ARLINGTON, Texas -- Asked if it was a career-record five RBIs or his defensive work that most pleased Robinson Chirinos in Tuesday‘s 8-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, the Texas Rangers catcher broke into a grin.
"I'm happy about the win."
From the bottom spot in the order, Chirinos had a two-run double in the second inning and a three-run home run in the sixth.
"It's awesome," he said. "I've been working hard to be consistent and get my timing."
Chirinos tempted fate with his double because he hit it in the area of Angels center fielder Mike Trout. A potential collision with left fielder Matt Joyce distracted Trout. "Normally [Trout] catches everything. I didn't want to see those guys run together because I don't want to see anybody get hurt. But I was glad to see the ball hit the ground."
No such worries of Trout for Chirinos on the home run that hit the back of the Angels bullpen.
In the opinion of manager Jeff Banister, Chirinos' work with starting pitcher Nick Martinez trumps any contribution at the plate.
Banister said as catcher, Chirinos is involved in all 27 outs and helps create those outs.
"The game he calls is much more important than his four at-bats," the manager said. "But it is nice to have both."
Said Martinez: "Robinson makes my life easier. We have a great relationship."
Nicking the corners: Martinez depended on pinpoint control and a poker face to extend to 14 innings his streak of not allowing an earned run.
"Hitting spots is something I worked on a lot in the offseason," said Martinez. "I hit spots with all my pitches tonight."
"He's able to throw on the corner," Chirinos said. "Last year, some of those pitches were running into the plate."
Martinez improved to 2-0, limiting the Angels to five hits and one unearned run in seven innings. He walked three and struck out one.
"He's bought into being able to pitch inside," said Banister. "That opens up the outer half of the plate. When we needed to get outs, he got outs."
The manager praised Martinez' demeanor: "He's in control of his emotions. He doesn't let one at-bat bother him."
Said Martinez: "A big part of my game is not showing emotion."
Inducing a double play ground ball from Erick Aybar in the second inning allowed Martinez to hold on to an early 1-0 lead. "He likes to swing early so I wanted to throw him something with movement and down in the zone."
Martinez is only the third Rangers starter all-time to pitch seven-plus innings and not allow an earned run over his first two starts of the season. The others were Yu Darvish last year and Jon Matlack in 1980.
Setting the tone: Rougned Odor, elevated to the leadoff spot, received praise from Banister and Chirinos for his eight-pitch at-bat in the first inning.
"I really think that was the key play of the game," said Chirinos. "After he got on base, everybody was trying to look for a good pitch."
Banister said that having immediate success with a game plan of being patient and looking for one pitch in one zone set a tone.
Roster move: The Rangers announced after the game that reliever Phil Klein has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the roster for Anthony Ranaudo, a call-up from Round Rock scheduled to start against the Angels in Wednesday's 1:05 p.m. series finale.