The most unheralded off-season signing the Texas Rangers made over the winter was a simple minor league deal with utility man Jeff Baker.

But Baker is the kind of player manager Ron Washington has long coveted, a veteran bench player who knows his role and can perform capably without much notice.

Baker has been doing that all season, though he is playing regularly of late with Mitch Moreland on the bench, and he did it again Monday night.

The more ballyhooed off-season acquisition did OK, too.

Baker hit the game-tying two-run homer in the fourth inning, and Lance Berkman delivered the game-winning two-run shot in the seventh as the Rangers opened their 11-game homestand with a 6-3 victory over Cleveland.

“It’s meant a lot,” Washington said. “He’s given us some big home runs. He’s gotten us some big hits. He’s been playing extremely well. Let’s hope he keeps it up for the rest of the year.”

The Berkman homer, which came after an unorthodox double play that saw the potential go-ahead run cut down at third, was his fifth of the year and first since May 24. Baker’s homer was his first since Saturday and his ninth of the year.

He has hit as many homers in 36 games as Josh Hamilton has hit in 62 games.

Baker knows his role, which is to hit left-handed pitchers. That doesn’t always result in steady playing time, but he knows how to keep his swing tuned for his opportunities.

“I just try to stay with my preparation and my role,” Baker said. “It’s just understanding your role and embracing it and trying to have fun with it. You can go seven or 10 days without seeing a lefty, but you still have to be prepared.”

How valuable has Baker been? He’s not interested in grading his performance to date.

“I don’t look into that stuff,” he said. “I just try to do my job. I just try to keep it simple.”