Five-run fifth sparks Rangers offense

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers scuttling offense found its stride in the fifth inning, scoring five runs en route to a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Things got going when Ian Kinsler reached first on an error with one out and Elvis Andrus was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, down 1-2 in the count. Then, Michael Young hit an RBI single, the first of five consecutive singles in the inning. The Rangers batted around in the fifth, with four players getting RBIs.

"We had a couple of breaks there," Young said. "One good thing about this team is there’s a lot of veteran guys in the lineup who know what adjustments to make. But if we do get the ball rolling in an inning, if we can take advantage of it, it’s definitely a positive sign.”

Sometimes all a struggling offense needs is a break or two against a team that is having some struggles of its own. Two free men on base appeared to be just what Young needed to find a spark.

The month of June has been a struggle for Rangers hitters. Prior to Friday, the Rangers were hitting .249 and slugging .385 collectively, both considerably lower figures than in May or April. Craig Gentry was the only batter hitting above .300 this month going into the game. So the way that the Rangers were able to get hits up and down the lineup Friday night was a big deal for the offense.

The fifth inning was particularly huge for Young. Going into Friday's game, he was 3-for-25 batting with runners in scoring position since May 8 (33 games). His RBI in Friday's game was his first since the Rangers' win over the Oakland Athletics on June 5.

"He finally came through," Ron Washington said. "Once he came through, it became contagious. Then we started swinging the bats pretty good. A couple of them were dunkers, but in the box score they look like the were line drives. Dunkers count, too."

David Murphy, who finished 2-for-3 with a walk, had a two-RBI single in the fifth inning. He said that the Rangers were due a good outing.

"It was only a matter of time before we came around," Murphy said. "We took advantage of a mistake and had some particularly good at-bats there. We like to think of ourselves as a dynamic offense."