Kole Calhoun’s bat powered the Texas Rangers to a 7-3 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.
The Rangers (37-39) put themselves in position to win the series with the Mets (48-30) on Sunday. Texas continues to try and crawl back to .500 for the first time since May 31.
Calhoun was in a bit of a slump going into Saturday. On Friday, he had a dreaded "golden sombrero," which is four strikeouts in the same game. That was his second of the season (June 10 against the Chicago White Sox). He was 0-for-8 and 1-for-12 since Tuesday. Plus, he was hitting just .181 in his last 24 games, which dropped his average from .273 to .236.
Well, at least for one game, Calhoun had everything working, as he went 2-for-4 with four RBI.
Calhoun’s three-run home run in the second off Mets starter Trevor Williams (1-5) was pulled into the upper deck in right field and scored Adolis García and Nathaniel Lowe, part of a four-run second inning that put the Rangers in front 4-2.
The other run came in on a Jonah Heim solo shot to the same upper deck that came right after Calhoun’s home run.
In the fourth, Calhoun hit his second home run and his 10th of the season, an opposite field shot that ended Williams' day. Williams gave up five hits and a walk, while striking out three.
It was the ninth multi-home run game of Calhoun’s career.
“It was a rough one last night,” Calhoun said. “The last couple, too. It was nice to get some runs on the board and get some support for Pérez.”
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Meanwhile, Martín Pérez (7-2) turned in another fine start, even though the Mets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a two-run home run by Starling Marte.
The Mets scored their other run off Pérez in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Eduardo Escobar.
Pérez gave up two home runs in a game for the first time this season. In fact, Pérez only gave up two home runs in the first three months of the season.
He threw 6 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits, three runs and two walks while striking out four. He benefited from a double play to end the fifth inning and escaped a jam in the sixth by striking out Luis Guillorme with two out.
“He works fast, he throws strikes and we’re never on our heels,” Calhoun said. “It’s all you can ask for from a starting pitcher.”
The Rangers bullpen recorded the final seven outs, with Dennis Santana getting four outs and Joe Barlow pitching the ninth for his 14th save.
The Rangers grabbed an additional run in the eighth on an RBI single by Corey Seager, who drove in Josh Smith, and a run in the ninth on a solo home run by Leody Taveras off former Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter.
The Rangers will start Jon Gray on Sunday in the series finale at 12:40 p.m. The Rangers then move on to Baltimore, where Dane Dunning will start Monday. Texas has yet to announce a starter Tuesday. Spencer Howard is with the Rangers as part of the team’s taxi squad and threw on the side in New York on Saturday. He could start for Tuesday.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard