Slugger goes deep for first time since April 19 in win over Bucs
By Ryan Posner
ARLINGTON -- Prince Fielder snapped the longest home run drought of his career (34 games) in Sunday's 6-2 win over the Pirates. He drove a 91-mph fastball off Pirates starter Francisco Liriano into the right-field seats at Globe Life Park.
"Still got more work to do. Still got a long season left," Fielder said. "I'm glad I could do something to help the team, and I'm just happy I swung at a good pitch and put a good swing on it."
Fielder's homer, which traveled 400 feet, according to Statcast™, was his first since hitting a solo home run off Astros right-hander Scott Feldman on April 19. Entering Sunday's game, he had been hitting .185 with eight RBIs in May. However, he had doubles on back-to-back nights in the series against the Pirates. The one on Saturday was a couple of feet shy of a home run.
He said that parts of the last month have been frustrating, but he's found positives in hitting the ball hard.
"This is good for me," he said. "This is something that at the end of the year I can feel glorious about -- turning around and becoming an adult, as far as baseball is concerned, and sticking through it."
Fielder launched the homer on a 1-0 fastball off Liriano and was 102 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™. The Pirates' left-hander struck out Fielder on a slider down-and-away in the first inning.
"He's got great stuff," Fielder said of Liriano. "You try not to chase his pitches, but a lot of them look like strikes until you swing … you try to do your best to lay off it and get a good pitch to hit and we got that."
The home run was the first of two of the inning and helped provide a little breathing room for starter Martin Perez. Mitch Moreland added a three-run homer in that inning to give the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish.
Perez entered the game getting 2.39 runs per nine innings, lowest in the American League.
"When you get a little more support, you're going to be more relaxed," Perez said. "But you have to continue to pound the zone and attack the hitters."
The 25-year-old left-hander allowed two runs and scattered seven hits through six innings on his way to his second-straight win. He now has a quality start in six of his last seven outings.
"It's nice to see the consistency and building on all of his outings," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
The Pirates went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and had 19 ground-ball outs.
"That's going to give him the ability to escape those innings," Banister said. "The double-play balls, the ground balls, keeping the ball out of the air and giving our guys a chance to field the baseball for him."
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.