Richard W. Humphrey
The Texas Rangers routed the Baltimore Orioles Sunday afternoon 10-4 to complete a four game road sweep. Baltimore with just 46 wins on the season is not a strong opponent, but irrespective of the quality of the opponent, four game road sweeps are rare. The last in Ranger history was a four game sweep more than six years ago in August of 2013 against Houston.
The four wins brought the Ranger record to one game under .500 at 72-73 raising the possibility that Texas can finish at .500 or better. There are 12 home games compared with just five road games remaining on the Rangers’ schedule, though all 17 games are against teams with winning records.
The series opened Thursday with a terrifically played game. The Orioles’ John Means shut out Texas over the first six innings. Ranger starter Kolby Allard was almost as good. He gave up a lead-off double in the sixth inning to Trey Mancini, who moved to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly, to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead.
Elvis Andrus led off the Ranger seventh inning with a single, and two batters later, Nick Solak hit his second Major League home run to put the Rangers in front 2-1. Solak walked in the ninth inning and later scored an insurance run to make the final score 3-1.
Allard’s record went to 4-0 with the win. Jose Leclerc finished off the Birds in the ninth to earn his 10th save. Means was charged with the loss to go to 10-10.
Friday night, the offenses started fast. Each team knocked a pair of home runs over the first three innings. Willie Calhoun and Mancini hit solo shots in the first inning. Richie Martin hit a three run shot in the bottom of the second, but Calhoun matched it with a three run shot in the top of the third inning making the score 4-4. It was Calhoun’s first career two home run game.
Anthony Santander hit a two run home run in the Birds’ fifth to break the tie and put Baltimore in front 6-4. The Rangers went back ahead with three seventh inning runs. A double and two walks loaded the bases to start the inning. All three runners scored on the two singles that followed.
Brock Burke struggled through five innings as the Rangers’ starting pitcher. He admitted after the game that he had lost eight or nine pounds from a stomach virus, but knew the team needed some innings Friday night with a bullpen game scheduled for Saturday. He gave up all six runs, but the Rangers were in the game when he left.
Four relievers blanked the Orioles over the final four innings for the 7-6 win. Brett Martin (2-3) was the winning pitcher, and Leclerc earned his 11th save. Orioles’ reliever Paul Fry took the loss to go to 1-8.
The Rangers exploded for six first inning runs to start Saturday’s game. The first six Ranger hitters of the game reached base and scored, with Rougned Odor driving in the final two with his 23rd home run. Baltimore struck back with three first inning runs off Jonathan Hernandez, who pitched into the third inning.
Johander Mendez followed Hernandez to the mound and was the star of the game. He made his Ranger 2019 debut after suffering with an elbow injury for most of the season. He retired seven batters – six by strikeout and was awarded the win. He’s 1-0.
Odor unquestionably had been struggling as he was hitting .193 after Thursday’s game. On Saturday though, he broke out with two more hits to go with his first inning home run to finish 3-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs. He was finally above the Mendoza line at .202.
Orioles starter Aaron Brooks took the loss in the 9-4 Ranger win. Brooks is 4-8.
Sunday’s rout started early. Texas scored one in the first inning, three more in the second, and added single runs in the third and fourth innings to lead 6-1. Texas added four more runs in the sixth and seventh innings to support Mike Minor’s eight inning, two run effort.
Odor homered again and went 2-5 to bring his average up to .204. That’s still an embarrassingly low number, but it’s up 11 points in three days, and Odor does lead the Rangers in home runs and RBIs. Ronald Guzman went 3-5 and also homered.
Minor is 13-8 with the win and likely has four more starts left in the season. Baltimore starter Asher Wojciechowski (2-8) took the loss.
Texas has an off day Monday. The Tampa Bay Rays then come to Arlington for three games. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Lance Lynn (14-10) on Tuesday, Ariel Jurado (7-10) on Wednesday, and Kolby Allard (4-0) on Thursday. The start time for all three games is 7:05 PM Central.
* The sweep enabled the Rangers to finish the road trip with a 5-2 record. The four-game sweep was also the first over Baltimore on the road since the 1972 season when the Rangers in their first year in Arlington won only 54 games total.
* In Sunday’s game, the Rangers banged out 20 hits, and every starter had at least one base knock.
* The final seventeen games break down as follows: Houston for two and Oakland for three on the road, and three games each against Tampa Bay, Oakland, Boston and New York at home.