The Rangers followed their blueprint for success.
1. Hit six home runs.
2. Score nine runs.
3. Have at least a five-run lead when you turn it over to the bullpen.
4. Hold on for dear life.
For the second straight game against the Mariners, the Rangers took a big lead then watched the bullpen valiantly try to give it away, only to fail.
Up 7-2 heading into the top of the sixth, Nathan Eovaldi allowed the first three Mariners to reach base. It seems, having recently come off the I.L. and still trying to work back up to full strength, Eovaldi was done for the game.
Then, it was time for the wrecking crew. Martin Perez came into an unenviable position of bases loaded and no outs and allowed all three inherited runs to score, entering the game with a 7-2 lead, exiting it with a 7-5 lead.
Thankfully the Rangers picked up two more runs. Because the bullpen still had three more innings. Perez got the first two out in the seventh, then walked two.
Chris Stratton time.
He allowed three straight hits, allowing the two inherited runners to score, and his own runner. Jonathan Hernandez got the final out in the seventh.
Six more outs. One-run lead.
Hernandez got the first two out in the eighth, then gave up a single and a double. Brock Burke came in and got the final out of the eighth, stranding runners at second and third.
Jose Leclerc pitched the ninth. He, too, got the first two out, before giving up a double. With the tying run at first, Nathanial Lowe made a sensational play at first to get the last out of the game and help preserve the 9-8 win, the sweep of Seattle, and put the winning streak at five games.
With Houston losing, the Rangers are now up 2.5 games, with seven to play.
Their bullpen is still walking a tightrope without a net. So, the bats need to stay hot the next seven games.
Follow the blueprint.