- Associated Press - Sunday, October 16, 2011

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — The Texas Rangers are back in the World Series with a boom and a purpose. Just getting there isn’t enough this time.

“We’ve got that experience,” Ian Kinsler said. “It wasn’t a very good one, but we have the experience.”

Texas advanced to its first World Series before bowing to San Francisco in five games last year. The Rangers quickly earned another chance to win their first championship.

Texas won its second consecutive American League pennant after an unprecedented playoff power display by Nelson Cruz, who amassed six home runs and 13 RBI in the six-game AL championship series. The Rangers beat Detroit 15-5 in the clincher after a nine-run outburst in the third inning.

“It was a group commitment. We weren’t very happy with the results [against the Giants], and we certainly knew that we were a better team than we showed,” manager Ron Washington said before relaying what Michael Young told teammates after last year’s World Series.

The message from the team’s longest-tenured player: “Enjoy your winter, but don’t turn it off mentally. We’re capable of getting back.”

And they were, even without Cliff Lee.

The franchise that began as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961, then moved to Texas in 1972 with Ted Williams as its manager, opens another World Series on Wednesday night at St. Louis or Milwaukee.

The World Series returns deep into the heart of Texas with Game 3 on Saturday night.

“It’s amazing but I have to say that I couldn’t be prouder for this group of men,” team president and CEO Nolan Ryan said. “They came together this spring on a mission, with one thing in mind. And this is the steppingstone of what they want to get it done, and that’s to win a world championship.”

The Rangers had a day off Sunday. They will work out at home Monday afternoon, then fly to the National League city the following morning.

Hall of Fame pitcher Ryan advanced to only one World Series as a player, as a 22-year-old reliever for the 1969 Amazin’ Mets. He’s going to his second in a row as a team executive since the ownership group he is part of finally acquired the Rangers in August 2010.

Texas is the AL’s first consecutive pennant winner since the New York Yankees won four in a row from 1998 through 2001.

“We know what we’re capable of. Last year, we knew we had a group of guys and knew we could go on a run like this. And here we are again,” said Young, in his 11th season with Texas. “Nothing’s going to sneak up on us in the World Series. We know that the environment is going to be like….We’ll be ready for it.”

Before last year, the Rangers had won only one playoff game. They had never won a playoff series, being knocked out of the postseason by the Yankees in 1996, 1998 and 1999 AL division series.

Now they will try to be the first team since the Oakland Athletics in 1989 to win the World Series a year after losing it.

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