RANGERS TAKE TWO FROM JAYS

Season Record Back to .500 With Series Win

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers took won this weekend’s series with the Toronto Blue Jays two game to one.  The series win brought the Rangers’ season record back to .500 at 16-16.  They also improved their home record to 12-7 in three home series.

The series opened with an old fashioned pitchers’ duel.  Texas starter Mike Minor was terrific, turning in eight shutout innings while allowing seven hits.  He struck out nine of the 24 batters he retired, and the performance brought his ERA down to 2.40, which is fifth best in the American League.

The problem for Minor and the Rangers was Blue Jays’ starter Trent Thornton.  He was even better than Minor.  He allowed just two base runners in seven innings – a walk to Joey Gallo and a single to Nomar Mazara, who was cut down trying to stretch his hit into a double.

The bullpens pitched well too.  After nine innings, the game was still scoreless.  After two extra innings, it was still scoreless.  In the 12th inning, the Blue Jays finally cracked the scoreboard scoring a run on an over throw at third base.

The Rangers didn’t score in their half of the 12th inning making the final score 1-0.  It was the first extra inning shutout loss for Texas in their current stadium.

Ariel Jurado, the Rangers’ fourth reliever after Minor departed, took the loss.  He’s 0-1.  Daniel Hudson, the Blue Jays’ fourth reliever after Thornton departed was the winning pitcher.  He’s 2-1, and Ken Giles earned his eighth save of the year by striking out the side in the bottom of the 12th inning.

The Rangers’ offense came back to town for the final two games.  They scored eight runs early Saturday night, with the big hit coming from Isiah Kiner-Falefa – a bases loaded triple that blew the game open.  All eight runs crossed the plate in the first three innings.

Lance Lynn did not pitch well for Texas, but he scrambled to complete six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits.  He also walked five.

Jose Leclerc, the struggling former Ranger closer, took care of the seventh inning in one-two-three fashion, striking out two.   Chris Martin shut down the Jays in the eighth inning, and Shawn Kelley handled the ninth inning save opportunity in style, needing just eight pitches to close out the Jays.

8-5 was the final score.   Lynn is 4-2 with the win, and Kelley earned his second save of the year.  Toronto starter Thomas Pannone is 1-3 with the loss.

On Sunday, Drew Smyly came off the injured list to make the start for the Rangers.  He got through four innings throwing 68 pitches, allowing a run on two hits.  It was certainly a credible performance coming off the IL without a minor league rehab outing to rebuild his stamina.

He got run support early with Asdrubal Cabrera doubling home Gallo in the second inning, and then scoring himself on Rougned Odor’s second home run of the season.  The Rangers added three more runs in the third inning when Cabrera homered with two runners on base.  The Rangers led 6-1 after three innings, and the game was never in doubt from there.  The final score was 10-2.

Kyle Dowdy relieved Smyly and pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win.  He’s 2-1.  The Jays’ Clay Buchholz gave up seven runs in four innings to take the loss.  He’s 0-2.

Texas remains in third place in the American League West trailing first place Houston by three games and second place Seattle by one, even though Seattle has one more loss than the Rangers.  Texas is two games ahead of the fourth place Angels and three games ahead of last place Oakland.

After a day off Monday, Texas is out of town for a nine game, three city road trip.  They travel to Pittsburgh for games Tuesday and Wednesday.  The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Adrian Sampson (0-1) in game one, and Shelby Miller (1-2) in game two.

NOTABLE:

*     Ronald Guzman joined the Frisco RoughRiders Saturday for a minor league rehab assignment.  He went 2-4 with a home run in his first Riders’ game.  The Rangers expect to activate him on Thursday in Houston.  A corresponding roster move is up in the air.  The two position players that have played in Guzman’s stead are Danny Santana and Logan Forsythe, neither of which have minor league options and would thus have to clear waivers in order to be sent to the minors.  The Rangers obviously don’t want to lose either player, and could reduce their pitching staff to make room for Guzman.

*     Rougned Odor came into Sunday’s game with no hits in his last 21 at-bats, but he went 2-4 driving in three runs.  That brought his season average up to .141.

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