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Rangers rally behind Murphy's slam

Rangers rally behind Murphy's slam

KANSAS CITY -- Facing a four-run deficit in the seventh inning, any Rangers player would have been lying if he told you he feared losing.

"We're going to be the type of team that perseveres and never gives up," David Murphy said, "and we showed that tonight."

That confidence is always there the day after a comeback. Who knows how high it'll be on Thursday? Likely sky level after Wednesday's 11-5 victory over the Royals.

Texas scored seven in that seventh inning with the go-ahead runs coming off a Murphy grand slam. He also hit a solo bomb in the ninth, and Texas added two more just for kicks.

The victory puts Texas back over .500 for the first time since May 31.

Reason would certainly tell the Rangers they can't keep winning games like this. But boy, it sure is fun.

Two games against the Royals, two 5-1 deficits and two wins. Texas took Wednesday's game in an eerily similar fashion to how they won on Tuesday.

The Rangers fell behind early, partially because of errors. They came back late in the game after getting sparked by a Kansas City error. The only major difference was Tuesday's comeback came in the eighth. This one came in the seventh.

It all started with a bad throw to first on an Ian Kinsler groundout by shortstop Mike Aviles. The error allowed Ramon Vazquez to score from third. Then it got real good for Texas.

Michael Young walked, then Josh Hamilton singled, driving in Kinsler. Milton Bradley walked. The bases were loaded for Murphy. He came into the game with no grand slams. That changed in a hurry.

"I was fortunate enough to get into a 2-0 count," Murphy said, "and bases loaded 2-0, I'm pretty much looking dead-red fastball. That's what I got right where I wanted it."

The blast, which came off reliever Jimmy Gobble, gave Texas a 7-5 lead. The Royals still hadn't recorded an out in the inning. Texas added one more in the seventh before getting Murphy's home run and two more runs off Brett Tomko in the ninth.

In the two games of this series, the Rangers have scored a combined two runs off the Royals' starting pitchers -- one off Gil Meche on Tuesday and one off Kyle Davies on Wednesday. They've done all their damage against the relievers. Texas scored five runs against Kansas City's bullpen on Tuesday and 10 on Wednesday.

Conversely, the Rangers' starters haven't done so well. After Kevin Millwood struggled on Tuesday, Vicente Padilla did the same. He gave up five runs (four earned) and seven hits in six innings.

The bullpen bailed Padilla out. Jamey Wright, Eddie Guardado and Frank Francisco pitched scoreless innings for the seventh, eighth and ninth.

"We pitched well enough in this series so far to win two games," manager Ron Washington said, "but we certainly believe that we have to keep doing it. It's not something we can live off of. We know we can score runs, but every night we're not going to be able to do that."

Texas has only been above .500 twice this season and has never been more than a game above the mark. The last time the Rangers played with a winning record, they lost to Oakland 13-8 and then lost their next game.

"It's definitely time for us to make a move," Murphy said, "and hopefully get the quality of play we want right now so we can leave the .500 mark way behind."

Washington and Murphy said the keys to maintaining a winning record were consistent pitching and defense. They were both confident in the offense.

After these last two games, who wouldn't be?

Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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