Well-rested Martin, Andrus ignite offense
August, 19, 2013
By Todd Wills | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Leonys Martin had much of Sunday's game off (he came in to play center in the ninth), and Elvis Andrus was the designated hitter.
It was mostly a day of rest.
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Give Elvis Andrus and Leonys Martin, front right, a little rest and good things happen, like six combined runs Monday in the Rangers' drubbing of the Astros.
That worked to the Rangers' advantage in Monday's 16-5 throttling of the Houston Astros, which included an 11-run third inning.
Martin and Andrus came out with barrels of energy to ignite the Rangers. Not only did they start the first and third innings with back-to-back singles, but they combined to score six runs as Texas built a 13-1 lead, with Andrus also stealing home.
"When they're going, we're at our best," manager Ron Washington said.
Washington took some heat -- and admitted some fault -- for not resting his regulars enough last season, part of the reason why the Rangers collapsed in September. That won't be discussed this season.
Washington has used the designated hitter spot to give Andrus, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre 27 combined days off from playing the field. Kinsler was the DH on Monday, with Jurickson Profar, who has rotated among their positions, playing second base.
Craig Gentry, who's been a highly productive player off the bench this month, started for Martin on Sunday after Martin started all 18 games during a 15-3 roll for the Rangers. Martin did come in late in Sunday's 4-3 loss, but he looked refreshed on Monday.
"Martin needed that day off yesterday because he came out today with a lot of energy," Washington said.
Martin reached on an infield single to start the bottom of the first. Andrus followed with a single to right field to move Martin to third. Andrus swiped second to set up the Rangers' first scoring opportunity. Kinsler made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly, with Andrus moving to third.
The Astros then elected to intentionally walk Beltre, setting up the second run. Washington put on a run-and-hit with a 3-2 count on A.J. Pierzynski; and while Beltre swiped second base, Andrus alertly bolted for home. It was his third steal of home since 2011.
"I knew Adrian was running," Andrus said. "I was trying to see the difference if he went quick to home plate or if he was going to go slow. I saw that he would have a good chance to make it. That's when I took off for home plate."
Martin and Andrus ignited an 11-run outbreak in the bottom of the third with singles to start the inning. The Rangers had two-run hits from Pierzynski, Mitch Moreland and Kinsler. They took advantage of two Houston errors.
Pierzynski, who ended a Rangers' home-run drought at 46 innings with a solo shot in the seventh, had three RBIs on two singles in the bottom of the third as Texas sent 15 batters to the plate.
It was the Rangers' biggest inning of the year, and it started with the top two batters in their lineup.
"That's our job," Andrus said. "Every time we get on base and put ourselves in a scoring situation, you're going to make things easier for Ian, Adrian and Pierzynski.
“I know my job, I know my role and that's what we're trying to do every night."