ANAHEIM -- Leonys Martin is showing why manager Ron Washington likes him in the leadoff spot and why the Rangers have been so successful since he was moved to the top of the order.
He and Elvis Andrus ran the Angels ragged for the second straight night. Both were hit by pitches -- a possible sign of the Angels' frustration -- and that didn't slow them down. They were on base a combined eight times in 11 plate appearances, stole six more bases and scored four runs in the Rangers' 10-3 victory on Wednesday at Angel Stadium.
"They have been making the rest of our jobs easier," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "When you've got guys like that, getting on base, stealing second and third and setting up easy RBI, is makes it fun for the three and four hitters. It has been nice. We've also been more consistent getting big hits, something we weren't doing 2-3 weeks ago."
The Rangers won for the ninth time in their last 10 games and are tied for first place again with the Athletics. They also stole seven bases after stealing six on Tuesday. The Rangers are only the second team since 1917 to steal at least six bases in back-to-back games, and this is the most stolen bases over a two-game span in club history.
The Indians stole six bases in successive games on April 5-6, 1984. The White Sox turned the trick twice in 1917, swiping 14 bases on Sept. 2-3 and 16 on Sept. 25-26.
Martin had six stolen bases in two nights, becoming the first Rangers player to steal three bases in back-to-back games.
|TEAM||DATES||GM 1||GM 2|
|White Sox||Sept. 2-3, 1917||6||8|
|White Sox||Sept. 25-26, 1917||10||6|
|Indians||April 5-6, 1984||6||6|
|Rangers||Aug. 6-7, 2013||6||7|
"The key is just to be patient, look for a pitch you can steal on and look for the right count," Martin said. "I'm just taking advantage of being in the leadoff spot and taking advantage of my speed."
The Rangers ended up with 16 hits, including one from every spot in the lineup. Every spot either scored at least one run or drove in a run, and the Rangers were 6-for-20 with runners in scoring position.
"We're just trying to play our game," Washington said. "We got the right people on the bags who are able to run and because we were able to do that, we're able to put pressure on them. That's the way we like to play. We're also getting contributions up and down the lineup. The whole team is playing tremendous baseball."
Last week, the Rangers swept the Angels with three straight walk-off home runs. This time they ran the Angels out of their own ballpark with the stolen bases and simple run-scoring singles. Beltre also hit a two-run home run, and the Rangers have won seven straight over the Angels, their longest winning streak against the long-time rivals.
"There are some areas that are important to us that we're just not very good at right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's one thing giving up the stolen base ... but they shouldn't be running with the ease that they are against us."
Both starting pitchers were erratic with their command, which may explain why home-plate umpire Tim Timmons issued no warnings even though two batters on each side were hit by pitches.
"Those were balls that just got away," Washington said. "There was nothing to that."
But Alexi Ogando, after a rough start, was able to struggle through five innings to get the victory despite needing 97 pitches to get there. Angels starter Tommy Hanson, who walked three in addition to hitting Martin and Andrus, threw 101 pitches over 4 2/3 innings, and that doesn't count numerous pickoff attempts to first base in a futile attempt to stop the Rangers' running game.
Martin was the first batter to get nailed by a pitch leading off the first inning. He responded by stealing both second and third before scoring on Mitch Moreland's sacrifice fly.
Ogando began the night by walking Kole Calhoun to start the game and giving up a two-run home run to Mike Trout. With two outs in the first, Ogando also hit Erick Aybar with a pitch. J.B. Shuck followed with a single to right and Martin threw out Aybar going to third.
Ogando never really found any kind of rhythm, but he did give the Rangers four scoreless innings, enough to get his first victory since May 15. He is 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
"I thought Ogando progressed," Washington said. "He really did. After the first inning his velocity picked up. He got meaner out there. He got his fastball down, and that made his breaking ball better. Tonight was a step forward."
Hanson was making his fourth start since coming off DL with a forearm strain and wasn't able to match Ogando. Instead, the Rangers got three in the third after Martin led off with a double and Andrus beat out a bunt single.
Ian Kinsler flared a single to center to score one run and Beltre, with runners at the corners, beat out the relay on a potential double-play grounder to short to score the go-ahead run. Hanson's wild pitch moved Beltre to second, and he scored on a single by Moreland.
Hanson got through the fourth despite hitting Andrus with a pitch, but the Rangers scored in each of the next four innings, adding on six runs. Jurickson Profar drove in a run with an infield single in the fifth, Beltre followed a single and stolen base from Andrus with a home run in the sixth, Martin drove home a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh and David Murphy delivered a two-run double in the eighth.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.