ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—While the Texas Rangers have long been known for their slugging ways, rookie manager Ron Washington has stressed having a versatile offense with clutch hitting.
His team is starting to get the message.
“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.”
Kinsler’s RBI single in the sixth put the Rangers ahead 3-2 and started a six-run outburst with two outs. He was the first of six straight batters that reached against two Tampa Bay relievers who didn’t record an out.
“You’ve got to get your two-out hits if you want to be a winning club. Everybody in this room knows it,” said Kinsler, whose first career four-hit game included a two-out RBI double in the fourth that tied the game. “It’s something we definitely needed.”
Edwin Jackson (0-1), the No. 5 starter for Tampa Bay making his season debut, gave up four runs and eight hits, the last two hits coming after the right-hander got Mark Teixeira and Sammy Sosa out to start the sixth.
Reliever Shawn Camp then allowed Kinsler’s third hit and an RBI single to Chris Stewart, who got his first major league hit and RBI. Ruddy Lugo took over and didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced, giving up a two-run single to Frank Catalanotto and a two-run double to Michael Young.
“I just need to keep talking to these guys, keep them in the right frame of mind and keep throwing them out there,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of his relievers. “That’s who we’ve got, that’s who we’ll work with.”
Gary Glover finally got the Devil Rays out of the jam, needing only one pitch to get Sosa to fly out to short center field.
Brandon McCarthy (1-1) allowed two runs and five hits over six innings in his first home start for Texas since being traded from the White Sox this winter for top pitching prospect John Danks, who made Chicago’s starting rotation this spring. McCarthy struck out five and walked two.
When McCarthy threw his last pitch, the game was tied. It was 8-2 before Kameron Loe threw his first pitch in relief.
“Usually you do a lot of hoping and it usually never happens. But that time it did, the bats were just waiting to explode,” McCarthy said.
“He was great,” Young said of McCarthy. “Early in the game, we weren’t really getting much going. Mac kept throwing zeros. That allowed us to keep being patient to keep waiting for our big inning to kick in. Fortunately it happened.”
The Rangers had just eight two-out hits in their first six games. They had eight against the Devil Rays, six of them coming in the sixth inning.
Nelson Cruz reached base four times with three singles and a walk for the Rangers, who set a season high with 15 hits.
Carl Crawford homered for Tampa Bay, a two-run drive in the seventh for his second of the year.
Tampa Bay rookies Delmon Young and Akinori Iwamura have hit in all six games, and helped lead 2-0 in the opener of a seven-game trip to Texas and Minnesota—places where the Devil Rays didn’t win any games last season.
Ty Wigginton led off Tampa Bay’s second with a single on a high popup to right that Cruz let drop in front of him. Young then doubled off the left-field wall before a two-run single by Iwamura, whose only RBI the first five games came on a solo homer.
The Rangers got even in the fourth when Michael Young had a leadoff single and stole second base. Hank Blalock had a two-out single for his first RBI this season and scored on the double by Kinsler, a shot down the line that third baseman Iwamura got a glove on but couldn’t handle.
Crawford scored his 401st career run, passing Aubrey Huff as Tampa Bay’s career leader. … A throwing error by Stewart on Iwamura’s stolen base in the second was the first error by Texas in 35 innings—almost four full games. The Rangers had five errors in their first two games. … Stewart was the last player on Texas’ 25-man roster to get into a game this season.