BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a two game sweep of this week’s series in Arlington and a four game sweep of the season series against the Texas Rangers with 8-4 and 3-1 wins. The Dodgers left town on a five game winning streak, while Texas is left with a four game losing streak that puts them a season high 24.5 games out of first place.
Wednesday’s series finale featured well pitched games by both starters. Mike Minor, the Rangers’ best starting pitcher this season, went six innings allowing just two hits. Unfortunately, both were home runs, which was enough to tag him with his seventh loss against 10 wins for the year.
Alex Wood was the Dodger starter. He gave up four hits over seven innings, but all four hits were singles and no Ranger advanced as far as third base.
The teams went to the bottom of the ninth inning with a strange line. Both teams had four hits. The Ranger hits were singles and all four Dodger hits went for extra bases. The Dodgers led 3-0 as three of their four hits were solo home runs.
Texas finally rallied for a run in the ninth inning off Kenta Maeda, who struggled through a 29 pitch inning to earn his first save of the season. Nomar Mazara scored the Ranger run after reaching base on a walk. Adrian Beltre doubled to drive him home.
The Rangers put the tying run on base with two outs when Joey Gallo walked, but the threat ended quietly when Ronald Guzman grounded out to end the game.
The first game of the series turned into a clunker early. Ariel Jurado was the Rangers’ starting pitcher, and he looked sharp in the first inning getting three ground ball outs on 10 pitches. A bloop single and botched ground ball got Jurado in trouble to start the second inning, but two ground balls, the first of which went for a double play, bailed him out.
The third inning began with a lead-off walk to the number eight hitter, never a good way to start an inning. He completed his first trip through the batting order with a strikeout, but the rest of Jurado’s night didn’t go well. The next three batters singled to put the Dodgers on top 2-0. A single with two outs made the score 3-0, and the walk that followed ended Jurado’s night on the mound. Eddie Butler relieved and coaxed the third out on a ground ball on his first pitch.
The line for Jurado – 2-2/3rds innings pitched, three earned runs on five hits and two walks. He threw 61 pitches, and his ERA rose to 6.69.
The Rangers rallied for two runs in their half of the third inning to get within a run at 3-2. Butler however, did not slam the door. He pitched until the eighth inning giving up at least one run in each inning. The five runs he allowed made the score 8-2. Jeffrey Springs shut down the Dodgers in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Rangers offense went to sleep after the Dodgers answered their third inning rally. From that point until the ninth inning, the Rangers never threatened to score and put just two runners on base with a walk and a single.
The offense showed some life in the ninth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Ronald Guzman followed with a single to drive home two runs making the score 8-4 with two runners on base. The game ended abruptly though as Shin-Soo Choo grounded into a double play.
The Rangers have Thursday off, their third day off out of the last eight. The home stand continues with Minnesota’s only appearance in Arlington this year on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The announced starting pitchers for the Rangers are Drew Hutchison on Friday, Yovani Gallardo on Saturday, and TBD on Sunday.
Perhaps the bigger story on Wednesday night revolved around Martin Perez, who was expected to start Sunday’s game. He has been moved to the bullpen, and the Rangers also announced that he’s been told that it is unlikely that the Rangers will exercise their 2019 option to retain him.
* Adrian Beltre singled in game one to tie Tony Gwinn for 18th place on the all time hit list with 3,141. His Wednesday night double moved him past Gwynn and into a tie for 17th place with Robin Yount with 3,142 hits. Next up is Paul Waner (3,152 hits).
* In inter-league play this season, the Rangers are 7-10 with one three game series in San Diego next month remaining.
* The Dodgers are a good draw. Attendance for the series was 59,304 bringing the Rangers home attendance for the season up to 1,807,684, an average of 26,198 per game. Texas needs to average 16,027 for the remaining 12 home games to reach the 2,000,000 mark for the season.