ARLINGTON (AP) – Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus know how to get things going at the top of the Texas Rangers lineup.
Against the Houston Astros, they weren’t alone in making things happen.
Martin and Andrus each scored three runs for AL West-leading Texas, including twice each in an 11-run inning that was the biggest in the majors this season, in a 16-5 victory Monday night.
“We went up and down the lineup,” manager Ron Washington said. “When we can do that is when we can be at our best.”
Martin got the Rangers big third inning started with his majors-leading 11th bunt single before a single by Andrus. The top two hitters in the lineup came home on a single by A.J. Pierzynski, and both got on base and scored again before the Astros finally got the third out.
“Any time we can get those guys on base obviously it usually leads to runs,” Pierzynski said. “Leonys has been doing a great job, and Elvis hitting behind him, hitting-and-running, putting pressure on the other team. That’s fun. That’s the way baseball is supposed to be.”
All nine Rangers scored in the third, when they sent 15 batters to the plate and had seven hits — six singles and a double — along with three walks, two Houston errors and a sacrifice bunt. Only five of the 11 runs were earned.
The last team in the majors with as many runs in an inning was St. Louis, with a 12-run seventh in a 12-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on July 21, 2012. Texas’ last 11-run inning was in the fifth of a 15-3 win at home against Tampa Bay on Sept. 26, 2009.
The Rangers have won 12 of their last 13 games against Houston (41-83), the first-year American League team now 30 1/2 games back in the division.
Martin, in his 19th start as the leadoff hitter, had an infield single to start the Texas first before Andrus had a single on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play. Ian Kinsler had a sac fly and Adrian Beltre got his first intentional walk of the game before a double steal. Andrus swiped home for a 2-0 lead.
“Every time we get on base, put ourselves in scoring position, it makes things easier,” Andrus said.
Matt Garza (3-1) struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings. But the right-hander allowed five runs, becoming the first Texas starter in 22 games to allow more than four.
Lucas Harrell (6-14), getting another start after four consecutive relief appearances, allowed nine runs (seven earned) in 2 1-3 innings. He was initially sent to the bullpen after also giving up nine runs in 3 2-3 innings at Texas in a 10-5 loss July 5.
Texas finished with a season high for runs, two nights after a 15-3 victory over Seattle that is its highest-scoring game without a home run in the 20 seasons of Rangers Ballpark.
Texas had 15 runs without a homer again before Pierzynski connected in the seventh off reliever Philip Humber, who last season threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox with Pierzynski as his catcher. Pierzynski finished with four hits and four RBIs.
After Martin and Andrus got the third started, Kinsler had a sac bunt before Adrian Beltre, hitting .437 over the previous 19 games, got his second intentional pass. Singles by Pierzynski and Alex Rios re-loaded the bases, Mitch Moreland hit a two-run doubled to deep center and Jurickson Profar walked to load the bases again, and end Harrell’s night.
Wade LeBlanc, recalled by Houston earlier Monday, got David Murphy to hit a grounder. Second baseman Jose Altuve made a nifty stop going toward the middle of the infield and flipped the ball with his glove, only for shortstop Jonathan Villar to drop it and allow two runs to score. Martin then walked and Andrus reached on an error before Kinsler’s two-run single. Pierzynski drove in another run with a single to cap the scoring.
Astros infielder Jake Elmore, who made his first major league appearance at catcher when taking over in the fourth after Carlos Corporan got hit by a foul ball, later pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Elmore was the only of four Houston pitchers with a scoreless outing.
“They told me early in the game that I was going to pitch because the game was out of hand. I was expecting that, but out of nowhere (Corporan) got hurt. I had told them I could catch like 2 weeks ago,” Elmore said. “I’ve never done both in the same game.”
Houston was within 2-1 when Jason Castro and Chris Carter had consecutive doubles to start the second. The Astros then fell behind 15-1 before scoring four times in the seventh.
“It’s real simple, we didn’t play well,” manager Bo Porter said. “We’ve got to let this one go.”
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