The losing skid is over.
The Rangers wasted no time – literally no time at all – in jumping out to an early lead en route to a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night. Ian Kinsler hit the first pitch of the game over the left field fence, just inside the foul pole for a 1-0 Ranger lead.
A Ranger lead. Something the Rangers hadn’t seen since Sept. 8. And they didn’t look back.
The third inning saw Texas plate four runs after the inning began with a walk and three consecutive hits. Mitch Moreland walked, and a Leonys Martin double put runners on second and third for Kinsler, who brought both home with a two-RBI single.
Elvis Andrus followed with his third home run of the season (also his third home run since Aug. 10), a two-run shot to left.
Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson was chased from the game with two outs in the third inning with a five-run deficit.
Andrus added a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, on which Leonys Martin dove across home just ahead of a bullet from Wil Myers in right field.
Martin sent a 2-2 pitch 10 rows deep in right field, over a concourse entrance at The Trop. Leonys also recorded two doubles, making it his first career game with three extra-base hits.
The Rays mustered just the one run on a third-inning solo home run by Jose Lobaton. Lobaton was the first Ray to reach against Rangers starter Alexi Ogando.
The Rangers entered the game with a pitch-by-committee mindset, as the first bullpen action started in the third inning. Ogando threw just 69 pitches over five innings, pitching on just one day’s rest after making a relief outing against Oakland on Sunday.
Ogando fanned four Rays hitters while earning win no. 7 on the season. Manager Ron Washington gave Ogando a hug in the dugout after the righty was pulled from the game - a sign of how thankful the skipper was for Ogando's five quality innings in a big game.
Joakim Soria and Neal Cotts dealt a scoreless sixth and seventh inning, respectively. Tanner Scheppers threw a perfect eighth inning, and Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.
Tampa Bay tallied only four hits against the five Ranger arms in the game. Ben Zobrist singled in the third inning,
Myers, who hit a home run and a double and recorded three RBIs Monday, went 2-for-4 Tuesday night. The Rookie of the Year candidate nailed a ball off the left-center field fence with the bases empty and one out in the sixth, and singled to lead off the ninth.
The Rangers snapped a seven-game losing streak with the win, and moved back into a tie with Tampa Bay for the AL Wild Card.
Game three of a four-game series with Tampa Bay is scheduled for Wednesday night. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. CT.