup," Smoak said. "Those guys are ridiculous. We just have to go out and compete in every at-bat. "It can happen any time with this lineup. This lineup is very good. Any time we get hot, it can be bad for the other time. These past few games have been good." The Rangers scored three runs in the first inning and cruised from there. After Guerrero laced an RBI single to score Elvis Andrus from third, Hamilton lined his 13th home run of the year into the right-field seats, giving Texas an early 3-0 lead. The Rangers added four more in the third as Young homered, Ian Kinsler scored on a fielding error, Guerrero scored on a fielder's choice and Matt Treanor laced an RBI single. That proved plenty run support for starting pitcher Tommy Hunter, who picked up his second win in as many starts this season by throwing six innings while giving up three runs -- two earned -- on five hits with five strikeouts. "They scored some runs today," Hunter said. "They came out and hit the ball. It's fun to pitch when you get run support like that." But while the Rangers were celebrating the offensive output, the Mariners were blaming their own defensive miscues on the latest lopsided loss. Two Seattle errors led to eight unearned runs, four of which came off starter Ryan Rowland-Smith. The others came off reliever Brandon League. "It's hard to tell the outcome of a ballgame if you don't make the defensive plays behind the pitcher," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "[There were] eight unearned runs on two ground balls that have to be made."
Added Rowland-Smith: "That stuff is going to happen. It's not like I'm sitting there blaming the entire game on that. The bottom line is you have to work through that and pitch around it."But the Rangers will gladly accept their recent offensive output no matter how the runs score. "We're scoring runs, I love it. Hopefully, we continue it," Washington said. "Once again, the pitching stops hitting. We got some pitches up in the zone in some areas and we never missed it. It all starts with the middle of our lineup. "Right now, everybody's really pulling their weight, and that's what it's going to take the rest of the year -- for everyone to get involved."
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.