BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Texas Rangers won a back and forth game against Seattle Wednesday afternoon to win the series with the Mariners two games to one, and finish their road trip with a respectable 3-3 record. The Rangers twice coughed up a lead in the game, but they came back to score three runs over the final two innings to take an 8-7 win.
Drew Smyly was the primary pitcher for Texas, and he was unable to follow last Friday’s nicely pitched game with another good outing. Jose Leclerc set the M’s down with one hit in the first inning as the opener. Smyly took over in the second inning and gave up all seven runs (all earned) the Mariners plated on the day. He was knocked around for eight hits, including two home runs, in five innings while walking three and striking out four batters. His ERA jumped to 6.98 on the season.
Jesse Chavez shut down the Mariners in the seventh and eighth innings, getting touched for one hit and one walk. The Rangers scored the winning run in the ninth inning to make Chavez the winning pitcher. He’s 1-1 on the year.
Texas took the early lead with three first inning runs. Hunter Pence tripled home two runs and scored the third one on Asdrubal Cabrera’s two out single.
The Mariners took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning. They are the worst defensive team in baseball and two errors in the Rangers’ sixth inning led to the Rangers re-taking the lead at 5-4. Rougned Odor singled home one run, and Ronald Guzman brought in the second run with a sacrifice fly caught by Seattle’s shortstop.
The Mariners again came back to take a 7-5 lead, but the Rangers tied the game in the eighth inning. Shin-Soo Choo pinch hit with two outs to drive in both runs with a line drive single to left field.
What proved to be the winning run for Texas came across the plate in the ninth inning with a pair of two out doubles by Nomar Mazara and Cabrera.
Shawn Kelley pitched the scoreless ninth with the game ending on a nifty 3-6-1 double play. Kelley got the save, his sixth. Seattle reliever Anthony Bass gave up the Rangers’ ninth inning run to take the loss. He’s 0-1.
The series began with a disappointing 6-2 loss. Lance Lynn was the Rangers’ starting pitcher, and he threw a quality start, giving up three runs on seven hits in six innings. The Rangers simply could not muster any offense. They clubbed four singles, a double and a home run. Guzman drove in one run, and Logan Forsythe hit the home run to account for the Rangers’ scoring.
Lynn took the loss. He’s 6-4. Tommy Milone held the Rangers to four hits over 5-2/3rds innings to earn the win. He’s 1-1. Austin Adams closed out the game for the Mariners to earn his first save.
On Tuesday night, the Rangers took the early lead with two runs in the first inning and two more in the fifth. They essentially wrapped up the win with seven more runs in the fifth inning. Hunter Pence started the scoring with a two run double. Ronald Guzman hit a three run home run to break it open, his sixth round tripper of the year.
Chavez was the Rangers’ opener. He allowed a hit, but struck out three Mariners in the first inning. Adrian Sampson followed as the primary pitcher, and he pitched five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits to get the win and even his record at 3-3.
Jeffrey Springs and Shelby Miller pitched the final three innings. Springs gave up a run on three hits to make the final score 11-4.
The first place Astros also won two of three this week, so the 27-26 Rangers remain in third place in the American League West, eight games behind. Second place Oakland is just one-half game ahead of the Rangers, and actually has one more loss.
The Rangers play the next three series (11 games) in Arlington. It will be their longest home stand of the season. First up are the Kansas City Royals for four games. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Mike Minor (5-3) on Thursday, Ariel Jurado (1-2) on Friday, Lance Lynn (6-4) on Saturday, and Adrian Sampson (3-3) on Sunday, though the Rangers might use an opener to pitch the first inning in front of Sampson. Games times (all Central) are 7:05 PM on Thursday and Friday, 3:05 PM on Saturday, and 2:05 PM on Sunday.
* Wednesday’s win was just the second Ranger win this year in which the team did not hit a home run.
* The just completed road trip to Los Angeles and Seattle at 3-3 was the first Ranger road trip of the year that did not have a losing record. The Rangers have won four of their last five series.
* The Rangers announced that the 2020 season opening game which will be the first American League game at the new Globe Life Field will be against the Los Angeles Angels on March 31, 2020. It’s noteworthy that the Rangers and Angels were the two American League expansion franchises in 1961.