RANGERS SWEEP IN HOME RUN DERBY

COLON TIES DOMINICAN WIN RECORD

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers swept the Oakland Athletics to start the week, their first series sweep of the season.  Texas blasted Oakland pitching for nine home runs which drove in all but two of the 15 runs they scored in the series.  Bartolo Colon was the winning pitcher in Wednesday night’s series final, notching his first win in Arlington as a Ranger and the 243rd of his career.  That tied the legendary Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for the most wins by a pitcher born in the Dominican Republic.

Jurickson Profar staked a claim for consistent playing time when Elvis Andrus returns from injury.  He homered in each game, hit three total in the series and reached a career high with five RBIs in Wednesday’s game.  That’s the most RBIs for any Ranger in a game this year.

Colon started game two of the series.  He was far from good.  He gave up two runs on six hits, and struck out just one batter; but the performance was good enough to complete five innings to qualify for the win.  He never had a clean three up, three down inning; and the A’s ran up his pitch count to 97 to oust him after five innings.  Khris Davis (who else?) homered with a runner on base in the fifth inning for all the scoreboard damage Colon allowed on the night.

The pressure on Colon was eased by the backing of his offense.  Profar and Joey Gallo hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, Profar’s with a runner aboard, to stake Colon to an early 3-0 lead.  Profar pushed the lead to 4-0 with another home run in the third inning.  Ronald Guzman continued the home run barrage with a two run shot in the fourth inning.

The lead then was 6-0 going to the fifth inning, and 6-2 after Colon surrendered the home run to Davis.  Profar singled home two more runs in the seventh to make the final score 8-2, as four Ranger relievers kept the A’s off the scoreboard despite each of them giving up at least one hit.  Profar’s two RBIs in the seventh inning were the only two Ranger runs in the series that weren’t driven in with a home run.

Matt Moore was the Rangers’ game one starter.  He retired the first two batters of the game, and then Oakland swung the bats for two doubles and a single to take an immediate 2-0 lead.  As bad as Moore has been this season, it was easy for Ranger fans to think, “Oh no.  Here we go again”.

But surprise!  This turned into one of his two best starts of the season.  He gave up a solo home run in the fifth inning to Ranger killer Khris Davis, but that was it for scoring against Moore on this night.  He completed six innings, allowing the three runs on eight hits.

When Moore left, the Rangers trailed 3-1 with the run coming on a Robinson Chirinos home run – on his birthday no less!  Profar promptly cut the lead to one run with a solo home run in the Rangers’ half of the sixth, but the Athletics got that run back in the seventh inning with a double and a single off Alex Claudio.

The Rangers’ bats were just getting warmed up though.  Shin-Soo Choo pushed his hitting streak to 12 games, a season high for a Ranger, with a two run home run to tie the game at four.  Adrian Beltre then untied it in the eighth inning with his second home run of the year.

Two batters after Beltre’s round tripper, Gallo hit a two run blast with an exit velocity of 117 mph, the hardest hit ball by a Ranger in the Stat-cast era.

That extended the Rangers’ lead to 7-4, which was the final score when Keone Kela impressively struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning on 21 pitches.

With the wins over fourth place Oakland, the Rangers gained two games on getting out of the American League West cellar.  They now trail the A’s by five games in the standings, six in the loss column, and are 12.5 games behind first place Seattle.

Texas next hosts the Houston Astros for four games this weekend.  The Astros are somewhat reeling having dropped out of first place, trailing the Seattle Mariners by two games in the loss column.  The announced Ranger starters for the series are Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Mike Minor, and Matt Moore.

NOTABLE:

*     The possibility of bringing Tim Lincecum back to the Major Leagues as a Ranger vanished Tuesday afternoon when the Rangers granted him his unconditional release.  His minor league rehab assignment came to an end leaving the Rangers the option of of adding him to the Major League roster or releasing him.  Lincecum appeared in 10 games with Round Rock with a 5.68 ERA in 12-2/3rds innings.

“We didn’t feel it was the right time to bring him up here,” GM Jon Daniels told the media before Tuesday’s game.  “He threw okay, but he was inconsistent with his command.  We were not of the mindset that he was an upgrade over our relievers.”

*     Khris Davis, like Profar and Gallo, homered in each game of the series.  He has now hit 21 home runs against Texas in 45 career games.

*     The Rangers won the series despite going 2-8 with runners in scoring position.

*     Shin-Soo Choo went 0-3 in Wednesday’s game to end his 12-game hitting streak.

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20 IN 20 ENDS

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

The Texas Rangers’ stretch of 20 games in 20 days, the most allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between owners and the Player’s Union came to an end Sunday with a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.  Texas lost two of three in the series, finished the week with a 3-4 record, and finished the 20 game stretch at 9-11.

The Rangers offense struggled mightily this weekend.  They managed to score just four runs in the three games, and amazingly won one.  The win came Saturday night, one of the strangest games of the season.

Shin-Soo Choo singled on the first pitch of the game.  He was later erased on a double play.  Texas managed to push across an unearned run in the seventh inning, when Choo reached on an error leading off the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on two ground outs.

When the ninth inning rolled around, the Rangers still had just one hit, and the Angels led 2-1 on the strength of home runs from Mike Trout and Ian Kinsler.  Choo led off with a strikeout, but Jurickson Profar doubled.  A wild pitch moved Profar to third base and Nomar Mazara walked to put runners at first and third base with one out.

That set the stage for one of the strangest plays of the season.  Adrian Beltre flew out to deep left field, which should have easily tied the game.  Profar did tag up at third and headed for home.  However, Carlos Tocci, who pinch ran for Mazara, also tagged up at first base.  Left fielder Justin Upton made a strong throw to second base after the catch.  It was good enough to nip Tocci sliding into second base.

Home plate umpire C. B. Buckner initially ruled that the out was recorded at second base prior to Profar crossing the plate.  Hence, Profar’s run didn’t count, and the Angels had a win.  However, video review overturned the call.  Tocci was out at second, but Profar did score before the completion of the double play; so his run counted.

The Angels didn’t score in the ninth, so the game went to extra innings tied at two.  Ronald Guzman drove home Rougned Odor from second base with a single to short left field and two outs in the Rangers’ half of the 10th inning.  Odor ran hard and made an excellent slide to avoid the tag to score on a very close play.

Keone Kela blanked the Angels in the bottom of the 10th for his 13th save in as many opportunities.  Jake Diekman pitched the scoreless ninth inning to be the pitcher of record for the win.  Not to be forgotten are the seven solid innings Ranger starter Cole Hamels tossed to keep the game within striking distance when the ninth inning rolled around.  He gave up five hits, with the only scoreboard damage coming on the two home runs.

On Friday night, the Rangers couldn’t solve Angels’ starter Jaime Barria.  He shut out the Rangers over the first six innings on four hits.  Four relievers completed the whitewashing.

Ranger starter Bartolo Colon was knocked around pretty good, giving up six runs on eight hits in three innings.  Thankfully, Jesse Chavez bailed out the bullpen by finishing the game for the Rangers with five shutout innings.  6-0 was the final score.  Colon is 2-3 with the loss.

In the series finale, Doug Fister pitched a fine game for Texas, but got no help from the offense.  Fister gave up three runs on four hits over six innings.  Alex Claudio shut down the Halos in the seventh and eighth innings, but all the Rangers could put on the scoreboard was a single run on Mazara’s 14th home run in the eighth inning.  Fister is 1-6 with the loss.

The week started with a split of a four game series in Seattle.

The series opener on Memorial Day was a tightly played game, well pitched by both teams.  Odor bobbled a ground ball such that an inning ending double play in the sixth inning did not get turned.  The Mariners then scored two runs, their only scores on the night.

Odor had daringly run the bases, stealing third base to set up a Rangers’ score on a passed ball in the third inning.  That was all the scoring on the night.  2-1 was the final score.  The Rangers had very few scoring chances, and didn’t capitalize on any of them, going 0-3 with runners in scoring position.  They managed just five hits in the game, all singles.

The Rangers came back to win the next two days, 9-5 on Tuesday and 7-6 on Wednesday.  On Tuesday, the Mariners scored three in the first inning to take a 3-1 lead, with the Rangers’ run coming from a Choo home run.  The M’s extended the lead to 4-2 on a Nelson Cruz home run in the fourth inning.

It was still 4-2 in the sixth inning when the Rangers loaded the bases on a double, a single and a walk.  Improbably, the Rangers scored two runs to tie the game on a wild pitch and a passed ball.  Guzman then gave the Rangers their first lead of the game with a single that scored Joey Gallo from third base making the score 5-4.

Seattle pushed across an eighth inning run off Chris Martin to tie the game at five.  The Rangers promptly loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning, and Odor just as promptly unloaded them with a double.  Guzman followed with another double to push the score to 9-5.

Alex Claudio (4-2) in relief was the winning pitcher, and Keone Kela blanked Seattle in the ninth in a non’save situation to make 9-5 the final score.

Matt Moore came off the disabled list to start Wednesday’s game for Texas.  He pitched into the sixth inning, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits.

The Texas offense rallied with a pair of runs in the fourth inning with RBI hits from Profar and Gallo.  Profar scored again in the sixth on a Robinson Chirinos’ single to bring the Rangers within a run at 4-3, but the Mariners matched the run in their half of the sixth.

In the seventh inning though, the Rangers took the lead for good. Mazara singled home two runs to tie the game at five.  Chirinos followed later in the inning with a two run double to put the Rangers ahead 7-5.

Kela gave up a run in the ninth on two hits, but earned the save.  Tony Barnette was the winning pitcher.  He’s 1-0.

The Rangers had a chance to win the series on Thursday, but it didn’t happen.  Mike Minor started for Texas and gave up five runs, four of which were earned.  Mazara homered in the fourth inning for the Rangers’ only score.  6-1 was the final, and Miner fell to 4-4 with the loss.

The Rangers enjoyed their first off day in three weeks Monday.  They are back home for six games in Arlington this week, starting with two against Oakland.  The announced starting pitchers are Matt Moore on Tuesday and Bartolo Colon on Wednesday.

NOTABLE:

*    Adrian Beltre was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Thursday in Seattle, started that night as the Ranger designated hitter, and went 2-4 at the plate.

*     The MLB Amateur Draft began Monday night.  The Rangers had two picks on Monday, taking Cole Winn, a right handed pitcher from Orange Lutheran High School in California with their first round pick, the 15th overall selection in the draft.  In the second round (55th overall selection), Texas took Owen White a right handed pitcher from Jesse Carson High School in North Carolina.  The Rangers were especially pleased with both picks.  The Rangers as well as many other draft predictors had Winn as a top 10 talent in this draft.  Texas was surprised he was available at 15.  Bleacher Report gave the Rangers grades of “A” and “A+” respectively for the selections.

 

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FIRST WINNING WEEK

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers split four games with Kansas City this weekend to finish the week and the homestand with a 4-3 record.  It was the first winning week and first winning home stand this season.

The old saying about a team’s momentum in baseball is that it’s only as good as their next day’s starting pitcher.  Any momentum the Rangers may have thought to have gotten from Wednesday night’s miracle comeback to win a series with the Yankees was dashed by Kansas City’s Danny Duffy.

The Royals’ starter came into Thursday’s series opening game struggling, but had little problem shutting down the Rangers.  Duffy threw 7-2/3rds innings allowing a run on four hits, while striking out six.  A sign of how bad he had struggled prior to Thursday’s turnaround performance is that his ERA still stood at an embarassing 6.14 after the game.  His record is 2-6 with the win.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx was added to the Rangers roster Thursday afternoon to make his first start of the year.  He wasn’t bad.  A fielding error in the second inning gave the Royals two unearned runs.  They tapped Bibens-Dirkx for two more runs in the fifth inning (earned this time).

He pitched into the seventh, departing with two runners on base that eventually scored to make his pitching line look non-illustreous – six runs allowed, four of which were earned on eight hits.  Overall, it was a good effort.  His innings pitched number was important as the Rangers are in the midst of 20 games in 20 days, such that saving the wear and tear on the bullpen is important.  Bibens-Dirkx is 0-1 with the loss.

The Rangers touched up the K. C. bullpen for another run after Duffy departed, and Matt Bush gave up a pair of runs to make the final score 8-2.

On Friday, Mike Minor was hit early for two home runs as the Rangers trailed 2-0 as they came to bat in the first inning and 3-2 as they came to bat in the third inning.  From there, Minor pitched well, and the offense did their job.  Minor came out of the game after giving up a lead-off single in the seventh inning.  The bullpen allowed that runner to score to take away his quality start.  Minor’s final line was six innings pitched with four earned runs allowed on seven hits.

Texas scored two runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to take the lead for good.  They finished the night with three home runs – Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman.  All three of those hitters bat left-handed, and all three home runs were hit off left-handed pitchers.  It was Guzman’s fourth of the week.  8-4 was the final score.

Minor improved to 4-3 with the win.  Keone Kela was summoned in the ninth when Jake Diekman couldn’t close out the Royals.  Kela’s velocity was noticeably down, and his command was noticeably off; but he coaxed a Salvador Perez fly out to center field to end the game and earn his 11th save in as many opportunities.

On Saturday, the Rangers secured a minimum of a split in the series and a winning week with a 4-3 10 inning win.  Bartolo Colon was the starting pitcher, and K. C. got to him for three runs on four hits in the third inning.  Other than the third inning, Colon was almost untouchable.  The only other hit he allowed was a lead-off double in the seventh inning.  It proved to be no problem, as Colon mowed down the next three batters.

Colon completed seven innings allowing just the three runs on five hits.  Jose LeClerc, Chris Martin and Alex Claudio pitched a shut out inning apiece after Colon left the game.

The Rangers rallied for single runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings to tie the game.  That was all the scoring in regulation play.  In the Rangers’ half of the tenth inning, Choo led off with a home run for a 4-3 walkoff win.

Claudio (3-2) was the winning pitcher.

On Sunday, the Royals jumped on Cole Hamels early, scoring five runs in the first three innings to take charge of the game 5-0.

The Royals’ starter, Jason Hammel, has been struggling, but he threw a marvelous game.  He pitched 5-1/3rd shutout innings, striking out 10.  Every Ranger starter in the batting order struck out except for Jurickson Profar.

This game really turned on two situations.  In the first inning, two of the first three Royals singled to put runners on first and second with one out.  Jorge Soler hit a tailor made double play ball to third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa.  He picked it cleanly and threw to second base for one out.  However, Rougned Odor bobbled the ball as he tried to make the relay to first base to complete the double play.  The bobble was enough of a delay to allow Soler to be safe.

The inning thus continued, and Hunter Dozier, a native Texan who played at Stephen F. Austin University, singled both runners home after Soler stole second base.  Those two runs proved to be the difference in the game.

In the seventh inning after Hammel departed, the Rangers finally got on the scoreboard.  Joey Gallo greeted Eric Stout with a lead-off home run, and Robinson Chirinos added a two run shot to cut the gap to two runs at 5-3.

The second key moment came in the eighth inning. The Rangers threatened again with Kiner-Falefa leading off with a single and advancing to third base on two wild pitches.  One out later, Profar walked to put the tying runs on base.  That brought up Gallo, who struck out after getting ahead in the count 3-0, and Odor who weakly popped out to third base to end the inning.  The Rangers went quietly in the ninth inning.

Hamels goes to 3-5 with the loss.  Hammel goes to 2-5 with the win.

The Rangers departed immediately after Sunday’s game for Seattle.  They made their second trip to the Emerald City in the past two weeks, this time for a four game series.  The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Doug Fister, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Matt Moore, and Mike Minor.

Moore will come off the disabled list to make the start.  The Rangers are thus using six starting pitchers in this stretch to give an extra day of rest to the regulars in the rotation.

NOTABLE:

*     Shin-Soo Choo’s home runs in the second and third games of the series were the 175th and 176th of his career.  The first one tied and the second one moved him past Hideki Matsui for the most Major League home runs hit by a player born in Asia.

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HOME RUNS, WALKS & STRIKEOUTS

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – Baseball offense in 2018 has become home runs, walks and strikeouts as hitters counter defensive shifts with an all or nothing approach.  The Rangers – Yankees series this week proved to be the epitome of offensive baseball in this age.  They combined to hit 19 home runs, strike out 52 times and accept 24 bases on balls.  It resulted in 47 runs scored and a delightful series to watch, one with a little bit of everything.

The Yankees arrived in Arlington with the best record in baseball.  They were also the hottest team in baseball having won 21 of their previous 25 games.  The Rangers on the other hand limped home from Chicago having lost three of four games to the lowly White Sox.  Naturally, the Rangers proceeded to win two of the three games, their second consecutive home series win, but just their second home series win of the season.

The rubber game of the series on Wednesday proved to be the most remarkable game of the season to date.  Early on, it looked all Yankees.  Didi Gregorius hit a first inning home run after Aaron Judge had reached on a Jurickson Profar error.  The Yankees added another run on three singles and a walk to lead 3-0 before the Rangers even came to bat.

Neil Walker homered in the Yankees’ third inning to extend the lead to 4-0.  Meanwhile, CC Sabathia mowed down the Rangers without a hit over the first three innings.  The game saw the first big momentum shift in the bottom of the fourth.  Shin-Soo Choo led off with a single for the Rangers’ first hit of the game.  Two batters later, Nomar Mazara homered to cut the Yankees’ lead in half at 4-2.

Sabathia then walked two of the next three batters, and Ronald Guzman homered to give the Rangers a 5-4 lead.  Guzman is not regarded as a power hitter despite his size, but he hit a home run in each game of the series and now has five on the season.

The Ranger lead was short lived.  A single, double and single tied the game with one out in the fifth inning.  Gleyber Torres then homered to put the Yanks back in front 8-5.  Torres started the season at AAA and was ranked as one of the top two or three minor league prospects in baseball.  Since joining the Yanks, he’s showing why.  This home run was his fourth of the series and eighth of the year as he, like Guzman, homered in each game of the series.

That ended Doug Fister’s night as the Rangers’ starting pitcher.  His final line was eight runs allowed (six earned) on 11 hits over 4-1/3rd innings.  Tony Barnette followed and immediately gave up a double and a monstrous home run to Judge.  Statcast estimated Judge’s blast at 471 feet, which is believed to be the longest home run by a visiting player in Globe Life Ballpark history.

With the score 10-5, the Rangers’ goose looked cooked, but the Rangers had other ideas.  A one out single got the rally going in the Rangers’ half of the fifth inning.  It was followed by a triple and another single putting two runs on the board and trimming the New York lead to 10-7.  That chased Sabathia to the showers unable to complete the five innings required of a starting pitcher to qualify for the win despite 10 runs of support from his offense.

Alex Claudio relieved Barnette to start the sixth and retired three of the four batters he faced, two by strikeout.  In the Rangers’ sixth, Guzman led off with a single.  Another single and two walks followed to push across the Rangers’ eighth run of the game.  A strikeout later, Profar came to bat and unloaded the bases with a double to right center field.

The Rangers had come all the way back to take an 11-10 lead!

Texas added an insurance run in the eighth inning, and the Ranger bullpen shutout the Yanks the rest of the way for a 12-10 win.  It was the 64th game in ballpark history in which the losing team scored in double digits.

Claudio was the winning pitcher.  He’s 2-2.  Keone Kela needed 12 pitches to strike out the side in the ninth inning and earn his 10th save in 10 tries.

Monday night’s series opening game saw the Yankees hit five home runs and win 10-5.  Bartolo Colon was the Ranger starter, and he gave up four of the home runs.  Matt Bush and Jesse Chavez finished the game after Colon was done.  Chavez gave up the Yankees’ fifth home run.  Colon (2-2) took the loss.

Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka (5-2) went just five innings for the win.  He gave up four runs, and Chad Green gave up the fifth Ranger run.

On Tuesday, Texas evened the series with a 6-4 win.  Eight of the 10 runs were driven in with home runs.

Cole Hamels was the Rangers’ star of the night.  He made his third straight quality start, giving up two home runs on four hits over seven innings.  He struck out seven.  His record improved to 3-4 with the win, and his ERA dropped to 3.38.

Profar batting fourth for the first time in his career, hit a three run home run in the first inning to stake Hamels to an early lead.  The Rangers added two more runs in the second inning without getting a hit.  Robinson Chirinos was hit by a pitch leading off.  A wild pitch and a groundout advanced him to third base where he scored on another wild pitch.  That wild pitch came on strike three to Ryan Rua, who reached first as the Yankees tried to get the out at home.  A walk and the third wild pitch of the inning moved Rua to third base, where he eventually scored on a groundout to increase the Ranger lead to 5-0.

Guzman capped the Rangers’ scoring with a fourth inning home run.

Torres hit a solo shot off Hamels in the third inning to put the New Yorkers on the scoreboard.  Miguel Andujar homered in the seventh inning to cut the Ranger lead to 6-2.  Andrew Romine hit the third Yankee home run off Jake Diekman in the eighth inning with a runner aboard to bring New York within two at 6-4.

Keone Kela however stopped the Yankees cold in the ninth inning, setting them down one-two-three on 15 pitches to earn his ninth save.

Texas now hosts the Kansas City Royals for four games over Memorial Day weekend.  The announced Ranger starting pitchers are Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Mike Minor, Bartolo Colon and Cole Hamels.

NOTABLE:

*     For the series, 32 of the 47 runs scored were driven in with home runs.  The 19 home runs hit in the series ties the Globe Life Ballpark record for home runs in a three game series.

*     Monday’s game was the first time in Yankee history to have three straight games with at least four home runs.  The last time that happened in the Majors, it was done by the Rangers in 2011.  No team has hit four or more home runs in four straight games, but the Yankees came close when they hit three on Tuesday night.

*     The eight home runs for both teams combined Monday night are the most hit in a game at Globe Life Ballpark since 2011.

*     Cole Hamels has a 2.18 ERA in the seven starts he has made in night games this year.

*     16 different Ranger players have hit at least one home run this season after Rougned Odor notched his first in the series opening game.  Last year, a total of 17 Rangers hit a home run.

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WHITE SOX DOUBLE HOME WINS

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Chicago White Sox took three out of four in this weekend series with the Texas Rangers doubling their home wins on the season.  Chicago was 3-17 at home before the Rangers arrived and finished the weekend 6-18.  Even after taking the series, Chicago has the fewest wins in the American League.

Teams in general hate three city road trips and don’t play well in the third city.  That was true for Texas as they won one game in each city on this nine-game, three city trip, going 3-6.

The series started with bad news.  Cole Hamels woke up with neck stiffness and was scratched from Thursday’s start. Then there was good news.  Doug Fister took the start and turned in his best performance of the year – seven shut out innings on six hits.  He struck out four and walked no one.  The outing lowered his ERA to 3.43.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead to the eighth inning.  The news turned bad again, as the White Sox scored four unearned runs with two outs.  Jose LeClerc made the throwing error that opened the flood gates.  4-2 was the final score.  LeClerc was charged with his second blown save, and his record is 1-1 with the loss.

The Rangers and White Sox came into this series ranked 29th and 30th respectively in runs per game.  It was thus improbable that the teams would break out 17 runs of offense, but they did on Friday night.  The Rangers staked starter Matt Moore to a 3-0 lead before he took the mound.  Jurickson Profar singled with the bases loaded to plate the first two runs, and Joey Gallo followed with a single to drive in the third.

The Sox answered with a single, double and single in their half of the first inning to draw within a run at 3-2.  Both teams added a run in the second inning.  In the third though, the Rangers pulled away for good. They scored five runs to lead 9-3.  The big hit that blew the game open was a grand slam home run from Shin-Soo Choo.  It was the fourth slam of his career and first since 2010.

Moore kept the Sox off the scoreboard in the third inning, but the fourth didn’t go well.  He retired only two batters before departing the game, giving up two more runs.  He left with a 7.99 ERA and landed on the disabled list the next day.

Jesse Chavez relieved and tossed 2-2/3rds scoreless innings.  Alex Claudio and Tony Barnette finished the game with scoreless performances.  The Rangers added three more runs to make the final score 12-5.  Chavez (2-0) was awarded the win since the Ranger starter did not finish five innings.

Profar and Gallo accounted for most of the scoreboard damage besides Choo’s slam.  They collectively had five hits and each of them drove in three runs.

On Saturday, Ariel Jurado was called up from AA Frisco to be the starting pitcher.  He was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts for the Roughriders, and he gave a good account of himself.

“A lot of positives.  A lot to hang his hat on,” manager Jeff Banister said about Jurado Sunday on his pre-game radio interview.

Jurado gave up a hit in the first inning, but retired the Sox on 10 pitches.  He got the South Siders out 1-2-3 in the second inning including his first Major League strikeout.

Meanwhile the Rangers were staking him to a 3-0 lead, scoring two in the second inning and another in the third.  Three doubles from Nomar Mazara, Profar and Rougned Odor plated the first two runs, and Profar drove in the third with a sacrifice fly.

The roof caved in on Jurado in the third inning.  He retired two of the first three batters, but the final out of the inning proved illusive.  A walk, two singles and a triple followed giving the White Sox a 4-3 lead.

Jurado did come out to throw another three up, three down inning in the fourth.  He got into trouble in the fifth, but got two outs before being lifted.  Brandon Mann got the final out to keep the Sox off the scoreboard.

Jurado’s final stat line then was 4-2/3rds innings pitched, six hits, four earned runs, two strike outs and two walks.

Jose Abreu homered in the seventh inning off Kevin Jepson to make the final score 5-3.

Jurado was optioned back to Frisco on Sunday, and Chris Martin was activated from the disabled list.

On Sunday, Mike Minor pitched well, but Chicago’s Reynaldo Lopez was better.  Lopez shut out the Rangers on two hits over eight innings to improve to 1-3.  Jace Fry put the Rangers down 1-2-3 in the ninth on 14 pitches for his first save.

Minor gave up a solo home run to Sox catcher Wellington Castillo in the second inning.  Three singles with a stolen base in the middle plated two more runs for Chicago in the third inning.  3-0 was the final score.

Minor came out after five innings, having thrown 90 pitches.  The count was a little high, but he struck out nine of the 15 batters he retired.  He simply got no offensive support.  He’s 3-3 with the loss.

The hole the Rangers have dug in the first seven weeks of the season got deeper this weekend.  Texas now trails first place Houston by 12 games.  All of the other four teams in the division have records over .500, such that the Rangers are eight games in loss column away from crawling out of last place.

The Rangers are back in Arlington for seven games starting with the Yankees on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Wednesday’s game has the unusual start time of 6:15 PM.  The announced starting pitchers for the Rangers are Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, and Doug Fister.  This will be the Yankees’ only regular season trip to Arlington this year.

NOTABLE:

*     Texas has allowed 13 unearned runs in May and 28 unearned runs on the season, both Major League highs.

*     Texas has started seven players age 25 or less six times this season, including the first three games of this Chicago series.  Saturday’s lineup with Ariel Jurado pitching actually had eight starters 25 or younger.  No other team in baseball has started more than six in a game.

*     Jurickson Profar hit five doubles on the road trip and leads the Rangers with 12 doubles on the season.

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SEATTLE SPLIT

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

The Texas Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners Wednesday afternoon to start the week with a split in their two game series. The win halted the Rangers’ three game losing streak and brought their record to 2-3 on the current road trip.

The series began Tuesday night with a very offensive and very interesting game. Mike Minor was the Ranger starting pitcher, and he turned in his worst start of the season. He was knocked out of the box in the fourth inning, charged with six runs on eight hits. Eleven of the 21 batters he faced reached base.

When Minor departed, the Rangers trailed 6-3, and as sluggish as the Ranger offense has been, it felt like a win in the books for Seattle. But this game was far from over. The Ranger bats came alive with three runs in the sixth to tie the game. Joey Gallo started the rally with his 13th home run. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Rougned Odor followed with doubles to plate the second run, and Robinson Chirinos singled Odor home for the third run of the inning.

A walk, a single and a Ronald Guzman single gave the Rangers a 7-6 lead going to the bottom of the eighth. It looked to be set up perfectly for the win with the Rangers’ two best bullpen hands on tap to close out the game – Jose LeClerc for the eighth and Keone Kela for the ninth.

But again, this game did not go to form. A lead-off double followed by a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt tied the game and put a Mariner on second base with no outs. A successful sacrifice bunt and a single followed to put Seatte in the lead 8-7.

Seattle brought on closer Edwin Diaz to finish off the Rangers in the ninth inning, but still again, the game did not go to form. Jurickson Profar led off with a single and eventually scored on a Gallo groundout. That tied the game sending it to extra innings.

Neither team scored in the 10th, but in the 11th, Alex Claudio was hit with three consecutive one out singles to give the Mariners a 9-8 walkoff win. Claudio is 1-2 with the loss.

The Rangers came back with Bartolo Colon on Wednesday afternoon. He pitched his best game as a Ranger giving up four hits and no runs over 7-2/3rds innings. He notched the win to move his record to 2-1. His ERA dropped to 2.82 which now ranks ninth in the American League.

Seattle’s Christian Bergman was matching zeroes on the scoreboard with Colon.  He blanked the Rangers over seven innings on just two hits.

Once he left, the Rangers struck scoreboard gold against the M’s bullpen.

Delino DeShields doubled home Kiner-Falefa with two outs to give the Rangers the lead. Texas then added four insurance runs in the ninth inning, which included two runs scoring on a strikeout/wild pitch.  Seattle’s Kyle Seager homered in the bottom of the ninth to make the final score 5-1.

Texas is now 10.5 games out of first place (10 in the loss column), and they are solidly in last place trailing fourth place Oakland by 4.5 games (five in the loss column).

The Rangers departed Seattle immediately after the game to fly to Chicago. They meet the White Sox in a four game series this weekend. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Mike Minor.

NOTABLE:

* Bartolo Colon is 14-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 16 starts at Seattle’s Safeco Park.

* As expected, Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list after leaving Sunday’s game in Houston with a hamstring issue. He is expected to miss two to three weeks. Utility infielder Hanser Alberto was added to the roster to take Beltre’s place.

* Tuesday night’s extra inning loss was the first of the season for the Rangers. They had won the four previous extra inning games this year.

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HOUSTON TAKES SERIES

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

It was another series and another series loss in the Bayou City as the Houston Astros took two of three games from the Texas Rangers this weekend. The struggling Ranger offense managed to score just three runs in the series – one in each game making the Rangers extremely fortunate to avoid a sweep.

The series started with a plain old pitchers’ duel. It looked like baseball in the ’60′s. Houston starter Justin Verlander looked like the Justin Verlander that won a Cy Young Award in Detroit. Cole Hamels was the Ranger starter, and he pitched like the Cole Hamels that was a World Series MVP.

Through six innings, Verlander had surrendered just two hits and walked no one. Over the same span, Hamels had walked three and hit two batters, but he did not give up a hit until the fifth inning, an Evan Gattis ground single through the hole between shortstop and third base. It was the only hit the Astros would get on the night.

Nomar Mazara greeted Verlander with a lead-off double to start the seventh inning. Verlander then walked the next two and was replaced by Chris Devinski, who promptly surrendered a sacrifice fly from Jurickson Profar’s bat. That was the only run that was scored on this night.

Ranger manager Jeff Banister said the original plan was for Hamels to pitch the seventh inning. However, the top half of the inning took so long that Banister decided to go to his bullpen. Jake Diekman put down Houston in the seventh and walked the first batter of the eighth inning. Jose LeClerc followed Diekman and got the three batters he faced in the eighth, striking out one.

Keone Kela came on to pitch the ninth for Texas. He walked one and went to a three ball count on another, but he put down the Astros without any scoreboard damage to earn his eighth save of the year. 1-0 was the final score. Hamels is 2-4 with the win. Hard luck Verlander is 4-2 with the loss, but he still leads the league in ERA at 1.21. He’s made three starts this season against the Rangers, pitching a total of 20 innings and allowing a mere two runs. Somehow, the Rangers have won two of those games.

The Rangers’ Doug Fister matched up against Charlie Morton in Saturday night’s tilt. Fister turned in a quality start going 6-1/3rd innings while allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks.

It wasn’t good enough to stay with Morton though, who was the winning pitcher and moved his record to 5-0, 2.03. He completed seven innings, also giving up four hits. However, he walked no one and struck out 14 of the 21 batters he retired. Ronald Guzman touched him for a home run for the only Ranger score.

Tony Barnette relieved Fister and gave up three more runs to make the final score 6-1. Fister’s record fell to 1-4 with the loss.

On Sunday, the teams wore a lot of pink in support of breast cancer awareness. The different uniforms didn’t help the Rangers though. They lost again 6-1.

Matt Moore was the Ranger starter, and he was bad again. He gave up three runs in the third inning, and that ended his stay on the mound. He labored with 72 pitches for the three innings, walking three and giving up six hits. He faced 18 batters, so the Astros’ on base percentage was .500 against him. Banister was non-commital after the game as to whether Moore will remain in the rotation.

The Astros tagged Kevin Jepsen for three more runs in the seventh to extend their lead to 6-0. Newly acquired Carlos Perez hit his first Ranger home run in the eighth inning for the Rangers’ run of the day.

Moore is 1-5, 7.82 with the loss, while Houston’s Dallas Keuchel gave up just three hits in seven inning to win his third game of the year. He struck out a season high eight batters.

The news on the injury front wasn’t good Sunday. Adrian Beltre left the game with an apparent hamstring injury. He likely will be placed on the disabled list.

Texas is now a full 10 games out of first place in the American League West. They trail fourth place Oakland by four games in the standings, but by five games in the loss column.

The Rangers are off on Monday and then open a brief two game series in Seattle on Tuesday evening. Texas lost two of three games earlier in Arlington in their only matchup with Seattle so far this season. Mike Minor and Bartolo Colon are the announced starting pitchers for the Rangers.

NOTABLE:

* Rougned Odor was activated from the disabled list for the series. Renato Nunez was designated for assignment to make room on the active roster, and he was claimed on waivers by Baltimore. Odor started the first two games of the series and subbed for Beltre in Sunday’s game. He went 1-7 with five strikeouts.

* The Rangers are 27-21 on Mothers’ Day all time, which includes two doubleheaders.

* With the Rangers scoring in all three games in Houston, the Rangers and Yankees are still the only Major League teams that have not been shutout this season. The Rangers have scored just one run in a game to avoid a shutout eight times.

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RANGERS WIN HOME SERIES

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers finally won their first home series of the year Wednesday, taking the rubber match in a three game series with the Detroit Tigers. They won Wednesday’s matinee in dramatic style with a 10th inning walk-off home run. Despite the series win, the Rangers completed another losing home stand winning three and losing four to Boston and Detroit.

For the second straight series, the Rangers won game one. The Ranger offense has been heavily reliant on homers to score runs, but in the series opener, two daring and aggressive running plays scored runs late to lead the Rangers to a 7-6 victory.

Matt Moore was the starting pitcher. He has been the hole in the Rangers’ rotation, and on Monday night, he did nothing to dissuade the idea. He was knocked around for nine hits and five earned runs in 5-2/3rds innings. His ERA stands at 7.71.

He departed with the Rangers trailing 5-1, but the Ranger batters promptly took him off the hook for a loss by scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game. Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit back to back doubles to drive in three runs with two outs. Kiner-Falefa then scored from second on Ronald Guzman’s infield single.

The Tigers re-took the lead in the seventh inning scoring an unearned run off Jose LeClerc. The Rangers came right back with two unearned runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh to go in front 6-5. Jurickson Profar tripled after Delino DeShields reached on an error and Shin-Soo Choo singled with two outs.

Jake Diekman and Keone Kela shutout the Tigers over the final two innings. LeClerc is 1-0 with the win and the save was Kela’s seventh of the season.

The Rangers again played from behind early in the game on Tuesday night. Mike Minor gave up six hits to the first nine batters he faced. Three of those hits were home runs, and five of those base runners scored. Minor said after the game that he was throwing the pitches where he wanted according to the game plan. At that point, he scrapped the game plan and had success.

He finished seven innings for the first time this year. He allowed just three more base runners on a hit, a hit batsman and an error.

The deficit proved too large for the Rangers to overcome. Jurickson Profar hit a solo home run, his second of the season in the fifth inning to put the Rangers on the scoreboard. Texas added another run in the sixth inning, though it was disappointing they pushed just one across. They twice had runners at first and third with one out, and scored just the once.

Alex Claudio and Kevin Jepson finished the game, and each gave up a run. Texas scored two more in the eighth inning, but Tigers’ manager Ron Gardenhire summoned his closer Shane Greene to snuff out the rally. Greene struck out the side in the ninth inning to earn his seventh save. The final score was 7-4.

Minor and Tigers’ starting pitcher Mike Fiers are both 3-2 after taking the loss and earning the win respectively.

The best news on the night for Texas was the return of Adrian Beltre. He was activated from the 10-day disabled list just before game time and came up with three hits.

Wednesday afternoon’s finale was a see-saw affair. Beltre singled home a run in the first inning, but the Tigers took the lead with two runs in the third. That lead didn’t last long, as the Rangers scored two runs in their half of the third. Kiner-Falefa tripled home the first run and scored on Beltre’s sacrifice fly.

The Tigers came back with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to lead 5-4. Mazara then tied the game in the eighth inning with a home run. A scoreless ninth moved the game into extra innings. Not to worry. Mazara came to bat again and hit another home run for the walk-off win.

The Astros swept Oakland in a three game set to start the week, so Texas dropped another game in the standings to Houston. They now trail the Astros by nine games. However, they picked up two games on fourth place Oakland and are four games out of fourth place (five in the loss column).

Texas is off Thursday, and then open a three game series this weekend in Houston. The Rangers are 3-4 against the Astros in their first two series of the year. Rougned Odor is expected to be added to the active roster for the series. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Cole Hamels, Doug Fister and Matt Moore.

NOTABLE:

* The Rangers and the Yankees are the only two Major League teams that have not been shut out this season.

* The Rangers hit home runs in each game of this series to extend their home run streak to 13 games. That’s the longest home run streak in the Majors this year eclipsing the Yankees’ 12 game streak in April; and for Texas, it’s the longest home run streak since June of last season, when they homered in 14 consecutive games.

* Delino DeShields’ career high 10-game hitting streak came to an end in Monday night’s game. He still remains hot with multiple hits in seven of his last 11 games. He scored nine of the 35 runs the Rangers scored during the homestand.

* Tim Lincecum gave up two runs on two hits in his first minor league rehab appearance for Round Rock on Monday night. He threw 15 pitches and struck out two batters. This was his first appearance in a professional baseball game since September 4, 2016.

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HOME NOT SO SWEET HOME

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers won the opening game of this weekend’s series with Boston, but the Red Sox came back to take the last three and win the series. The Rangers fall to 5-15 at home and still have not won a series in Arlington in six tries. For the season, the Rangers are 2-8-1 with the both series wins and the series split coming on the road.

This series started with a bang for Texas, at least offensively. Leading 4-3 going to the bottom of the fourth inning of Thursday’s series opening game, the Ranger offense exploded for six runs. Nomar Mazara had the big hit of the inning, a three run home run. That made it a five RBI night for Mazara, as he had earlier doubled home two runs.

The six runs in an inning were a season high. It was also the first game this season that the Rangers ran their run total into double digits, eclipsing their previous season high of eight runs in a game set earlier in the week. The Red Sox scored twice more and the Rangers added another run late for a final score of 11-5.

The blowout win was hardly expected. Boston arrived with the best record in baseball, and they sent former Cy Young Award winner David Price to the mound. Price however, has not pitched well in Globe Life Ballpark in the past, and history held true. He was charged with nine runs in 3-1/3rd innings. He wasn’t helped by his defense as two of the runs were unearned.

For the night, Boston committed three errors and gave up three earned runs. That was surprising from both ends. The Red Sox had given up two unearned runs for the season prior to Thursday’s game, and the Rangers had scored just one unearned run in their first 32 games.

Mike Minor, who played at Vanderbilt like Price, was not sharp, giving up three runs in the first four innings. However, after getting the cushion of a seven run lead, he finished with a quality start – six innings pitched and three earned runs. He’s 3-1 with the win and Price is 2-4 with the loss.

On Friday night, the teams played a home run derby game. The Rangers unfortunately hit just one of the five home runs in this game. It came off the bat of Nomar Mazara, his fourth consecutive game to hit a round tripper.

The final score was 5-1. Bartolo “Big Sexy” Colon was the starting pitcher and surrendered four home runs out of just five hits allowed. Colon doesn’t strike out many batters. Often those batted balls are turned into outs. On this night though, four of them left the park.

Manager Jeff Banister said after the game, “This is a guy (Colon) that throws strikes. Hitters know that; they come out and are aggressive.”

The Rangers were shut down by Boston starter Rick Porcello, the third former Cy Young Award winner to face the Rangers in as many nights. He gave up three hits in six innings striking out eight and walking one.

Banister also said, “…you gotta take your hat off to Porcello tonight. It looked like he had pretty much everything going for himself.”

Colon is 1-1 with the loss, while Porcello is 5-0 with the win.

Saturday’s game was one that makes a difference in a season. The Rangers got a good start from Cole Hamels. He completed six innings, allowing three runs on five hits. One of the runs was unearned. The offense supplied power, backing Hamels with three home runs. Gallo hit a pair of gargantuan solo shots, and Delino DeShields hit one with two runners aboard to tally five runs.

Texas led 5-3 going to the seventh inning, but the Sox tallied twice to tie; and in the ninth, they scored the go ahead run. The Rangers went quietly in their half of the ninth to conclude a 6-5 Red Sox win.

There was sloppy fielding and the Sox tallied a run off three of the four pitchers that relieved Hamels. Keone Kela took the loss, falling to 2-2.

On Sunday, Chris Sale started for Boston and showed why he is considered one of the top 10 pitchers in the league. He scattered four hits over seven innings, while striking out 12. He never allowed more than one base runner in an inning, and the only scoreboard damage was a solo home run off Ryan Rua’s bat. He’s 3-1 with the win.

Doug Fister was the Ranger starter and pitched well for almost six innings. The Red Sox led 2-0 with two on and two out in the sixth. Little used backup catcher Sandy Leon broke the game open with his first home run of the season. What had been a good looking stat line for Fister turned ugly. He got one out in the seventh inning and allowed another run before being relieved. The final score was 6-1, and Fister is 1-3 with the loss.

The Red Sox series win dropped the Rangers to 10 games under .500 at 13-23 to strengthen their grip on last place in the American League West. They looked like a last place team. They played shoddy defense, and their batters struck out 52 times in the series, an average of 13 per game.

The Rangers have slipped nine games behind first place Los Angeles (10 in the loss column) in the division. The fourth place Athletics however are two games over .500 at 18-16 and lead the Rangers by six games, seven in the loss column.

The home record has a good chance to improve as the home stand concludes with three games against the Detroit Tigers. Texas won five of six against the Motor City men last year. The announced Ranger starting pitchers are Matt Moore on Monday, Mike Minor on Tuesday and Bartolo Colon on Wednesday. Games times are 7:05 PM on Monday and Tuesday and 1:05 PM on Wednesday.

NOTABLE:

* STREAKS: The Rangers hit at least one home run in each game of the series to extend their streak of homering in 10 straight games. That is the second longest home run streak in the Majors this season. (The Yankees had a 12 game streak in April)……Delino DeShields had at least one hit in each game of the series to extend his personal hitting streak to 10 games, a career high and the longest for any Ranger this season……Former Ranger Mitch Moreland is hitting .542 against Texas since joining the Red Sox. He was 4-7 with a home run and three RBIs in this series.

* MINOR LEAGUE REHABS: Rougned Odor began his minor league rehab assignment on Saturday at AA Frisco. He went 0-3 with a walk as the Rough Riders’ designated hitter in the first game. On Sunday, he played second base and went 1-2….Tim Lincecum begins his minor league rehab assignment Monday with AAA Round Rock.

* Joey Gallo’s first home run on Saturday was measured at 466 feet, and the exit velocity off his bat was estimated at 116.8 mph. It was the hardest hit ball by a Ranger since Statcast was introduced in 2015.

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MORE ROAD SUCCESS

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

“Home sweet home” does not apply to the Texas Rangers. Wednesday afternoon, they finished another .500 road trip going 3-3 and winning just their second series of the year, both on the road. The Rangers are 8-8 on the road and 4-12 at home. They are 2-7-1 in their first 10 series of the season.

As improbable as the home/road records look, winning on the road is even more improbable with the rag tag lineups manager Jeff Banister has been forced to put on the field. Injuries to Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor have shelved three-fourths of the Ranger starting infield. The roster shuffling has forced first baseman Joey Gallo to play mainly left field. So the Rangers went 3-3 on this road trip without the projected starting infield.

The two main replacements that weren’t expected to be in Arlington until much later in the season – Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ronald Guzman – are more than holding their own. Kiner-Falefa is hitting .278 with a pair of home runs. He has two four-hit games under his belt among the 20 he has played. Bear in mind that he hit just five home runs total in his minor league career, and they all came last year at AA Frisco.

Guzman is hitting a less gaudy .212, but there have been some important hits late in games, and he is a really good defensive first baseman.

There is also Jurickson Profar. The once highly touted shortstop prospect looked anything but when first forced into the lineup. He made too many errors, most of the throwing variety. He didn’t hit much. However, the regular playing time has improved his play on both sides of the ball. He has been getting regular extra work defensively from coaches Tony Beasley and Steve Buechele prior to games, and it is showing.

The trip started with the Rangers taking the first two games against Toronto last weekend. The Friday night 6-4 win over the Jays was the first of the season in game one of a series. Mike Minor copped the win, pitching six innings and allowing four runs on nine hits. The Rangers staked him to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, with two of the four coming on Gallo’s eighth home run. Toronto tied the game with single runs in the first and third innings and pair in the second. Minor stiffened after that, finishing his outing with three shutout innings.

The Rangers meanwhile struck for two more runs in their half of the sixth, both coming on a Guzman single. Four relievers shut out the Jays over the final three innings. Minor is 2-1 with the win, and Keone Kela earned his fifth save. The Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman continues to struggle. He’s 0-3, 8.88 with the loss. Two of the three losses have been at the hands of the Rangers.

Texas had won their last game before the road trip, so when they won again on Saturday by a 7-4 score, they had their longest winning streak of the season – three games. “Big Sexy” Bartolo Colon gave up three runs over seven innings for his first win as a Ranger.

Ranger batters backed Colon’s effort with three home runs, including Profar’s first of the year. Texas took charge with three runs in the third inning, and extended the lead to 5-0 with two more in the fourth inning. Toronto answered with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh off Colon. Texas added single runs in the sixth and ninth innings, with the sixth inning run coming on Robinson Chirinos’s second home run of the game. Kevin Jepson gave up Toronto’s final run in the ninth.

The winning streak came to a halt on Sunday. The Jays avoided a sweep by tagging Martin Perez with three home runs in four innings. They won 7-2. Perez is 2-3, 9.67 after the loss and was placed on the disabled list the next day.

On Monday, the Rangers’ bullpen woes showed up again. The Rangers scored two runs in the eighth to take a 4-3 lead. They needed just six outs for the win, but Chris Martin, one of the more reliable bullpen hands, simply didn’t have it. He couldn’t finish the inning and was charged with four earned runs on four hits. He left with a neck injury and was placed on the disabled list.

The Rangers’ ninth inning rally fell short. Nomar Mazara drove in one run, and the tying runs were on base when Gallo was called out on strikes to end the game.

The bullpen woes undid a fine start from Cole Hamels. He pitched the first five innings, allowing two runs, just one of which was earned. He didn’t come out for the sixth after needing 104 pitches to finish the five innings.

Martin (0-1) was charged with the loss and a blown save, his second blown save.

Tuesday’s game was one of the most entertaining of the year dragging Ranger fans to, from and to again emotional highs. The Rangers played a fine game behind Doug Fister’s longest outing of the year.

They scored two runs in the fifth inning on Delino DeShields’ first home run of the year and a pair of doubles from Shin-Soo Choo and Profar. Profar doubled home two more in the seventh inning with two outs to double the lead to 4-0. The game looked all but in the bag when Mazara followed with his fourth home run of the year to run the score to 6-0.

The Tribe tagged Fister for two unearned runs in their half of the seventh, and the score was still 6-2 with two outs in the ninth inning and two strikes on Michael Brantley. Banister chose to bring in Kela to pitch the ninth even though it wasn’t a save situation. Brantley however, foiled the plan with a grand slam home run that tied the game. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single to put the potential winning run on base for Cleveland, but Kela struck out Yonder Alonso to push the game into extra innings.

Alex Claudio started the tenth inning. 2018 has been a struggle for the Rangers’ 2017 “Pitcher of Year”, but he was magnificent Tuesday night. He threw three shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Gallo and Kiner-Falefa hit back-to-back home runs in the Rangers’ 12th inning for the 8-6 win. Eight runs scored set a new season high for Texas.

Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match of the series was decided early as Ranger starter Matt Moore had nothing. Cleveland struck for four runs in the first inning and five more in the second. After three innings, Moore had faced 21 batters. Twelve reached base on 11 hits and a walk. Included were six extra base hits – three home runs and three doubles. Ten scored.

The Rangers answered with home runs from Nomar Mazara and Juan Centeno, but the score was 10-2 after three innings, and the outcome was decided. Texas added two runs late, one on Gallo’s 10th home run. The Tribe also scored two runs late on a pair of home runs, one of which was Encarnacion’s third round tripper of the game.

It was a disappointing finish to the road trip, but playing .500 ball away from home is good. The Rangers have closed to within eight games of first place Houston, but are still four games behind fourth place Oakland (five in the loss column).

The Rangers open a seven game home stand Thursday evening with the first of four games against Boston. Last year, the Rangers went 1-5 against the Red Sox. It’s Boston’s only trip to Arlington this season. The announced Ranger starting pitchers for the series are Mike Minor, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels and Doug Fister.

NOTABLE:

* Bartolo Colon was named the Rangers’ “Player of the Month” for April. He was 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA in six games, including four starts.

* The Rangers finished the season series with Toronto with each team winning three games.

* The Rangers claimed catcher Carlos Perez on waivers Wednesday. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, Elvis Andrus was moved to the 60-day disabled list. A move to add Perez to the active roster will be made Thursday.

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