Elvis Andrus went 4 for 5 in Game 1 on Wednesday for the Texas Rangers, and one of the hits was his 20th homer of the season (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com
Elvis Andrus went 4 for 5 in Game 1 on Wednesday for the Texas Rangers, and one of the hits was his 20th homer of the season (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers

Andrus playing for greater cause than breakout season

September 06, 2017 7:26 PM

ATLANTA

Needing one home run to reach 20, a milestone thought to be impossible for him to reach as recently as June, Elvis Andrus wasted no time on a long Wednesday to collect it.

He went deep in his first at-bat, with two outs in the first inning, launching a fastball out to straightaway center field 400 feet away and watching it splash into the small pond just beyond the wall.

It might have occurred to him in the moment, after the media making such a big deal about it. And it is a big deal, as Andrus has been the Texas Rangers’ MVP since Opening Day and rates as one of the game’s premier shortstops.

Yes, that Elvis Andrus, who is now leading the Rangers as they continue to make noise in the wild-card hunt and is their best player — at least among those with two healthy hamstrings.

As such, he took 20 in stride in the same manner as Adrian Beltre, the future Hall of Famer who is out with a bad left hammy. Andrus’ homer and 4-for-5 day in a 12-8 victory over the Atlanta Braves were for the greater good.

“I’m really proud of the season that I’ve had so far, but it’s not about me,” Andrus said between games of the Rangers’ first doubleheader since May 27, 2013. “It’s about going out there the next game and win and find a way to scratch and get into the postseason. That’s the ultimate prize for me.”

The Rangers (70-69) lost the second game 5-4 to fall two games out of the second wild-card spot. Their 17-9 record after Game 1 was third-best in the majors since Aug. 9, and they were two games above .500 for the first time since May 23.

Banister: Lots of offense for Rangers in Game 1

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister liked what he saw Wednesday in Game 1 from the offense, including from the supporting cast (video by Jeff Wilson).

Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

They needed more than just Andrus’ offense to hold off Atlanta in the opener, and got it from many sources. Mike Napoli launched his 29th homer, Will Middlebrooks had a key pinch-hit two-run triple, and Brett Nicholas drove in two runs from the No. 8 spot in the lineup.

Andrus had three RBIs, one on the homer, another on a two-out single in the third and the last on a double in the seventh. He homered in a third straight game for the first time in his career.

He became the third player in the majors this season to collect 20 homers and 20 steals. The other two were reigning American League MVP Mike Trout and MVP front-runner Jose Altuve.

“You can look at it before this year and put those three named together and say, ‘Who doesn’t fit?’ ” manager Jeff Banister said. “Everybody would know, and that’s Elvis. However, you can’t say that anymore.”

Andrus is up to 80 RBIs, for which he credits Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo for regularly being on base ahead of him. When asked how he would explain his jump from a career-high of eight homers to 20 and counting, he credits the process and “daddy strength” from his 2-month-old son.

He deserves credit, but he won’t take it.

“It’s huge in the absence of a pure power hitter in our lineup,” Banister said. “He’s filling a void right now with Adrian being out. He is a guy that has maximized his power potential. There’s no defense for home runs. For him to be doing what he’s doing is as paramount as any hitter we have in the lineup.”

Short day for Gonzalez, but Rangers win was most important

National League rules made for a short day for Texas Rangers starter Miguel Gonzalez in his debut with the team, but the ultimate goal -- a win -- was reached (video by Jeff Wilson).

Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

For Andrus, his success is lining up nicely with the team’s. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing as long as they are sticking around the playoff picture.

But it matters to the Rangers what he does. He’s their MVP, and he’s performing like it when it matters most.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Andrus said. “That’s the competition we want, to be blessed and be able to be in the race. We all are engaging that the right way. Everybody is noticing that we’ve been playing baseball the last month, and it’s going to take a big push from everybody to fight into the postseason.”

AL wild-card standings

Team

Games back

x-NY Yankees

+2.5

x-Minnesota

LA Angels

.5

Baltimore

1

Texas

2

Kansas City

2.5

Seattle

3

Tampa Bay

3

Note: Top two teams, marked with x, would make the playoffs if season ended today.

Game 1

Texas

101

432

010

12

12

0

Atlanta

202

000

112

8

15

0

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields lf

3

2

1

0

1

1

.285

Choo rf

5

1

1

1

0

2

.263

Andrus ss

5

1

4

3

0

0

.305

Gomez cf

4

0

0

1

0

4

.249

Gallo 3b

4

2

1

0

1

1

.212

Napoli 1b

3

2

1

2

2

0

.194

Odor 2b

4

1

1

0

0

2

.214

Nicholas c

5

1

2

2

0

1

.286

Gonzalez p

0

1

0

0

1

0

.000

Middlebrooks ph

1

1

1

2

0

0

.400

Bibens-Dirkx p

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Jimenez ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Hoying rf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.210

Totals 36

12

12

11

5

12

Atlanta AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Inciarte cf

5

1

3

2

0

0

.307

Albies 2b

5

1

1

0

0

1

.281

Freeman 1b

3

2

2

1

1

0

.320

Peterson lf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.188

Kemp lf

4

1

1

2

0

0

.287

L.Adams rf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.268

Markakis rf

3

0

1

1

1

0

.284

Garcia ph

1

1

1

0

0

0

.250

Swanson ss

3

0

0

0

0

1

.237

M.Adams ph-1b

2

1

1

1

0

1

.272

Ruiz 3b

5

0

1

1

0

1

.212

Freitas c

5

0

2

0

0

2

.250

Gohara p

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Johnson ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Camargo ss

2

1

2

0

0

0

.299

Totals 42

8

15

8

2

8

LOB—Texas 5, Atlanta 9. 2B—DeShields (14), Choo (16), Andrus (38), Gallo (16), Odor (19), Nicholas (3), Freeman (29), Camargo (18), M.Adams (20). 3B—Middlebrooks (1), Albies (5). HR—Andrus (20), off Gohara; Napoli (29), off Wisler; Kemp (17), off Gonzalez; Inciarte (11), off Gonzalez. RBIs—Choo (66), Andrus 3 (80), Gomez (47), Napoli 2 (65), Nicholas 2 (8), Middlebrooks 2 (3), Inciarte 2 (52), Freeman (61), Kemp 2 (57), Markakis (69), Ruiz (14), M.Adams (63). SF—Gomez. S—DeShields. Runners left in scoring position—Texas 1 (Gallo); Atlanta 4 (Albies 3, Freitas). RISP—Texas 7 for 11; Atlanta 3 for 9. Runners moved up—Choo, Inciarte, Kemp, Markakis. GIDP—Jimenez. DP—Atlanta 1 (Camargo, Albies, Freeman).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Gonzalez

3

4

4

4

2

2

60

4.48

Bibens-Dirkx, W 5-2

3

5

0

0

0

2

52

4.67

Gardewine

1

1

1

1

0

1

16

2.45

Grilli

1

2

1

1

0

2

29

6.46

Ross

 2/3

3

2

2

0

1

17

7.33

Claudio

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

3

2.58

Atlanta

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Gohara, L 0-1

4

4

6

6

4

6

83

13.50

Wisler

1 1/3

7

5

5

0

2

39

7.76

Krol

1 2/3

0

0

0

0

2

17

5.89

Winkler

2

1

1

1

1

2

27

3.00

Inherited runners-scored—Claudio 1-0, Krol 1-0. HBP—Krol (Odor). WP—Gohara. Umpires—Home, Carlos Torres; First, Stu Scheurwater; Second, Jerry Meals; Third, Ron Kulpa. T—3:30. A—19,971 (41,500).

Game 2

Texas

002

011

000

4

9

1

Atlanta

050

000

00x

5

7

0

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields lf

5

0

0

0

0

1

.280

Andrus ss

4

1

1

0

1

1

.304

Mazara rf

2

2

2

2

1

0

.259

Hoying rf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.206

Napoli ph

1

0

1

0

0

0

.196

Gosselin pr

0

0

0

0

0

0

.146

Gomez cf

4

0

2

1

0

0

.251

Gallo 1b

3

0

0

0

2

1

.211

Odor 2b

3

0

0

0

1

1

.213

Chirinos c

4

0

2

0

0

0

.259

Robinson 3b

2

0

0

0

0

1

.219

Middlebrooks ph-3b

2

1

1

0

0

0

.429

Hamels p

3

0

0

1

0

1

.000

Diekman p

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

Choo ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.263

Barnette p

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

Claudio p

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

Totals 35

4

9

4

5

7

Atlanta AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Inciarte cf

3

1

2

1

1

0

.309

Albies 2b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.280

F.Freeman 1b

4

0

1

2

0

0

.319

Kemp lf

4

0

1

0

0

3

.286

Adams lf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.268

Markakis rf

3

1

0

0

1

0

.283

Suzuki c

3

1

1

0

0

0

.253

Swanson ss

3

1

1

1

1

1

.237

Camargo 3b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.293

Teheran p

2

1

0

0

0

0

.149

Minter p

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

Garcia ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.248

S.Freeman p

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Ramirez p

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

Vizcaino p

0

0

0

0

0

0

---

Totals 31

5

7

4

3

7

E—Hamels (3). LOB—Texas 10, Atlanta 6. 2B—Gomez (20), Chirinos 2 (11), F.Freeman (30), Suzuki (10). 3B—Middlebrooks (2). HR—Mazara (18), off Teheran. RBIs—Mazara 2 (90), Gomez (48), Hamels (1), Inciarte (53), F.Freeman 2 (63), Swanson (45). SB—Andrus (24). Runners left in scoring position—Texas 5 (Gallo 2, Chirinos 2, Hamels); Atlanta 3 (Markakis 2, Camargo). RISP—Texas 0 for 9; Atlanta 4 for 10. Runners moved up—Hamels, Swanson. GIDP—Odor, Camargo. DP—Texas 1 (Andrus, Odor, Gallo); Atlanta 1 (Camargo, Swanson, F.Freeman).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Hamels, L, 9-3

6

6

5

4

2

5

101

4.03

Diekman

1

0

0

0

1

2

17

0.00

Barnette

 2/3

1

0

0

0

0

14

4.91

Claudio

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

3

2.57

Atlanta

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Teheran, W, 10-11

5

5

3

3

5

3

98

4.77

Minter, H, 2

1

1

1

1

0

2

20

4.50

S.Freeman, H, 9

1 1/3

0

0

0

0

2

14

2.81

Ramirez, H, 25

 2/3

1

0

0

0

0

7

2.25

Vizcaino, S, 10-12

1

2

0

0

0

0

17

2.68

Inherited runners-scored—Claudio 1-0. HBP—Hamels (Suzuki), Teheran (Gomez). Umpires—Home, Ryan Blakney; First, Jerry Meals; Second, Ron Kulpa; Third, Stu Scheurwater. T—3:03. A—20,364 (41,500).

Thursday: Idle

Rangers vs. Yankees

7:05 p.m. Friday, FSSW

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