ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — It took only one pitch Tuesday night for the Texas Rangers to take the lead in a game for the first time in more than a week.
Ian Kinsler drove Jeremy Hellickson's first fastball for a home run, and the Rangers went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1, breaking a seven-game losing streak.
"Obviously we've been fighting from behind a lot in this last week or so," Kinsler said. "So to be able to get a first hit out of the way, and a first run out of the way, gave (Alexi) Ogando a little bit of breathing room."
Elvis Andrus felt it from the on-deck circle.
"I think the homer by Ian made the whole team just relax," he said. "We haven't scored first in a little while."
Kinsler and Andrus homered and drove in three runs each to help the Rangers pull even with the Rays at the top of the AL wild-card race.
The Rangers, who held the No. 1 wild-card spot or the AL West lead for most of the summer, won for only the fourth time in 17 games.
"Given the circumstances, it's a big win," Kinsler said.
"You've got to have a sense of relief when you lose seven in a row and you know you're a better team than that," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Kinsler's 12th home run broke a streak of seven homerless games for the Rangers, their longest in 23 years. The 1-0 lead marked the first time Texas has led in a game since its last victory, on Sept. 8.
Kinsler added a two-run single in the Rangers' four-run third, driving in three runs on the first two pitches he saw from Hellickson (11-9). Andrus followed with his third home run of the season to put the Rangers up 5-0.
"The first pitch of the game was not a good fastball," Hellickson said. "Then I settled down a bit, but in the third I walked the leadoff guy (Mitch Moreland) and you can't do that against a lineup like that."
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