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Offensive outburst kept Rangers loose
Question of the Day
ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - Throughout their history, from Jeff Burroughs to Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro, and on to the current group led by Josh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers have been known for their ability to score in bunches.
Monday night provided the latest entry to their legacy of big-bang offense when they put up the most runs and hits in the majors this season in a 20-6 rout of the Minnesota Twins.
A day later, the Rangers' clubhouse was still full of talk about the glut of offense as they got ready for the second of a four-game series against the Twins.
"Nobody wanted to make an out," Nelson Cruz said on Tuesday, recalling his four-hit effort. "It's contagious."
It was hardly a team record-setting performance, however. The Rangers have scored at least 20 runs five times in their history, including a 30-3 pasting of the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 22, 2007.
Rangers players say their dugout is usually loose, but it was looser than usual with the pressure off when they built an 18-1 advantage after five innings.
"When you get a big lead, it's a time you relax in the dugout," said Ian Kinsler, who had a homer among his four hits and matched a career high with four RBIs. "But when you walk up to the plate, you still try to take the best at-bat you can. There's probably more (sunflower) seeds, more gum flying around (in the dugout)."
The Rangers have maintained focus on offense all season. Prior to Tuesday's game, they led the AL in hits (988), were second in batting average (.276), second in runs (526) and second in homers (125).
"It's a loose group, but we're ultra-competitive too," said Michael Young, who homered and drove in three runs. "There's no lackadaisical attitude. We still take our at-bats very seriously. We don't give any away."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said it would be natural to let up with a big lead, but his team didn't do that.
"We didn't let down," Washington said. "But your mind is less cluttered. You're less worried about things. But you can't let down because you can't turn this game on and off. So when you're flowing, you've got to go with it. And it was flowing yesterday."
The Rangers had a league-best 27 hits and became the first team to score 20 runs since Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh 20-0 on April 22 last season.
Mike Napoli also had four hits as all the Rangers starters had at least two except for third baseman Chris Davis, who went 0 for 6.
Hamilton and Endy Chavez also had three RBIs apiece as the Rangers surpassed Cleveland's total in a 19-1 blowout at Kansas City on May 16. Texas also passed the 25 hits that the Los Angeles Dodgers had against Minnesota on June 27.
And the Rangers did all that without RBI leader Adrian Beltre, who's on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring.
Texas continued to thrive against right-handed starters, improving to 42-30 after knocking around Twins righthander Nick Blackburn for nine runs _ six earned _ and 11 hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Texas is only 17-14 against lefty starters. Hamilton entered Tuesday night's game batting .350 against righthanders and only .188 against lefties.
Despite the evidence, the players have few explanations for the disparity.
"That's something we don't think a whole lot about," Young said. "I don't know what's behind it. A lot of times, those things are pretty coincidental."
The Twins' bullpen was so drained that manager Ron Gardenhire had outfielder Michael Cuddyer pitch the eighth.
Texas loaded the bases with one out against Cuddyer, who managed to work out of the jam.
Washington said he encouraged his hitters to maintain their intensity against Cuddyer.
"Because he's a position player, he's got no business on that mound," Washington said. "I don't want him going back and talking about how he got me out. ... It's time to pad your stats. I'm gonna give up because there's a position player on the mound? No. That's the attitude you've gotta have. But give Cuddyer credit, he got out of it."
Gardenhire had trouble sleeping after watching his team allow 10 or more runs for the 12th time this season and the most by the Twins since giving up 23 to the Kansas City Royals in 1974.
"There's no sense in going over a game like that," Gardenhire said on Tuesday. "It wasn't a fun game to sit through."
His hope for the Rangers heading into Tuesday night's game?
"They've got to be tired," Gardenhire said. "We wore 'em out last night."
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
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