Smart baserunning pays off in Rangers' win

Smart baserunning pays off in Rangers' win

Smart baserunning pays off in Rangers' win
ARLINGTON -- David Murphy continues to swing a hot bat, and his RBI single drove in the only run in the Rangers' 1-0 victory over the Mariners on Tuesday night.

But baserunning also came up big in the second inning, when the Rangers scored for starter Neftali Feliz. The Rangers have an offense that can crush a baseball, but Tuesday night reinforced how important good baserunning is to them.

Adrian Beltre, facing Mariners starter Blake Beavan, led off the second with a double to right-center. Michael Young followed with a grounder back to the mound, where Beavan snagged it, turned and caught Beltre in a rundown.

"As soon as I hit it, I knew my responsibility was to get to second base," Young said. "The only way I could do that was for Adrian to stay alive as long as he could."

Beltre did just that, jostling between second and third until Young could hustle into second base. That left the Rangers with a runner in scoring position for Nelson Cruz rather than leaving the Mariners with a double-play opportunity.

"That's baserunning 101 right there," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You get caught in a rundown, you have to stay alive as long as you can to let the guy get the extra base. That's exactly what he did."

With Cruz at the plate, Beavan bounced a pitch in the dirt that didn't get far from catcher Miguel Olivo. But Young still took off quickly and beat the throw to third. It was a simple play, but that kind of aggressive baserunning has been a huge part of the Rangers' game since Washington took over as manager.

"I got a clean read on the throw," Young said. "With one out, that's definitely the play. With two outs, you have to be sure. But with one out and Nelson at the plate, that's definitely a gamble I want to take."

Cruz struck out, but Murphy lined a one-hop single off shortstop Munenori Kawasaki's glove to bring home the only run. The Rangers' pitchers -- Feliz, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan -- made it stand up.

"Tonight was all pitching and defense ... and a little baserunning," Young said.

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.