Rangers bats come alive, avoid sweep with 6-2 win

Rangers bats come alive, avoid sweep with 6-2 win

Credit: Getty Images

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 18: Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers makes contact for an infield chopper during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Park on May 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Choo would make it to first on the play. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

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by LANDON HAAF

WFAA Sports

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Updated Sunday, May 18 at 5:45 PM

The narrative was flipped on Sunday for the sputtering-of-late offense against the Toronto Blue Jays.

While the club had only two hits that left the infield heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, its six total hits were good enough to plate six runs and earn a win in a matinee bout with a Southeastern-Canadian foe.

Mitch Moreland provided the go-ahead runs in the seventh inning with a two-run, line shot home run over the right field wall. Moreland’s second blast of the season scored Alex Rios, who reached on an error to start the inning.

The Rangers’ first extra-base hit of the series was a two-RBI triple by Rios in the fourth inning of Sunday’s series finale. The fourth frame also marked the first multi-run inning for the Rangers since last Wednesday against Houston.

They would tally three such innings Sunday, with Moreland putting up a big hit in each of the last two.

"It's huge. When you put up a couple runs like that and keep putting pressure on the other team, the crack," Moreland said. "That was big for us today to put some runs on the board and let our pitching staff work."

Moreland got the start at first base for the injured Prince Fielder, who was not with the team Sunday.

"The way he hit [left-handed pitcher Brett] Cecil today, I wish he'd do that more often and he would see more playing time," manager Ron Washington said. "Mitch is a big part and today he stepped up huge for us."

Texas tacked on two more runs in the eighth inning, more than doubling its output of hits for the day. Elvis Andrus led off the inning with the second infield hit of the day for the Rangers, and Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre followed with run-scoring hits.

Knuckleballing Blue Jay starter R.A. Dickey held Texas hitless through three innings until Choo reached on a one-out infield single. Beltre walked before Rios stung his former team (2004-09) by bringing both runners across with a shot off the right field wall.

Dickey exited with two outs in the seventh with just three hits to his ledger.

Nick Martinez was expected to throw 60 pitches in his first start since April 22, but turned in five strong innings with one earned run allowed on 84 pitches.

"He gave us everything we needed," Washington said. "We needed him to get as deep as he possibly could. It all started with Martinez keeping us around and he certainly did that."

"We were going to just let the game dictate what my pitch count was," Martinez said. "It took me to the fifth. There's nothing more I could do, obviously they need to build me back up."

Martinez had thrown a total of 6.2 innings over four outings in the month of May. His highest pitch count over that span was 42 on May 4.

Martinez threw first pitch strikes to 12 of the 21 batters he faced. Of the three batters he walked, he fell behind two on the first pitch. Washington said the 23-year-old did a good job keeping pitches low in the zone Sunday, but began to elevate in the fifth inning.

Catcher Robinson Chirinos helped the cause of the young starter by throwing out his tenth runner of the season. Chirinos's assist erased a leadoff walk in Martinez's final inning.

Aaron Poreda relieved Martinez, surrendering his first home run of the season to Edwin Encarnacion. Poreda, who carried a 0.00 ERA into his May 14 outing, has surrendered a run in each of his last three appearances.

Shawn Tolleson pitched a perfect eighth inning before Joakim Soria shut it down in the ninth inning in his first action since May 12. Sunday was Soria’s 30th birthday.

Sunday's game featured four discussions with umpires from Toronto manager John Gibbons, including a two-minute, 57-second replay review in the seventh inning.

Texas has an off day Monday before beginning a series with Seattle Tuesday.

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