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Andrus' tiebreaking single in 9th lifts Rangers over Rockies 10-8 after blowing 5-run lead

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DENVER — Elvis Andrus overcame his struggles with runners in scoring position to deliver a big hit for the Texas Rangers.

Andrus hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth inning, and the Rangers bounced back from blowing an early five-run lead to beat the Colorado Rockies 10-8 on Wednesday.

Rougned Odor homered and finished with three hits for the third time in the last six games for the Rangers.

Andrus was hitting .225 with runners in scoring position before he stepped to the plate in the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out he hit a 1-2 pitch past a drawn-in infield into left to give the Rangers the lead.

"A big hit by Elvis," manager Jeff Banister said. "He came through in a situation where he was looking to be successful."

Carlos Gonzalez and Nick Hundley homered in Colorado's four-run eighth. Gonzalez's three-run shot off Tanner Scheppers (4-1) tied it at 8.

"Those two homers, I feel like the balls are finding holes," Scheppers said. "At the same time I've just got to make better pitches. Something to learn here. Yeah, you can probably assume I'm not going to sign here as a free agent."

Odor, who has raised his average 124 points to .268 since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on June 15, led off the ninth with a walk against closer John Axford (2-3). Adrian Beltre singled and one out later pinch-hitter Prince Fielder was intentionally walked.

Andrus came through after failing to expand on the lead in the seventh, and Shawn Tolleson worked a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

"Really proud of Elvis' approach there," Banister said. "He didn't get too big with his swing, he seemed to simplify his approach and was able to get a ball through a drawn-in infield."

It was the second time in the three-game series Axford has surrendered runs in the ninth. He allowed the Rangers to tie Monday's game but Colorado won it in its last at-bat.

"I tried to throw a curveball down to get a strikeout or a ground ball," Axford said of Andrus' hit. "It just went through the hole."

The Rangers led most of the way after a four-run first inning. Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa nearly escaped down 2-0 but first baseman Wilin Rosario inexplicably cut off a strong throw home from Gonzalez and allowed Beltre to score easily without a play at the plate.

PHOTO: Texas Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez works against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of an inter league baseball game Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez works against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of an inter league baseball game Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

"There may have been a play there, but I think he most likely would have been safe," manager Walt Weiss said.

Shin-Soo Choo made it 4-0 with a single, but followed with four strikeouts a day after hitting for the cycle.

Odor's solo homer in the second, his sixth of the season, made it 5-0. Colorado answered with a run in the bottom of the inning and three more in the fourth to get within a run, but Delino DeShields stole third and scored on an error in the fifth to make it 6-4.

"What happens early in the game keeps hurting us," Gonzalez said. "Whenever we get going from the beginning, we put the other guys against the wall. Even though we scored eight runs, I believe we missed a lot of opportunities to score more runs and take control of the game."

Odor had an RBI triple in the seventh and scored on a fielder's choice to make it 8-4. He came to bat in the ninth needing a double for the cycle, but his 10-pitch walk sparked the winning rally.

"Roogie's at-bat was extremely important for us," Banister said. "He was down 0-2 and spoiled a couple of pitches to be able to grind out a walk."

Gonzalez's home run, his 14th, denied starter Martin Perez his first win in 15 months. Perez missed more than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 14, 2014, and returned to take the loss against Houston on Friday.

He allowed four runs — three earned — and walked four.

"I made good pitches," Perez said. "They didn't hit the ball hard, just ground balls and pop ups. That's part of the game. The most important thing is we got the win."

DJ LeMahieu had two singles for Colorado to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: Backup C Michael McKenry did not make his usual start with De La Rosa on Wednesday because of fluid in his right knee. He pinch-hit for De La Rosa in the sixth. Weiss said McKenry should be ready Friday against the Reds.

UP NEXT

Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (9-4) opens a three-game series in Anaheim on Friday. He is 5-1 with a 4.55 ERA since June 1.

Rockies: RHP Eddie Butler (3-6) gets his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday, facing Cincinnati on Friday.

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PHOTO: Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo connects for an RBI-single off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa in the first inning of an inter league baseball game Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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