After a rough season-opening road trip, the Texas Rangers are enjoying success at home.
The Rangers try for a second straight series victory Tuesday when they continue their three-game set with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Texas (3-4) was swept in three games in its season-opening series against the Los Angeles Angels, but returned home to take two of three from Boston over the weekend. On Monday, the Rangers followed that up with an 8-4 win over the Devil Rays (2-4).
Texas was outscored 17-7 against Los Angeles, but has since outscored its opponents 20-11. First-year manager Ron Washington is most pleased his team isn’t relying on home runs the way it has in recent years.
“We knew all the while that we were capable of doing the things that we are starting to do,” Washington said. “It’s starting to come together.”
The Rangers have hit just four homers this season, only one of which came in a win. Sammy Sosa, who signed with Texas after sitting out last season, connected for his lone homer in Saturday’s 8-4 victory over the Red Sox.
On Monday, the Rangers got a season-high 15 hits and scored six runs in the sixth inning with six two-out hits. Texas had just eight two-out hits in its first six games but matched that total in the series opener.
“You’ve got to get your two-out hits if you want to be a winning club. Everybody in this room knows it,” said Ian Kinsler, who went 4-for-4 with two RBIs in his first-ever four-hit game. “It’s something we definitely needed.”
The Devil Rays, meanwhile, have been outscored 22-12 during a three-game losing streak. Carl Crawford homered for Tampa Bay, which fell to 3-13 in Texas since the start of the 2003 season.
Starter Jae Seo (0-0, 7.11 ERA) will look to help the Devil Rays bounce back on Tuesday. The Korean right-hander gave up five runs and 11 hits in 6 1-3 innings in his season debut on Thursday, but did not receive a decision in Tampa Bay’s 7-6 win at Yankee Stadium.
Seo won his only previous start against the Rangers, allowing two runs in seven innings of an 8-2 victory in Texas on June 11, 2003 while still with the New York Mets.
Texas will counter with Jamey Wright, who is making his season debut as Texas’ No. 5 starter. The journeyman right-hander made San Francisco’s rotation last season but eventually ended up in the bullpen and finished the year 6-10 with a 5.19 ERA.
Wright, who has never faced the Devil Rays, made a start for Double-A Frisco on Thursday and gave up two runs in four innings.
“I’m excited it’s finally here,” Wright said of his Rangers debut. “It’s been difficult for all these games to sit and watch.”