Kinsler HR in return, Tigers beat Rangers 8-2
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ian Kinsler had quite a greeting for his former team, one not well-received by some.
Kinsler homered in the first at-bat of his return to Texas as an opponent, then waved at the Rangers dugout while beginning his trot around the bases, and the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers went to win 8-2 on Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
“It was nothing personal at all. I was just saying ‘Hi’,” Kinsler said, insisting he was motioning to no one in particular. “I mean, it was my return home, and get lucky enough to square one up like that and have it go over the fence, it was a good feeling. I was just having fun.”
Kinsler spent the first eight seasons of his career in Texas before being traded for Prince Fielder in a swap of All-Stars last winter. He got more cheers than boos when he was introduced in the first inning, then sent a pitch by Colby Lewis (5-5) into the left-field seats for his ninth homer.
“I love Kins, I’m just a little bit disappointed,” Lewis said of the second baseman’s wave, though there was no apparent reaction at the time from those in the dugout.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he had no comment about Kinsler.
J.D. Martinez had a tiebreaking two-run shot off Lewis that made it 3-1, and started a five-run outburst by the Tigers in the seventh.
Boos were more prevalent during Kinsler’s last four plate appearances — a popout, groundout and a strikeout before he added a two-run single in the eighth.
“It was funny, because it seemed like that with every at-bat, it went from mixed boos and cheers to more boos every at-bat deeper in the game for him,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I’m sure that the Rangers fans appreciate what he did. He was an All-Star here and they went to the World Series.”
Adrian Beltre went 4 for 4 for Texas, pushing his career total to 2,503 hits, but the Rangers have a season-worst, six-game losing streak.
Martinez’s eighth homer of the season came a pitch after Victor Martinez doubled. Lewis was gone after a single by Austin Jackson.
Reliever Ben Rowen then gave up three consecutive hits, including RBI singles by Alex Avila and Rajai Davis, and Victor Martinez drew a bases-loaded walk off Shawn Tolleson.
Drew Smyly (4-6) allowed only one unearned run over six innings. He never trailed after the Kinsler homer.
“That’s awesome. I bet he’s loving that,” Smyly said. “He set the tone, got us on the board early and then from there it was a good game until the seventh, and we were able to get some big hits and break it open.”
A week after signing a minor league deal, Carlos Pena was called up from Triple-A Round Rock earlier Tuesday and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
The first baseman was a first-round draft pick by the Rangers in 1998 and made his major league debut late in the 2001 season before being traded that winter. Only Sammy Sosa (1989 to 2007) went longer between games for Texas.
NOTES: The Rangers played the first of 20 games over 20 consecutive days. At 35-41, they are six games below .500 for the first time since September 2008. Texas is 16-20 at home. ... Davis was caught stealing in the sixth after a safe ruling was overturned. Davis clearly beat the throw with his headfirst slide, but Washington challenged and replay showed Davis’ hand popped up and was briefly off the bag while 2B Rougned Odor still had the tag applied. ... There was no pregame BP on the field because of showers, but the game started on time despite a light rain falling at first pitch. The Rangers are the only team in the majors without a delay or postponement of any kind this season.