Atlanta (AP) — With his 20th homer of the season, Elvis Andrus joined a power-speed club whose only other 2017 members are Jose Altuve and Mike Trout.
For the Texas Rangers, the recent power surge from Andrus is especially important as the team competes for an AL wild card after losing Adrian Beltre with a hamstring injury.
Andrus drove in three runs with four hits, including a homer, and the Rangers beat the Atlanta Braves 12-8 on Wednesday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader to spoil the major league debut of Luiz Gohara.
Andrus has 23 stolen bases to go with the 20 homers, more than double his previous career high of eight last season. Altuve and Trout are the only other current 20-20 players in the majors.
“It’s great company, the two best players in the league right now,” Andrus said. “I’m really proud of the season I’m having right now, but it’s not about me.”
The Rangers began the day two games behind the Angels in the race for the second AL wild card. Texas could be without Beltre for at least four weeks after he suffered a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring on Aug. 31.
Andrus has hit four homers in the last three games.
“It’s huge, in the absence of a pure power hitter in our lineup,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “He’s filling the void right now with Adrian being out.”
Gohara (0-1), a 21-year-old native of Brazil, allowed six runs in four innings in the first game of a day-night doubleheader. The lefty gave up four hits, walked four and struck out six. He gave up the homer to Andrus with two outs in the first.
“I got a little excited for the first inning,” Gohara said. “Tried to calm down a little. The walks just happen in baseball.
“I feel pretty good to be here. It took a lot of time to get here,” he said.
Gohara lost a 4-2 lead in the fourth, when he was hurt by walks to Joey Gallo and Napoli. Brett Nicholas hit an RBI double and pinch-hitter Will Middlebrooks followed with a tying, two-run triple. Middlebrooks scored on a wild pitch to give Texas a 5-4 lead.
“He’s got the stuff to get major league hitters out,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s just a matter of refining it.”
Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer off Braves reliever Matt Wisler in the fifth.
Andrus, who began his career in the Braves’ organization, hit a homer over the 400-foot mark on the center field wall in the first.
Matt Kemp and Ender Inciarte hit homers off Rangers starter Miguel Gonzalez, who allowed four runs in three innings. Inciarte had three hits.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (5-2) threw three scoreless innings in relief of Gonzalez.
Matt Adams hit a run-scoring double off Tyson Ross in the ninth and scored on a single by Rio Ruiz. Alex Claudio replaced Ross and got David Freitas on a game-ending groundout.
Braves rookie catcher Freitas had two hits in his third start. C Tyler Flowers (wrist contusion) could come off the DL this weekend. … OF-IF Danny Santana was placed on the 60-day DL with a strained left quad. He came off the 10-day DL on Tuesday before it was determined he aggravated the injury in his minor league rehab.
The early afternoon game of the doubleheader was scheduled when Tuesday night’s game was postponed by rain. There were 19,971 tickets distributed, but it appeared that only a few hundred fans were in the stands.
20-20 TEXAS SHORTSTOPS
The only other Rangers shortstop to have at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a season was Toby Harrah, in 1975 and 1977.
Rangers: Following a day off Thursday, LHP Martin Perez (11-10, 4.87) will start when Texas opens a three-game home series against the Yankees on Friday night.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (2-8, 4.31) will start when the Braves begin a four-game series against Miami on Thursday night. Newcomb allowed three runs in six innings in a 5-0 loss to the Marlins on June 16.