Choo comes alive in Rangers' 10-inning win

Choo comes alive in Rangers' 10-inning win

ARLINGTON -- Somehow, in the midst of a 2-for-39 slump, Shin-Soo Choo managed to maintain his confidence during Saturday's game against the A's.

"That's baseball. You can't control that," Choo said. "Sometimes I hit the ball hard and sometimes I don't hit it well. I just tell myself to think positive."

A night after snapping out of a 0-for-21 slump with a fourth-inning double, Choo had as many hits Saturday as he did in his previous 10 games -- two. The first was a game-tying, three-run home run off A's left-hander Fernando Abad in the seventh and the second was a leadoff double in the 10th. Choo went on to score the game-winning run later in the inning when Rougned Odor delivered a bases-loaded walk-off single up the middle to give the Rangers an 8-7 victory.

"This is a guy we expect to hit," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of Choo. "He took the balls that he hit early in the game and he barreled those baseballs. Nice, aggressive swings. I'm proud of how he's going about his work and continuing to battle."

The Rangers took a 3-1 lead into the seventh before allowing the A's to bat around and score six runs in the inning. In the bottom half of the frame, the Rangers began their response with a pair of one-out walks from Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder before Kyle Blanks' RBI single up the middle brought the Rangers within three runs.

Choo took care of the rest. He worked the count full against Abad until skying a high fly ball to deep right field. Even Choo wasn't sure it would clear the fence until the 365-foot shot had landed between the wall and the first row. Choo's second homer of the season -- and first off a southpaw since last July -- tied the game at 7.

"I just wanted to get on base, just hit the ball hard," Choo said. "I hit the ball good, but too high, so I wasn't sure if it was going to be gone."

Choo wasn't done. The Rangers went down quietly in the eighth and ninth, sending the game to extra innings. Choo started the 10th off with a rocket down the right-field line off A's reliever Ryan Cook, giving him a leadoff double. Robinson Chirinos and Jake Smolinski each tried to bunt him over to the third but Cook walked them both to load the bases with nobody out.

"There's no doubt where he's at," Banister said. "This is a man who's done significant things in baseball. He's a hitter. ... I'm proud of him and how he's battled through it."

Odor, hitless in his first four at-bats of the game, drilled a single to center through a drawn-in infield for a walk-off single. The win was a much-needed one for Choo and for the Rangers, who blew a 5-0 eighth-inning lead Friday before bouncing back Saturday.

"Last night it was tough to lose that way but that's baseball," Choo said. "Tonight it was the same thing that happened but everybody did their job, didn't give up on the game."

Christian Corona is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.