Manager Ron Washington wanted to shake things up and get Shin-Soo Choo back to the top of the lineup Friday. Choo batted leadoff for the first time since June 6, after 17 games as the third hitter. He recorded his first three-hit game since May 2, with two singles and an RBI double.
While Choo is adamant about the fact that his batting order position doesn’t affect his approach at the plate, he does feel more comfortable in the leadoff spot.
“I feel like it’s me coming back to home,” he said of his return to the top spot in the order. “Beltre is hitting so hot right now...if we get somebody on base there’s a good chance to score.”
How the other lineup changes shook out
- Leonys Martin batted in the sixth spot for just the fourth time this year and the first since June 1. Martin singled to right field in an 11-pitch at-bat for his only hit of the night. He was 1-for-4.
- Carlos Pena batted third for the first time this season, going 1-for-4 with a single through the shift in the eighth inning to set up the game-winning sac fly from Adrian Beltre. Pena batted third four times last season, including twice against Texas while playing for Houston.
- Luis Sardinas got the start at third base, just the third time he’s seen action at the hot corner this season. Sardinas played solid defense for eight innings, making every play he needed to including a nice play ranging to his left.
He committed an error that helped fuel the ninth-inning scare, but did record the game’s final out on a Kurt Suzuki grounder. Sardinas hit an RBI double in the fifth.
Washington said he was pleased with how the lineup adjustments paid off.
"It did [work]," Wash said. "I'll run the same lineup out there tomorrow and see what happens."
- Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers entered game with MLB-worst .604 OPS from No. 3 spot.
- Nick Tepesch tied a career high with 7.1 shutout innings. His only other outing with 7.1 innings came in his major league debut.
- Tepesch has seven career wins now in his second season, and three have come against the Twins. He has an ERA just over 1.30 against Minnesota, but said there’s nothing special about throwing against the Twins. He even took a page out of Ron Washington’s book to describe it.
“I don’t think it’s any more comfortable than against any other team,” he said. “That’s just the way baseball goes sometimes.”