TEXAS MOVES INTO SECOND PLACE
BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers finished off a three game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 2-1 victory Wednesday afternoon. The win was their fourth in a row and pushed their season record over the .500 mark at 24-23, good enough for second place in the American League West trailing Houston by 7.5 games.
The Rangers won the opening game of the series for the second series in a row, but for only the fourth time this season. Texas struck for five first inning runs, and with staff ace Mike Minor on the mound, the game looked all but wrapped up. But it wasn’t.
The big hit in the first inning was Rougned Odor’s three run home run. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with another round tripper to give the Rangers the early 5-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Cabrera homered again, and Shin-Soo Choo doubled home a run to move the Ranger lead to 7-0.
Minor shutout the M’s over the first five innings to earn the record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched at Globe Life Ballpark – 29 in all. (C. J. Wilson held the previous record at 25-2/3rds innings.) The streak ended in the sixth inning, when the Mariners touched Minor for two runs.
The Rangers again hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning. Hunter Pence hit the first one with a runner on base, and Joey Gallo hit the second one to increase the Ranger lead to 10-2. It was the first time since 2013 that the Rangers had homered back-to-back twice in a game.
Shelby Miller relieved Minor to start the seventh inning, his first Ranger appearance out of the bullpen. He looked great setting the Mariners down in order with two strikeouts. He came back out for the eighth inning, and it didn’t go well. He coaxed a ground out to the lead-off batter, but that was the only out he recorded in the inning. A walk and two singles loaded the bases for Tim Beckham, who deposited a Miller pitch into the left field stands for a grand slam home run that brought the Mariners within striking distance at 10-6.
Brett Martin finished the eighth inning, and Chris Martin took the mound for the ninth. He retired the first batter on a ground out, but the going got rough from there. A single and a run scoring double followed as Seattle closed to 10-7. Domingo Santana lined out for out number two, but Daniel Vogelbach homered to cut the lead to one run. Martin was able to retire the next batter to end the game. It was Martin’s third straight appearance in which he has given up a home run.
Minor is 5-3 with the 10-9 win. Seattle starter Mike Leake gave up seven runs on 11 hits to take the loss. He’s 3-5.
Texas secured the series win Tuesday night, winning by the score of 5-3. Lance Lynn won his sixth game with a very good performance. He completed seven innings, and like Minor the night before, he struck out 11 batters. He shut out the Mariners over the first six innings, and gave up two runs in the seventh.
Ronald Guzman doubled home Gallo in the second inning to take the 1-0 lead. Cabrera’s sacrifice fly doubled the lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning. The call on the field was that Nomar Mazara tagging at third was out at the plate, but the call was overturned on video review. Mazara drove in the third run in the sixth inning with a double, one of his three hits on the night.
Jose Leclerc pitched a sparkling inning in the eighth, needing just seven pitches to retire the three batters he faced. The score was 3-2 as the Rangers came to bat in the eighth inning. Gallo then hit his second home run in the series with a runner aboard to move the Ranger lead to 5-2.
Shawn Kelley was activated from the injured list prior to Tuesday’s game, and he was tabbed to pitch the ninth inning. Kelley quickly retired the first two batters, but Omar Narvaez homered to close the gap to 5-3, which was the final score when Jay Bruce flied out. Kelley earned his third save.
Wednesday afternoon’s finale was played in 2:47, as pitchers on both sides threw strikes. Marco Gonzales started for Seattle and took the loss to go to 5-4 on the season. He deserved a better fate as he gave up just one earned run over seven innings.
The Rangers employed an opener. Reliever Jesse Chavez faced the first six Mariner batters, retiring five and giving up one hit. Adrian Sampson relieved with two outs in the second inning and pitched through the seventh, giving up a run on four hits.
Pence scored both Ranger runs. He reached on an error, and Mazara doubled him home in the first inning. Pence then hit his 10th home run of the year in the sixth inning.
Ariel Jurado and Kelley pitched scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to wrap up the win. Sampson is 2-3 with the win, and Kelley earned his fourth save.
The Rangers now hit the road for six games. Divisional play continues after an off day Thursday with a three game series in Anaheim. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Drew Smyly (0-3) on Friday night, Mike Minor (5-3) on Saturday night, and Ariel Jurado (1-2) on Sunday afternoon. Games times are 9:07 PM (Central) on Friday and Saturday and 3:07 PM (Central) on Sunday.
* The Rangers are 7-1-1 in home series this year and have a 17-8 record in Globe Life Ballpark.
* The Rangers are averaging 5.8 runs per game, most in the American League.
* Lance Lynn’s start Tuesday was the 200th of his career.
* Hot hitting Willie Calhoun was placed on the injured list Wednesday with a strained left quad muscle, and Delino DeShields was recalled from AAA Nashville. Calhoun was hitting .435 (10-23) in five games since joining the Rangers.