By Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers were finally able to put together a big comeback Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, with Elvis Andrus leading the charge.
The shortstop collected a career-high five RBIs as the Rangers rallied from to beat the Rays 9-5.
Before overcoming a 5-2 deficit Tuesday, Texas hadn’t won a game in which it trailed by more than two runs. The Rangers also were 3-15 when trailing after six innings.
Andrus changed all of that with two big swings. He tied the game at 5-5 with a three-run homer off Danny Farquhar in the bottom of the seventh. Then, in the eighth inning, he capped a four-run rally off Chase Whitley (1-1) with a two-run single to left.
“(The win) was a good one, especially the way things were going through the middle innings,” said Andrus, who went 3-for-5. “Everybody thought we were out of it, but that was not the case. We were able to come back, knowing and believing that we can turn the game around at any point.”
The Rangers led 2-0 early but found themselves in a 5-2 hole after five innings as the Rays rapped three homers off Texas starter Nick Martinez.
Tampa Bay was forced to extend its bullpen because Matt Andriese exited after just 1 2/3 innings with a strained groin. That worked until the seventh when Andrus hit his two-run homer off Farquhar, the fourth of six Tampa Bay pitchers.
The Rangers took the lead in the eighth on a bases-loaded single from outfielder Jared Hoying off Whitley. Shin-Soo Choo, who led off the first with a homer, pushed the lead to 7-5 with a sacrifice fly ahead of Andrus’ third hit of the night.
“We needed a game like that where we fought all the way to the end,” Hoying said. “We put together great at-bats all night. We got some stuff to break through. We had runners on. Elvis hit that big three-run home run. That was unbelievable. Then he had those two RBIs there, and that kind of sealed the deal. Elvis was outstanding tonight.”
The rally made a winner of Keone Kela (2-1), who pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
Whitley allowed four hits and four runs in an inning.
The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on Choo’s homer and an RBI single from Nomar Mazara.
Tampa Bay scored four times off Martinez in the third inning. Daniel Robertson opened the inning with a solo homer and Steven Souza Jr. closed the scoring with a two-run shot that put the Rays up 4-2.
The Rays, who lead the majors with 79 home runs, got another from Kevin Kiermaier in the fifth to push the advantage to 5-2.
“That was a tough loss, but I think you can pull a lot of positives from it,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “The way the bullpen really stepped up after Andriese’s injury. Found their way to kind of navigate their way through that game. We asked a lot of those guys, and they really stepped up for us.”
Andriese is hoping he can avoid the disabled list after his early exit.
“I’ll see how it feels,” he said. “I’ll get some treatment on it. We’ve got a couple days off before my next start, so we’ll go from there. This is not something you can really prevent. I went through my normal routine.”
Tim Beckham had three of the 10 Tampa Bay hits. The Rangers finished with 11 hits, with Joey Gallo and Mazara each collecting two.