Second baseman Luis Sardinas and right fielder Michael Choice
combined for five hits and seven RBIs in the Texas Rangers' 10-3
interleague victory Sunday over the Atlanta Braves, who continued to
tumble down the National League wild-card standings.
Sardinas, who went 3-for-5 with a career-high four RBIs, - and
Choice, the team's Nos. 8-9 hitters, were among a bottom three of
the order that went 8-for-12 with seven RBIs, five runs and two
Six Texas hitters had more than one hit as part of an 18-hit Rangers
attack in support of winning pitcher Colby Lewis (6-10).
The right-hander earned only his second victory in a month, giving
up one run on five hits and a walk while striking out two over seven
"It's big," Lewis said of the sweep. "It's been awhile. I think it's
guys getting comfortable, and we pitched well in the series."
Texas starters posted a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings during the sweep,
Texas' first since taking three from Oakland on April 21-23. The
Rangers (57-92) haven't won three consecutive games since June
Center fielder Leonys Martin and catcher Robinson Chirinos were each
3-for-5 with an RBI. Shortstop Elvis Andrus was 2-for-4 with an RBI
Left fielder Ryan Rua also had two hits, including a two-out double
that started a six-run Rangers fifth, and two RBIs.
Choice left the game in the fifth after sustaining a hamstring
injury while running out a two-run double.
"It was really nice to see him swing the bat well," Texas manager
Tim Bogar said of the switch-hitting Sardinas, hitting .271 but only
.246 as a left-handed hitter. "Right-handed it looks like his swing
is a little stronger, so it was really nice to see him get that hit
as a left-hander to get that confidence.
"He's the kind of kid who can go up there and battle and battle."
The loss spelled more trouble for the Braves, who have dropped seven
of their last nine games and nine of their last 12. The Braves
(75-74) lost a game to both Pittsburgh and Milwaukee in the chase
for the second National League wild-card berth.
The Braves are four back of leader Pittsburgh and 2 1/2 back of the
"We're not playing good baseball," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez
said. "It's not the way we're used to playing. It's a shame. We
played 140-something games and the last couple of weeks we're not
playing good baseball."
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Atlanta designated hitter Ryan Doumit hit a solo home run in the
seventh off Lewis. Right fielder Joey Terdoslavich had a two-run
double for Atlanta in the eighth off Rangers left-handed reliever
Left-hander Mike Minor (6-11) took a third consecutive loss for
Atlanta. Minor battled with his command and was chased in the fifth
after giving up five runs on eight hits, three walks and two hit
batters in 107 pitches over 4 2/3 innings.
In his last six starts, Minor is 2-3 with a 2.63 ERA.
"A lot of pitches over five innings," Gonzalez said. "He got into
some deep counts, but he's been awful good in his last five or six
"Today was one of those where he might have left the ball out of the
Minor allowed runners on base in every inning and allowed one run in
each of the second and fourth innings before being unable to record
the last out in what turned out to be a six-run fifth inning.
Chirinos registered his 35th RBI with a broken-bat single that fell
into short left-center field. Sardinas drove in his second run with
a run-scoring single before Choice drove a ball into the gap in
left-center field, driving in Sardinas and Adam Rosales.
Martin and Andrus accounted for the inning's final two runs each
with an RBI single that gave Lewis an 8-0 cushion.
"It's easier to go out there and throw strikes after that," said
Lewis, who left after 86 pitches and a minor protest when Bogar
pulled him after the seventh. "I wanted to finish that. You always
want to finish."
NOTES: Braves C Evan Gattis missed a sixth consecutive game because
of strep throat. ... Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman extended his hitting
streak to 10 games with a first-inning double. ... Texas OF Michael
Choice left the game after pulling up with a strained left hamstring
while running out a two-run double in the fifth. An MRI is scheduled
for Monday. ... Rangers entered having lost 58 of their last 79
games. ... Texas entered having secured a fourth consecutive series
victory over Atlanta (2005, '08, '11).
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