DeShields shines with 3-steal, 3-walk night

Rangers' center fielder instrumental in win with 2 RBIs

DeShields shines with 3-steal, 3-walk night

ST. PETERSBURG -- At some point during the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Rays on Thursday night, center fielder Leonys Martin decided to take batting practice in the indoor cage and test his sprained left wrist.

Martin then reported to the Rangers that the wrist is on the mend and he hopes to return to the lineup this weekend.

Maybe Delino DeShields is making him nervous.

DeShields, with Martin down, started for the third straight game in center field and was instrumental in the Rangers coming away with their fourth straight win. DeShields walked three times in four plate appearances, scored two runs and stole three bases. All this coming after he had two RBIs in Wednesday's victory over the Astros.

"I'm really enjoying myself and taking advantage of the opportunity," said DeShields, a Rule 5 Draft pick whose normal role is fifth outfielder and occasional pinch-runner. "I'm preparing myself like I'm playing every day, even when I'm not playing. I'm keeping a positive mindset, trying to stay as sharp as I can for opportunities like this."

The first walk was the biggest, coming against Rays starter Chris Archer in the second inning. The game was still scoreless but the Rangers had the bases loaded with two outs and DeShields at the plate.

Archer got ahead 1-2 in the count but couldn't put DeShields away. DeShields fouled off a couple of two-strike pitches while working the count full and then laid off a fastball for ball four. That forced in the Rangers first run.

DeShields' bases-loaded walk

"He has thrown some big at-bats up there for us since he has been in there and that one was a really key at-bat for us," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He didn't chase, stayed stubborn with his approach and drew the walk. What a tremendous at-bat for a young man. We're watching him grow up in front of our eyes."

DeShields walked again to lead off the fourth. This time he stole second and scored on a two-out single by Prince Fielder to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead.

"I was just being stingy with the pitches all night," DeShields said. "If I didn't get my pitches, I was just taking them. I was getting stuff to hit but it wasn't my pitch. I think it's important to stick with your plan and let the at-bat work out like it is supposed to."

DeShields ended up being only the second Rangers player in club history to have three steals and three walks in the same game. Elvis Andrus did so on April 20, 2010.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.