BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Texas Rangers avoided a sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday with an outstanding pitching performance to win 1-0. All three games in the series were decided by one run, and the Rangers have now played 37 one run games in 2019 to lead the Majors. Texas finished the week 2-4, with both wins being by the score of 1-0.
Mike Minor started Sunday and threw his second consecutive great game. Minor certainly struggled in July with one win and a 6.58 ERA, but once the trade deadline passed and the calendar flipped to August, he has reverted back to being the staff ace Ranger fans saw over the first three months of the season. He zapped the Brewers Sunday over eight innings allowing just four hits and one walk. He struck out 11.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee starter Jordan Lyles was matching scoreless innings with Minor until the seventh, when Rougned Odor doubled following a lead-off walk to Willie Calhoun to put runners at second and third with no outs. Isiah Kiner-Falefa plated the run by shortening his swing to assure contact. His fly ball to right field was deep enough to easily score Calhoun with the only run of the game.
Jose Leclerc secured the win with a three up three down ninth inning. He earned his eighth save, and Minor is 11-6 with the win. Lyles fell to 7-8 with the loss.
Colby Allard, the pitcher the Rangers received from the Braves in the Chris Martin trade, was Friday night’s starting pitcher. Ryan Braun doubled home Lorenzo Cain in the first inning to put the Brewers ahead 1-0.
Allard then settled in to toss three scoreless innings while Hunter Pence homered in the fourth inning to tie the game. However, Allard again ran into trouble in the fifth inning. Two walks and an infield single loaded the bases and ended Allard’s night on the mound. Adrian Sampson relieved and promptly walked in a run before striking out two batters to end the inning.
In the Rangers’ sixth inning, three walks loaded the bases and a wild pitch scored the runner at third to tie the game at two. Shawn Kelley came in to pitch the seventh inning. He got two quick outs, but then ran into trouble. A double, an intentional walk and an unintentional walk loaded the bases. A single and a double followed to unload the bases and put the Brewers ahead 5-2.
However, the Rangers came back to tie it with Logan Forsythe’s two run home run in the eighth inning and Elvis Andrus’s solo shot in the ninth. The Rangers had just four hits in the game, but three were home runs enabling them to score five runs.
Emmanuel Clase entered to pitch the ninth inning. He got a strike out and a ground out, but the third batter he faced, Eric Thames, homered for the walk-off 6-5 Brewer win.
Clase is 0-1 with the loss. Josh Hader pitched the ninth for Milwaukee and got the win, going to 2-5.
On Saturday, Pedro Payano started and struggled. He simply could not put the ball where he wanted to. He threw 70 pitches to get through three innings, surprisingly giving up just two runs, including a home run to Brewers’ second baseman Keston Hiura.
Bret Martin relieved and gave up another run in the fourth inning to put Milwaukee ahead 3-0. Taylor Guerrieri and Sampson blanked Milwaukee over the last four innings.
Their relief effort was for naught though, as the Rangers’ offense mustered just two runs on the night. Danny Santana and Shin-Soo Choo homered in the sixth and eighth innings for the Ranger runs, making the final score 3-2.
Payano is 1-1 with the loss. Brewers’ starting pitcher Adrian Houser is 5-5 with the win. Matt Albers earned his third save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Texas holds onto third place in the American League West at 59-58. They trail second place Oakland by 7.5 games (seven in the loss column), and lead fourth place Los Angeles by two games (three in the loss column). Texas is now nine games out of the second Wild Card playoff berth.
The Rangers finish this three city road trip in Toronto. The Blue Jays are one of the A. L.’s rebuilding teams currently 23 games under .500. They have caused excitement with three rookies that have joined the team since the season commenced. All three are sons of former Major League players – Vlad Guerrero, Jr., Cavan Biggio (son of Craig), and Bo Bichette (son of Dante).
The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Ariel Jurado (6-7) on Monday, Lance Lynn (14-7) on Tuesday, and Kolby Allard (0-1) on Wednesday. Monday’s and Tuesday’s games are scheduled to start at 6:07 PM (Central), while Wednesday’s matinee is scheduled at 12:07 PM (Central.)
* The Rangers scored a total of 10 runs in this week’s six games and had six or fewer hits in each game.
* Mike Minor was the winning pitcher in both games that Texas won last week. He threw 15 shutout innings to earn the wins.
* The Rangers finished inter-league play this year with a 9-11 record.