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Deep bench producing more pinch-hits

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HOUSTON -- Leonys Martin had a triple as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of Saturday's 8-7 victory over the Rangers and is 4-for-11 as a pinch-hitter this season. The four hits are the most in the American League and equal Mitch Moreland's total in 2012 when he led the team in that department.

The club season record for hits by a pinch-hitter is 12, set by Bill Stein in 1982 and tied by Kevin Reimer in 1990. The most since 2001 is seven by Frank Catalanotto in 2008.

David Murphy also had a double as a pinch-hitter in sixth inning. Two extra-base hits in the same inning by pinch-hitters is rare for the Rangers, considering they entered the game with 13 extra-base hits from their pinch-hitters since 2009, tied for the fewest in the league.

Rangers pinch-hitters are 6-for-27, giving them a .222 batting average. That isn't particularly outstanding, but it is an improvement over the past four seasons. From 2009-2012, Texas pinch-hitters batted a combined .182, the lowest in the American League. Their .119 average in 2009 was the 10th lowest by an AL team since 1974.

Manager Ron Washington said the improved pinch-hitting is the result of a better bench and the platoon he has been using with Murphy and Jeff Baker in left and Martin and Craig Gentry in center.

"I have a better selection, and the way I have to play those guys, it gives them more time to get ready," Washington said. "Their preparation is better."

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.

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