ARLINGTON (AP) – Elvis Andrus tossed his bat like he knew he had just hit a tying three-run homer in the seventh inning.
Now that the longest-tenured Texas player — never known for going deep in eight previous seasons — is just one home run shy of his career high with four months left, maybe it’s not a stretch to say he was eyeing that visiting bullpen in left-center field.
Andrus had a career-high five RBIs, Jared Hoying hit a tiebreaking single that missed being a grand slam by about a foot and the Rangers scored seven runs in their final two innings to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-5 on Tuesday night.
“I was thinking about putting a good swing on it,” Andrus said of his seventh homer.
The deep two-out drive by Andrus off Danny Farquhar, measured at 417 feet, ended a stretch of five scoreless innings from the Tampa Bay bullpen after Matt Andriese left in the second with a mild right groin strain.
Hoying’s liner off the top of the wall in right came with one out in a four-run eighth against Chase Whitley (1-1), breaking a 5-5 tie. After a sacrifice fly from Shin-Soo Choo, Andrus’ single to left scored two more.
“The things that we’ve gone through, some of the way we’ve lost some games,” manager Jeff Banister said after just the third win for Texas in 10 games since a majors-best 10-game winning streak. “They run the gamut as far as how they compete every single night.”
The Texas bullpen pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, starting with 2 2/3 by Dillon Gee in his Rangers debut and followed by Keone Kela (2-1) in the eighth and closer Matt Bush with a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.
Corey Dickerson golfed a pitch after it bounced for a bloop double during a four-run third that gave the Rays a 4-2 lead. Daniel Robertson led off the inning with a homer, and Steven Souza Jr. had a two-run shot, his ninth.
Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier tripled in the first and homered in the fifth.
Choo hit a leadoff homer for the Rangers. Nomar Mazara was the third straight batter to reach starting the game for Texas with an RBI single before Andriese retired the next five. The right-hander, who was 4-0 in May, left with the injured groin after striking out Ryan Rua.
Chih-Wei Hu replaced Andriese and threw 2 1/3 hitless innings with three strikeouts and was in line for his first major league win before the Texas rally.
The 23-year-old rookie from Taiwan was recalled from Triple-A Durham earlier in the day. Hu said he got to the ballpark less than an hour before the game.
Tampa Bay recalled right-hander Hunter Wood from Double-A Montgomery, and he got the last out in the eighth to become the second Rays reliever this season to make his big league debut after bypassing Triple-A. Jose Alvarado did it against Miami on May 3. Texas star Adrian Beltre passed Frank Robinson for 34th place on the career hits list with a bouncing double past third baseman Evan Longoria in the sixth. Beltre has 2,944 hits.
Rays: 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) will play on a rehab assignment for Class A Charlotte on Wednesday. OF Peter Bourjos went on the 10-day disabled list because of tennis elbow.
Rangers: RHP Tyson Ross will make at least one more rehab start, likely Saturday, in his recovery from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. 1B Mike Napoli missed a second straight start because of back stiffness.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (4-3, 3.61 ERA) has at least 11 strikeouts in four of his five May starts and needs four more to set the club record for any month held by David Price (54 in June 2014).
Rangers: RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (0-0, 3.97 ERA) makes his first start two weeks after the 32-year-old rookie made his big league debut in relief. He has gone at least four innings twice in four appearances. Bibens-Dirkx is filling in for A.J. Griffin, who was forced out of his last start with a left intercostal strain.
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