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09/11/07 5:23 PM ET
Rangers slug past Tigers in Game 1
Offense smacks seven home runs in first half of doubleheader
By Tim Kirby / MLB.com
DETROIT -- As much as manager Ron Washington dislikes doubleheaders. His players certainly don't seem to mind. "I don't like doubleheaders," Washington reiterated in his office after the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Tigers. The Rangers hit a season-high seven home runs and got contributions from just about everybody in a 13-6 win at Comerica Park in Detroit. "We are a doubleheader team -- it seems that way," said Marlon Byrd, who hit two of the team's seven homers. The Rangers were 17 runs away from the 30-run total they recorded in the first game of a doubleheader against the Orioles on Aug. 22, but their offensive output still achieved quite a few accomplishments. David Murphy came within a triple of the cycle, Freddy Guzman hit his first Major League home run, Byrd had the first multi-homer game of his career and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez became the sixth Rangers to hit back-to-back homers this season. "It's more impressive that we're putting together such great at-bats -- one consistently after another," Murphy said. "You can play baseball games and get 10 or 12 hits but scatter them. We've been hitting with runners in scoring position, we've been getting guys on when we need to and driving them in." Murphy led off the second inning with a homer -- but just barely. Murphy's drive to left field appeared to graze the glove of Marcus Thames as the ball then hit the top of the fence. The ball bounced off the top of the wall and into the Tigers bullpen for a 2-0 Rangers lead. Byrd followed with a homer in the next inning that wasn't quite a tape-measure shot either, but still managed to put the Rangers ahead 4-0. Byrd's eighth homer of the season reached the first row of the right-field seats and established a new career high. Byrd, who batted cleanup for the 30th time this season, also added a 410-foot blast to left-center field in the fifth. Still, Washington wants to make sure Byrd doesn't get too power-happy. "I told Marlon when I put him there 'Just hit the way you can hit. Don't be trying to hit home runs. If you've gotta drive in runs, you can drive them in with singles, you can drive them in with doubles,'" Washington said. "Whatever home runs he gets is good, but I don't want him thinking like that because he won't be there when we get a legitimate fourth hitter." Saltalamacchia and Vazquez added back-to-back homers later in the fifth off of Jose Capellan for a 10-0 lead. Hank Blalock joined the home run frenzy in the seventh with a homer to deep center field, conservatively estimated at 440-feet. Detroit starter Chad Durbin was pulled after 2 2/3 innings, while Vicente Padilla breezed through the Tigers lineup. Padilla gave up three hits -- all of them infield singles -- through six innings. "He worked off his fastball and made everything else look good," Washington said of Padilla. Padilla did not speak to reporters following the game. The Rangers have now won six straight -- their longest streak of the season -- and are 13-2 in their last 15 games, putting them five games within a .500 record. "We're not going any place [in the standings], but they show up everyday, and they get their work in," Washington said. "They're not looking at this as being the end of the season -- they're just playing it as long as there's games on the schedule, and that shows good professionalism." About the only complaints after the game came because Murphy fell a measly single shy of the cycle. He struck out against Clay Rapada to end the top of the ninth inning. "It would have been fun," Murphy said. "But if I can't be happy with the day that I had, there's something wrong."
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.