ARLINGTON, Texas - The Texas Rangers had few answers for their struggles at Globe Life Park earlier this season.
Now the Rangers are answering everything at home.
Sunday that including the Tampa Bay Rays.
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The Rangers countered every Tampa Bay rally with one of their own on their way to a 5-3 victory to complete the three-game sweep. The win moved the Rangers two games over .500 for the first time since July 2. Texas has now won seven-straight games at home and 10 of its last 11. The Rangers haven't had a run like that at the friendly confines since 2011.
Texas reached that point Sunday but scoring after Tampa Bay runs in the first and second innings. Then after Adrian Beltre put the Rangers up with a solo homer in the fourth Yovani Gallardo and the bullpen turned off the faucets on the Rays' offense.
"When I write down my notes for the day and if I look back at them, it's an answer-back inning in the first, the answer back in the second, the shutdown in the third and the shutdown in the fourth and the shutdown in the fifth," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "Those are key. We're going to give up runs. It's how we answer back."
Gallardo didn't pitch deep into the game (5 1/3 innings), but he made pitches when he needed to. Tampa Bay had runners on first and second in the fifth with the Rangers leading 5-3. But Gallardo struck out both Adrubal Cabrera and Desmond Jennings to end that inning.
He gave up a leadoff single in the sixth but then struck out Curt Casali before Banister went to the bullpen. A unit that has struggled mightily at times this season allowed just one hit over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Gallardo and the pitching staff was given some cushion because the Rangers got offense from likely sources in Beltre, who has now homered in consecutive games for the second time this season, and unlikely ones. Left fielder Ryan Strausburger provided the Rangers insurance to their 4-3 lead with his first career homer in the fourth inning. It was part of a three-hit day for Strausburger.
"The guys are swinging the bats pretty good right now, and I think it's the kind of talent that's in this clubhouse," said Gallardo, who improved to 9-9 despite allowing a season high 11 hits. "The guys are going to score runs. Being a starting pitcher you can't beat yourself up giving up one or two runs. It's a matter of time until the guys are going to come up and get five or six runs for you."
Gallardo allowed one in the first, but the Rangers came back with two in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double from Shin-Soo Choo and a sac fly from Beltre. The Rays got to Gallardo for two runs in the second, but an RBI single from Delino DeShields leveled the score at 3.
The Rangers did all the scoring from there on out.
"We've been playing better baseball in every phase of the game," said Beltre. "We've had better defense. The pitching's been outstanding. The offense has been more consistent. That's what we're looking for. That's going to be a key for us to make the push for the la