ARLINGTON, TX – One night after its worst offensive performance of the season, the Texas Rangers made up for it with, arguably, its most impressive offensive explosion in two seasons.
Joey Gallo hit two of Texas’ four home runs as the Rangers combined to pound out 15 hits and accumulate 31 total bases – the most in a single game for the team since 2015 – in defeating the Miami Marlins 10-4 to go 1-1 in their crucial nine-game home stand.
After Miami got on the board in the top of the first on a Christian Yelich RBI double, the Rangers started their fireworks one inning later, with first baseman Mike Napoli launching a 406-foot bomb to right field to tie the score. His swing was the beginning of what would become an offensive frenzy for the Rangers, whose offense, third from bottom in the majors in hits and team batting average, has relied on the home run ball to produce the majority of its runs this season.
“As an offense, we’ve been struggling,” Napoli said after the game. “It was nice for us to, as a group, put it together, score runs for our pitcher.”
Cole Hamels was the benefit of the Rangers’ run explosion, doing just enough to earn his fifth win of the season: six innings, four earned runs, six hits and five strikeouts.
“The hitters, they came through and really put up some good runs,” Hamels said after the game. “That’s always kind of nice. That really alleviates some of the pressure and you can kind of step back and try to get to your game plan and try to execute.”
After Napoli’s homer in the second, the Rangers scored multiple runs in each of the next four innings. In the third, Joey Gallo hit his first of two home runs, a 421-foot solo shot to right field, to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Four batters later, and after two singles by Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara, Adrian Beltre hit a sacrifice fly to score Choo for a 3-1 lead. Catcher Jonathon Lucroy, who was in an 0-for-22 funk, hit a two-out single to score Mazara for a 4-1 lead. Mazara’s single earlier in the inning had broken his 0-for-26 slump.
Gallo started the fourth with his second homer in as many at-bats, the second time in his career that he has had a multi-homer game. The line-drive shot to right also marked his 25th home run of the season, making Gallo the second-fastest Ranger to reach 25 home runs in a single season, with tonight’s game being the 100th team game of the season. In 2012, Josh Hamilton hit home run No. 25 in the Rangers’ 79th game that season.
Prior to the game, Gallo had been suffering from a sore right hamstring, which prevented Rangers manager Jeff Banister from putting Gallo in left field until tonight.
“As long as I’m here, I’ll catch bullpens if they want me to,” Gallo said after the game. “I want to play and help the team any way I can. Whatever role that is, that’s fine.”
On hitting two home runs, Gallo said, “You’re not thinking there, just put the stuff on and go hit.”
The Marlins were held to one run until the top of the fifth inning. Yelich, who had doubled in the first, hit a three run homer to right, scoring Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton to cut the Rangers’ lead to 6-4. The Rangers answered back with four runs in the bottom of the frame to create the final score line, highlighted by a Rougned Odor solo home run and a two-run double by Choo.
Banister was pleased with his team’s performance, especially the struggling offense.
“After coming off a game where we got shutout, to see the bats come alive, different spots, not only with the home runs, but also with the extra base hits, some walks in there, really our guys’ number of base hits in the middle, line drive variety, that’s a huge plus for us going forward I believe, that’s how an offense goes,” Banister said in the postgame press conference.
“Obviously we’ve seen this offense when it gets momentum, it can kind of continue itself through the lineup, I thought our guys’ approach was very solid staying in the middle field.”
Tonight’s victory marked the 13th win in which the Rangers have scored 10 or more runs.
We’ll Be Seeing Yu?
The third game of the Rangers’ home stand is tomorrow, and will feature Yu Darvish, who has been at the center of trade talks recently, on the mound for Texas.
Throughout his career, Darvish has accumulated a 3.32 ERA and a 52-38 record to go along with recording 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings. This season, Darvish has a respectable 3.44 ERA, but the four-time All-Star has just a 6-8 record, with his strikeouts per nine currently on pace to be a career low (9.7). According to reports, Darvish can block a trade to 10 teams, according to his reported no-trade list: Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Toronto Blue Jays. It will be interesting to see how Rangers fans react to what could potentially be Yu Darvish’s last start as a Texas Ranger.