Rangers Win Tight Finale, Sweep Phillies

Rangers Tight Finale
(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Rangers 2, Phillies 1

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Apr 2) — The Texas Rangers won a tight series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday evening by a final score of 2–1. A second inning home run by Josh Jung made the biggest impact in this one. With this win, they claim their first series victory and three-game sweep of the season. With the Phillies now in the rearview mirror until the 2024 season, the Rangers set their sights on a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. That series will begin Monday evening at 7:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. It will be a matchup of righties on the mound. Kyle Bradish (first 2023 appearance) will make the start for the Orioles, and Jon Gray (first 2023 appearance) will take the hill for the Rangers.

Low-Scoring Affair

The game stayed in a scoreless tie until the bottom of the second inning. Shortly after the inning started, Josh Jung gave the Rangers a 1–0 lead with a solo homer. It was the first of the year for Jung. His leadoff dinger went over the right-center field wall. The Phillies tied it 1–1 in the top of the fourth inning. Right-fielder Nick Castellanos crossed the plate on a double play that was grounded into by left-fielder Josh Harrison.

This contest did not stay tied for long, however. In the fifth inning, second baseman Marcus Semien drove in Saturday afternoon’s hero Mitch Garver in with a single to right field.

Pitching Notes

Lefty Martin Perez earned the win (1-0) in his first start of the season. He held the reigning National League champions to one run (earned) over 5 2/3 innings. Perez allowed eight hits and three walks while recording seven strikeouts. It would have been his third-highest strikeout total of the 2022 campaign. He threw 98 pitches/60 strikes on Sunday. With this start, he became the first Ranger to throw 98+ pitches in a season debut since Mike Minor on 7/25/20 against the Colorado Rockies (98 pitches, 5 IP).

Pérez has logged at least five innings in each of his last 31 starts (beg. 4/23/22). It is the longest such streak ever by a Rangers left-hander and sixth in club history overall. The others are 56-Yu Darvish (2012-14), 41-Lance Lynn (2019-20), 32-Nolan Ryan (1989-90)/Kevin Brown (1991-92), 31-Pérez (2022-23). It is the second-longest active streak of its kind in Major League Baseball to only a 33-start streak by Max Scherzer (beginning 8/15/21). Phillies lefty Bailey Falter (0–1, 1.59 ERA) took the loss. Rangers Newcomer Will Smith got the save, his first of the year.

It’s Been Awhile

The Rangers have won each of their first three games of a campaign for the ninth time in club history. It marked the first time they have won every game of the first series in a season (3+ G only) since 2011 against the Boston Red Sox (also 3–0). They have won each of the last 12 games against Philadelphia dating back to 4/1/14. It is the club’s longest-ever win streak against a National League opponent. They outscored the Phillies 29–11 (+18) in this set. This ties the team’s highest run differential ever through the first three games of a new season: 25–7 in 1996 and 29–11 in 1992.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was once again in good spirits after his team pulled off the sweep in this tight series finale. He was asked what his thoughts were on the fundamentals that he saw from the Rangers. Bochy responded, “I tell you what, the whole weekend we executed so well. Defensively, you saw we had some great plays, key double plays. We just did a lot of good things there. That’s what I was really proud of.”

Late in his outing, outfielder Adolis Garcia helped Martin Perez greatly with a catch at the wall to rob Kyle Schwarber of a home run. When asked how much of an impact that made Perez said, “It gave me a lot of confidence. In that situation it saved the game, and I was allowed to relax. That was one of the keys to the game.”

When asked if he had to talk his way into staying in the game in the sixth inning, he replied, “No, they just asked me how I felt, and I said I was okay. I always respect what decision they make, and it was the right time to take me out of the game.”

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Embed from Getty Images

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