HOUSTON -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington held a roll call after Friday's 9-5 win over the Houston Astros, listing the various players, young and old, who had an impact in an eighth inning that lifted the Rangers to another comeback victory.
"That's when we're at our best," Washington said. "When we're getting it done up and down the lineup."
The top of the eighth provided the perfect example. The Rangers trailed 4-3 entering the inning. They had won twice all season when trailing after seven innings.
The Rangers never doubted themselves. Kinsler started the inning with a walk. He stole second base -- on a very close play -- to put the tying run in scoring position. Beltre followed with yet another big RBI, a single up the middle to tie the game at 4-all. Beltre has an RBI in seven straight games.
The Rangers turned to the bottom of the lineup to take the lead. With two outs and two on, Butler, starting his first major league game, drew a five-pitch walk. Washington had decided to keep Butler in against right-hander Josh Fields, knowing that Houston manager Bo Porter had a lefty up in the bullpen if left-handed hitting Engel Beltre was called on to pinch hit.
"I didn't want the lefty-lefty matchup there," Washington said.
Profar then produced a clutch at-bat. He got ahead 3-1 and fouled off a fastball that appeared to be off the plate. Profar, who had struck out looking in the first inning, didn't want that to happen again. He fouled off two more fastballs before taking a ball low to give the Rangers a 5-4 lead.
"I'm trying to get ... on base and get an RBI there," Profar said.
Martin, who had struggled against Astros starter Erik Bedard, broke the game open with a double into the right-field corner for a 7-4 lead.
The Texas offense has had a transformation this week. The Rangers have run their way to victories. On Friday, they were able to grind their way to one.
"We already knew we had great hitters on this team," Martin said. "We have to trust ourselves in run-scoring situations and trust ourselves to come through."