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Texas Rangers' Week Eight Review: Winning Homestand Leads to 20-Win May

Matthew IrbySenior Analyst IJune 1, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 13:  Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers on April 13, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After the first month of the season the Rangers were 10-11 sitting 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners and one game ahead of the injury riddled Angels.

Everyone in the organization knew that something needed the change and the Rangers needed to start winning games and winning now.  The team responded with the most wins in the month of May and the second most wins in a month in franchise history.

The Rangers went 4-3 against the Yankees and Athletics this week to bring their month of May record to 20-9.  September of 1978 was the only month that a Texas Rangers team won more games in a month, that team collected 21 victories in a single month.

Many fans will remember last year the Rangers went 19-10 in the month of May after a rough start to the season.

Monday: L, 1-11 (26-18)

In front of a Memorial Day sell-out crowd of 48,914 fans the Yankees took an early lead and never looked back.  Yankee starter Phil Hughes dominated the Rangers last season and picked up where he left off today, going eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out six.

Matt Harrison struggled early on the mound and could never find a groove as the Yankees notched 11 hits off him and 19 in the game.  New York scored the majority of their runs going 9-20 with runners in scoring position.

Tuesday: W, 7-3 (27-18)

After getting slugged the night before, the Rangers came out today and popped the Yankees right back.  Texas got off to a quick start with a 3-0 lead through four innings.

The Yankees got the three runs back and tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning.  In years past when the Yankees have come from behind and either tied or taken the lead on the Rangers, Texas has folded up and eventually lost the game.  That would be different on this night as the Rangers followed the Yankee rally with their own.

Texas scored one run in the sixth, two in the seventh, and another run in the eighth.  The offense was highlighted by struggling Chris Davis driving two solo home runs in the fourth and eighth innings.

Wednesday: L, 2-9 (27-19)

In the finale of the series, Derek Holland took the mound for his second career start and his first at home.  Holland was solid for five innings allowing only three runs to plate, but he went out for the sixth and wasn't able to record any outs. 

New York would take an 8-0 lead before the Rangers got their only runs of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Ian Kinsler smacked a two-run home run his 13th of the season.

Though the Rangers only won one of the three games, the numbers make it seem like the Yankees dominated more than just one game better.  New York out-scored Texas 23 to 9 and out-hit the Rangers 47 to 18.  With runners in scoring position the Yankees hit .341 (14-41), while the Rangers only hit .143 (3-21). 

Thursday: OFF

Friday: GAME ONE - W, 6-3 (28-19)

In the first game of a doubleheader the Rangers sent Tommy Hunter to the mound for his first start of the season.  Hunter went 5.1 innings and allowed only three runs. 

The Ranger bats were a little slow getting started in this one as Josh Outman was dominate for six innings.  Texas scored two runs in the first on a Nelson Cruz double, but couldn't do anything else until Marlon Byrd hit a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the seventh.

The Rangers completed the come-from-behind win with three runs in the eighth behind a two-run home run from Andruw Jones and then directly followed by Cruz's 13th of the season.

GAME TWO - W, 5-2 (29-19)

The Rangers didn't wait for the late innings to rally, score runs, and come from behind to win, they took care of business in the first inning.

After allowing one run in the top of the first Texas responded with a four run inning.  The Rangers batted around in the first and the scoring plays in the inning were RBI doubles from Josh Hamilton and Hank Blalock with the final two runs being scored on a single by Taylor Teagarden.

Texas got another solid, quality start from Scott Feldman who went six innings and allowed only two runs.

Saturday: W, 14-1 (30-19)

After a difficult first inning for starter Brandon McCarthy that took a lot of pitches and plated a single run, the Rangers calm down and put an old-fashion whooping on the A's.

Texas had four separate innings in which they scored three or more runs.  Texas accumulated 17 hits, seven for extra bases, six players had at least two hits, and three separate players had multi-RBI games.

McCarthy would bounce back from the rough first inning and go a full six innings, allowing only the one run, and surrendering only three hits.

The offensive highlights: Ian Kinsler 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 runs, 4 RBI / Michael Young 3-4, 2 2B, run, 2 RBI / Elvis Andrus 3-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI / Solo HRs for Blalock (12), Byrd (4), and Cruz (14).

Sunday: L, 4-5 (30-20)

After the offensive explosion for B-Mac the night before, Kevin Millwood got zero runs in support during his six innings of work.  Millwood only allowed two runs on five hits and both runs coming from solo home runs by Adam Kennedy and Jason Giambi. 

Reliever Derek Holland allowed two more runs in the first of his two innings of work and Texas found themselves in a four run hole going into the bottom of the seventh.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-RBI double in the seventh cut the deficit in half and then the Rangers got the next two runs in the eighth behind RBI from Blalock and Byrd.

However the Rangers could not full come from behind and pull out the victory as Frank Francisco allowed his first earned run of the season.  In the ninth, Kennedy smacked his second home run of the game and fourth of the season to give the A's the eventual game-winner.

Though it started and ended with losses, the Rangers finished with a winning homestand and have now led the AL West for 25 straight games.

The Rangers are off on Monday as they travel to the northeast for series against the AL East powerhouses New York and Boston.  This week will be another major test for this young team to get some perspective where they sit amongst the potential playoff teams.

With the 4-3 homestand and 20-9 month of May the Rangers have improved their overall record to 30-20, that's good for a 4.5 game lead on the Angels (25-24), 6.5 games on the Mariners (24-27), and 10 games on the A's (19-29).

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