Brandon Snyder ignites Rangers offense

BALTIMORE -- The Texas Rangers needed somebody to provide a big hit with runners in scoring position to get things rolling. They needed one good at-bat to get the offensive machine that rolled through parts of the AL the first few weeks to return.

Rookie Brandon Snyder provided it. He had a career-high six RBIs on Monday, but his two-strike single to center in the second put the Rangers up 2-0 and seemed to get everyone calmed down and focused at the plate.

Snyder added a three-run homer in the sixth, and the Rangers offense was off and running from there. They ended up with 14 runs -- the second-highest total of the season -- and 19 hits on their way to a 14-3 win in the first game of a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, who came in with the best record in the league.

The Rangers were just 8-for-31 with runners in scoring position in their last four games (1-3) before Monday night. They were 8-for-15 in Monday's 14-3 win.

"We needed to bust out," manager Ron Washington said. "It's been coming. We faced some good pitching in Toronto and Cleveland and they stopped us from driving in some runs that we've always been capable of getting. Tonight we were fortunate enough against [Brian] Matusz to put some balls in play in some situations and drive in some runs, and it became contagious."

It was Snyder that started it. And he did it in front of a host of faimly and friends. He is from Northern Virginia and had plenty of support at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday night. Even after the game, Snyder wasn't sure what to make of his career-high six-RBI night.

"I'll have to get up and read about it to make sure it really happened," Snyder said. "But I'm sure my mom is going to tell me all about it when I leave here."

She should. Snyder was the first-round pick of the Orioles in 2005 (13th overall), but was traded for cash considerations to the Rangers in January. The 25-year-old showed up in Surprise, Ariz., to compete for a bench spot on the club and was a longshot. But he hit well in spring training and the Rangers wanted a right-handed bat off the bench. So Snyder made the club. He's an infielder, but has been working on his outfield play with coach Gary Pettis and came up through the Orioles system initially as a catcher, so he gives Washington some options there.

Snyder said he wasn't treating Monday as any kind of revenge game.

"It's about us going out there and playing a good team right now," Snyder said. "They're obviously doing real well right now and we're playing well. It's not about guys who were Orioles and now Rangers or guys who were Rangers and are now Orioles. It's about going out there and playing ball and trying to win the series.

"I'm just really fortunate for the opportunity the Rangers gave me."

Snyder said that while it bugged him that he was traded and didn't really stick in Baltimore, he's thankful it landed him with a role on the Rangers.

"I look at that as a positive and something to build on," Snyder said.

Snyder's bat got things going, but everyone joined the offensive party. All nine starters had at least one hit. The last to do it was Josh Hamilton, who belted a two-run blast deep to left-center field in the ninth. Michael Young also hit a ninth-inning homer and had three RBIs. Nelson Cruz, who had been struggling, was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI.

"It was good for us to do that," Cruz said. "We needed that kind of offense."