This says a lot about the state of the Rangers’ offense: Struggling, slumping Donnie Murphy hit fifth on Saturday because Alex Rios was in a pitched slump of his own.

This says even more: With the game on the line, the Rangers pinch hit for Murphy with a 21-year-old who is even smaller and slimmer.

And, you know what? It worked out perfectly, especially for a team trying to rebuild its season and grow young players at the same time. Luis Sardinas’ pinch-hit squeeze bunt drove home one extra run, which begat two more and, ultimately, some needed breathing room in a 5-0 win over Minnesota. Combined with Friday night’s nail-biter, the Rangers have consecutive wins for the first time in two weeks.

“This is what we have do,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We have to execute. We did a good job of it today. Sardinas deserves a lot of credit for going up there in a tough situation and getting the bunt down.”

It was a crucial situation — the bases were loaded and there was one out in the eighth inning with the Rangers holding a slim 2-0 lead behind a “fixed” Yu Darvish.

Such situations are difficult for teams to create when they are trying to give young players opportunities to learn and succeed. They become all the more pressurized when the team hasn’t officially given up hope on a season that had started to spiral away.

Sardinas was called on after Adrian Beltre, the lone legitimate threat in the Rangers’ lineup Saturday, was walked to load the bases. Beltre was 3 for 3 in the game to that point to raise his June batting average to .400. It is .333 for the season.

Rather than send up Murphy, who had two hits in his last 27 at-bats (which included three strikeouts Saturday), Washington summoned Sardinas.

He told Sardinas not to go to the plate to bunt, but to look for a first-pitch fastball to try to attack. The reason: Minnesota would be expecting the squeeze. But, Washington said, be alert if the at-bat extends beyond that pitch. The manager’s goal was to get Minnesota away from the pitchout.

After Sardinas took a vicious rip and fouled off the first pitch, Washington signaled in the squeeze with Elvis Andrus on third base.

“I just wanted to stick to basics in that situation,” Sardinas said through an interpreter. “I failed on the first swing, but I was able to execute the bunt. I had to aim for the pitcher and get the ball on the ground.”