Kinsler keys Rangers offense in victory
Second baseman reaches base four times in win over Seattle
SEATTLE -- Somebody worried about Ian Kinsler's on-base percentage? Somebody concerned about how he'll do at the plate after missing six weeks because of a sprained right ankle?
Well, after two games, Kinsler has been to the plate 10 times and reached base five times. That's a .500 on-base percentage, if you're scoring at home.
"If I keep that up, it might be a record," Kinsler said.
There's no doubt about that. There's also no doubt that the Rangers are thrilled to have Kinsler back in the lineup, and, on Saturday afternoon, he had two walks and two singles in a 6-3 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
"We need his presence," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's another bat in the lineup that knows what he's doing. He's a guy who has a great idea of what they're trying to do to him and what he wants to do. He brings another presence to our lineup."
Kinsler, batting in the fifth spot in the order, played a pivotal role in the Rangers' two scoring rallies against Mariners starter Felix Hernandez. His leadoff single in the second inning led to a three-run outburst that gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, after Josh Hamilton led off with his fourth home run of the year, Kinsler drew a one-out walk off Hernandez and later scored on a single by Justin Smoak.
"I'm just trying to get back in the swing of things and stay more consistent," Kinsler said. "I still have the same idea as I did before I got hurt. I want to be more consistent on offense, score more runs and drive in more runs. That's still my goal."
Kinsler still feels the ankle. He still feels it bite him when he's making certain plays in the field. Jose Lopez had a second-inning single just to Kinsler's left that he felt he'd normally gobble up.
"Right now, my range is not very good," Kinsler said. "But I'm also trying to get back in the rhythm of the game, and not all of it has to do with the ankle. It will take another week or so to get ready to go."
The concern was that Kinsler would show more rust on offense. So far, after two games, that hasn't been the case.
"I thought people made too big of a deal on how long he would take to get adjusted," third baseman Michael Young said. "Once you get under the big lights, if you've had success before, it's not surprising at all."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.