HOME RUN DERBY IN THE BRONX

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Rangers and Yankees concluded their season series Sunday in Yankee Stadium with a 7-2 Yankee win.  That gave New York a 3-1 win in this four game series and made the Yankees the winner on the season series four games to three.  In these four games, the teams combined to hit 16 home runs; and for the entire seven game season series, they clobbered 35 home runs.

The big story for the Rangers this weekend was Ronald Guzman who hit three home runs in Friday night’s 12-7 Ranger win.  Better yet, many of his family members from the Dominican Republic attended Friday’s game; including his father, who was watching his son play in the Major Leagues for the first time.  The three home runs were noteworthy on a number of fronts:

*     Guzman became the first rookie in Ranger history to hit three home runs in a game, and the second youngest Ranger to hit three home runs in a game.  (Juan Gonzalez hit three in a game in 1992 when he was about a year younger than Guzman.)

*     He was the first rookie to hit three home runs in a game in new Yankee Stadium – a Yankee or an opponent, and the fifth player overall to hit three home runs in new Yankee Stadium.

*     He became the 18th Ranger to hit three home runs in a game, and the first since Adrian Beltre in 2012, and the first Ranger to hit three home runs on the road since Josh Hamilton hit four in Baltimore in 2012.

Guzman homered in each of the three Yankee games in Arlington last May.  That gave him a total of six for the year.  All the other Rangers put together hit six more.

The Ranger win on Friday night felt like more of a rout than the score indicates.  Mike Minor pitched into the sixth inning giving up four runs on six hits to earn the win and move his record to 9-6.

Texas held a 10-4 lead going into the Yankee seventh inning.  They added two more runs in the eighth to complete the scoring on the night having scored in five straight innings.  The Yankees scored three over the final three innings to close the gap.

Ariel Jurado was the starting pitcher in the opening game of the series.  He gave up a two run home run in the first inning to put the Rangers immediately down on the scoreboard.  He completed five innings giving up six runs on seven hits.  Four of the seven hits were home runs.

Texas rallied to trail 7-3 after six innings.  The Rangers left two men on base in both the seventh and ninth innings, but failed to score making 7-3 the final score.  Jurado is 2-2 with the loss.

Drew Hutchison was Saturday’s starting pitcher.  He too gave up a pair of runs in the first inning, including one on a Giancarlo Stanton home run.  From there he scrambled to pitch into the sixth inning giving up three runs total on five hits.

The Rangers came back to tie the game at three in the seventh inning to take Hutchison off the hook for the loss.  One of the runs scored on a bases loaded balk that daring base running by Rougned Odor forced.

Chris Martin relieved in the seventh inning and gave up a two run home run to Miguel Andujar that put the Yankees back in front 5-3.  The Rangers threatened in the ninth inning, loading the bases with two outs.  Jurickson Profar struck out in a pouring rain to end the game.  Martin is 1-3 with the loss.

On Sunday, Martin Perez was the starting pitcher, and he immediately gave up a home run in the first inning.  Stanton again hit the solo shot to give New York the early lead.  Perez put up three shutout innings before falling apart in the fifth inning.  He gave up five runs in the fifth, and could not retire a batter in the sixth.  Five innings pitched with seven runs allowed on 11 hits was his final line.

The Rangers got two runs in the seventh inning, but that was all the Ranger scoring on the day.  7-2 was the final score, and Perez is 2-5 with the loss.

The series in New York wrapped up this short road trip, as well as all the games the Rangers are scheduled to play in the Eastern time zone this season.  There are just three road trips left in the season, all to the West Coast.

The Rangers are back home for a six game home stand.  First up are the Arizona Diamondbacks for games on Monday and Tuesday.  The Rangers and Diamondbacks split two games in Phoenix two weeks ago to go into play Monday with a 1-1 record against each other.  The announced starters for the Rangers are veterans Bartolo Colon on Monday and Yovani Gallardo on Tuesday.

NOTABLE:

*     Elvis Andrus ended his 19 game hitting streak by going 0-4 in the series opening game.  The 19-game streak is the longest in Andrus’s career and ties Cleveland’s Michael Brantley for the longest hitting streak in Major League baseball this season.

*     Adrian Beltre played third base Sunday, his 2,700th game to start at third base.  He is third on the all time list of games started at one position trailing Willie Mays (2,741) in center field and Brooks Robinson (2,790) at third base.

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