ARLINGTON, Texas – David Murphy’s swinging the bat like he deserves a regular spot in the Texas Rangers’ lineup.
Murphy had three hits and drove in two runs, Max Ramirez contributed the go-ahead RBI with a fifth-inning double, and the Rangers completed a four-game sweep with a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
“He did what he does, which is swing the bat and drive in some big runs,” Washington said. “I’ve said all along that we’re going to need Murph.”
Murphy went 8-for-17 with four doubles during the series with the Royals while filling in for right fielder Nelson Cruz, who’s on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
Cruz is expected to be activated this week, and he carried the Rangers early with seven homers that still lead the team.
But Murphy’s recent hot streak has raised his average from .151 to .229, and manager Ron Washington won’t park Murphy on the bench once Cruz returns.
Prior to the series, Murphy told himself to relax, that he was trying too hard.
“When I speed up my at-bats, my mechanics get out of whack a little bit and I don’t see the ball as well,” Murphy said. “That was my goal going into the series, and I feel like I did it successfully. We’ll see what happens when (Cruz) gets back.”
Doug Mathis (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory as the Rangers won for the 10th time in 13 games. Neftali Feliz got three outs for his third save in the series.
The Royals went scoreless over the final five innings against four Texas relievers.
Mike Aviles homered and had three hits for Kansas City, which completed a 3-8 trip.
“It was bad. It was real bad,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said of his team’s road woes. “If you had told me we would be 10 games under .500 at this time, I never would have believed it.”