After the Rangers fell down early to last-place Oakland thanks to a rough outing from Martin Perez, things were looking pretty bleak for the Rangers to gain a game on the Houston Astros, which had lost to the Angels in dramatic fashion.
But in the sixth inning after an infield single from Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland stepped to the plate with a 5-3 deficit and swung the momentum of the night, and maybe the series, in the Rangers' direction with one monstrous swing.
Moreland's 23rd home run of the season, which ties his career-high total, was a no-doubter of the highest order — a moon shot to straightaway center field, in Oakland, at night. There aren't much worse conditions to hit a long homer in in the league, and Moreland managed to do it. The sound of the ball coming off the bat was like a cannon going off.
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After that, the dugout loosened up and the Rangers went on to roll the A's 8-6 and gain that valuable game on the Astros that ensured they'll head to Houston on Friday with no worse than a half-game lead in the division.
The 30-year-old first baseman, who has long struggled to prove he's the long-term answer at the position, appears to maybe be doing it this year. He's officially having a career year now and a really strong case could be made for him being the Rangers' team MVP this year. He's batting .285 with a .335 on-base percentage and a .835 OPS. He has 23 homers and 81 RBIs and it isn't even a career-high number of games played or at-bats.
With one more year of fairly cheap control before he hits free agency, it'll be interesting to see what path the Rangers take with him, but he's proven he can be a cornerstone piece to a winning club this year.