BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – Thursday night, Texas won the rubber game of the White Sox series 2-1 in 11 innings to win their fifth straight series, the most since winning six straight series late in the 2012 season. Sin-Shoo Choo drove home the game winner with a single that scored Leonys Martin in the final game of the series. Texas is now 12-4 over the last five series and have tied Los Angeles for second place in the division with a 28-26 record that puts them 5.5 games behind first place Houston at exactly the one-third mark of the season. They also are tied in the loss column and trail Tampa Bay by one-half game for the second Wild Card playoff spot.
This series though will be remembered for the debut on the Rangers’ top minor league prospect – Joey Gallo. The 6′-5″ left-handed swinger had a Major League debut Tuesday night that was good enough for a book of Fairy Tales. He smacked a hard shot through first baseman Adam LaRoach in his first at bat that drove home two runs to put the Rangers ahead early. In the third inning, he drove home two more runs with a monstrous home run into the upper deck of the right field porch. He came close to a second home run in his third at bat. The drive hit off the top of the wall in right center for a double. He struck out and walked in his last two plate appearances to finish a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Gallo followed that game with one hit in each of the next two in the series, including another upper deck home run Wednesday night. He’s 5-13 at the plate for a .417 batting average with five RBIs after three games.
Right now, he’s ticketed to play third base for the Rangers while Adrian Beltre is on the disabled list. Beltre’s stint is projected to last longer than the 15 day minimum, probably around three weeks. However, Josh Hamilton did not play in the Chicago series and was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a hamstring injury. He’s thought to be out for three to four weeks, so Gallo could figure in the left field situation when Beltre returns.
The teams traded blowout wins in the first two games of the series. The Rangers won Gallo’s debut game 15-2. In addition to Gallo’s marvelous game, Carlos Corporan came off the Rangers bench to replace Robinson Chirinos, who left the game after being hit with a pitch. Corporan hit a home run and drove in a career high five runs. Chirinos was the only position player that did not have a hit in the game, as Texas banged out a season high 19 hits. Eight players had at least two hits, and six players had at least one RBI.
Colby Lewis (5-3) was the winning pitcher as he tossed seven innings while allowing two runs on six hits. Lewis had struggled in his previous three starts, so the outing was a good sign for Ranger fans. Jon Edwards and Anthony Bass faced seven batters in recording the final six outs.
Former Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija was the White Sox’ pitching victim. He gave up nine earned runs in five innings to fall to 5-3, and his ERA ballooned to 4.68.
The Chicagoans repaid Texas on Wednesday with a 9-2 rout. Nick Martinez’s streak of 16 consecutive starts of at least five innings with three or fewer runs allowed came to an end, as he was blasted for seven runs, all earned, on nine hits in 3-1/3rd innings. His record fell to 4-2 with the loss.
Chris Sale pitched a marvelous game for the White Sox. He struck out 13 of the 21 batters he retired, as he allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings. He’s 5-2 with the win with a 3.27 ERA.
In the final game of the series Thursday, Yovani Gallardo turned in another fine outing with six innings of three hit ball. The one run he allowed was unearned. Five relievers completed the final six innings before the Ranger batters broke the 1-1 tie in the 11th. Tanner Scheppers was the final reliever to take the mound and was credited with the win to make his record 2-0.
The team departed after the game for a six game road trip beginning this weekend in Kansas City. Alex Gonzalez (1-0) is scheduled to make his second Major League start on Friday night. He’ll be followed by Wandy Rodriguez (2-2) on Saturday and Colby Lewis (5-3) on Sunday. The Royals counter with Edinson Volquez (4-3), Yordano Venrua (3-4) and Jeremy Guthrie (4-3). Friday’s game is a night game, while Saturday’s and Sunday’s start at 1:10 PM (Central).
* Texas is tied with Tampa Bay for most players used this season (42) and most pitchers used (23). The Rangers are second in the Majors for the most rookies used this season – 14 to Tampa Bay’s 15.
* Hanser Alberto has at least one hit in all six games he’s played since being called up last Friday. His batting average is .333. The last Ranger rookie to start with a six game hitting streak was Chris Davis in 2008.
* Matt Harrison completed five innings giving up two runs on five hits in his first minor league rehab start at AAA Round Rock. His fastball was clocked as high as 88. He threw 78 pitches, 49 of which were strikes.
* Ryan Rua has also joined Round Rock to begin a minor league rehab assignment.