By Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers finally have the offensive lineup they thought they’d have when the season started — and it’s paying dividends.
Texas hit four homers Saturday and moved over the .500 mark for the first time since May 24 by pounding Seattle 10-4.
It marked the second consecutive game for Texas to reach double figures, a first for the season. The Rangers have scored double figures in runs in consecutive games just twice since the start of the 2016 season.
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ARLINGTON, TX - June 17: Texas Rangers pitcher Jose Leclerc (62) throws to the plate during the game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers on June 17, 2017, at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. (Photo by George Walker/DFWsportsonline)
The Rangers have now won seven of their last eight games while Seattle fell to 2-4 on their road trip.
Texas set the tone in the first by scoring five times with two outs off Yovani Gallardo (3-7), thanks to five straight hits. After Seattle cut the lead to 5-4, the Rangers blew the game open with three homers in the bottom of the sixth.
“For the first time in the whole season, for two games straight, we have the nine guys that are supposed to be there,” said outfielder Carlos Gomez, who had a two-run single in the first inning. “We believe this is one of the best lineups in the league. We’re going to come up with runs.”
Designated hitter Mike Napoli had two of the homers, both two-run shots. His first completed the five-run first inning. His second capped the sixth inning, which also included a solo homer from Rougned Odor and a two-run homer from Shin-Soo Choo.
Texas recorded the back-to-back big games since Napoli and Gomez came off the disabled list Friday. On Saturday, the Rangers combined for three hits, six RBIs and four runs scored.
“To be able to insert Gomez and Nap and have them come back and have them do what they did is crucial for us going forward,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “We need that lineup to be lengthened out.”
Odor started the scoring in the first with an RBI double and Gomez followed with a two-run single. Napoli then hit his first homer of the game.
Seattle got back in the game with a run in the third off Martin Perez (3-6) and then three runs in the sixth. Mike Zunino’s three-run homer cut the Texas lead to 5-4.
Texas blew the game open the bottom of the frame, scoring five times off Dan Altavilla. Odor homered to open the inning, Napoli hit his second blast two batters later and Choo added another two-run homer to extend the lead to 10-4.
That big bottom of the sixth ended any Seattle momentum from the top of the frame.
“Zunino gets the big hit to get us back into the game,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “At that point, felt good about going to Danny Altavilla. Been out four or five days. Got some balls up, and you can’t do that with this club. It’s disappointing when you battle your way back into that game.”
Martin Perez picked up his first win since May 18 as he allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Gallardo lasted just five innings, giving up five runs on six hits. He allowed just one hit after the first inning.
“It’s always the one inning,” Gallardo said. “I’ve got to find a way to put guys away after two strikes. It’s frustrating. I made some pretty good pitches. The one to (Nomar) Mazara, a fastball up and in, he puts it down the third-base line for a base hit. Then the same to (Adrian) Beltre. He just kind of flicks his bat out there. I made a couple of mistakes throwing to Odor. I tried to throw a cutter up and in, and it stayed out over the middle of the plate. Then the one to Napoli was up in the zone.”
Texas had 10 hits, with Napoli, Odor, Choo and Mazara each collecting two. Gomez, Odor and Choo each had two RBIs.
Guillermo Heredia went 2-for-4 with a run scored for Seattle and Mitch Haniger also had two hits. Taylor Motter brought in Seattle’s first run with an RBI double in the third inning.