Rangers Rally to Defeat Diamondbacks

Ezequiel Duran and Jonah Heim of the Rangers celebrating Duran's two-run home run against the Diamondbacks.
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Rangers 6, Diamondbacks 4

ARLINGTON, Tex. (May 2) — Ezequiel Duran went 3-for-4, including a two-run go-ahead homer in the bottom of the sixth, to drive the Texas Rangers past the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6–4, Tuesday night in interleague action.

Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen, who entered the game on a 28-inning scoreless streak, uncharacteristically gave up three runs but still left with the lead. “Just didn’t feel like I could really get locked in,” a disappointed Gallen said. “Couldn’t get into a groove. I just tried to make pitches, really. There are gonna be games like that. Just tried to keep us in the game, really. Obviously, I’m not super pleased. Anytime I’m not pitching until at least the sixth inning, into the seventh, I didn’t really do my job. Kind of had to grind that one out.”

Diamondbacks Jump Ahead

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Second baseman Ketel Marte got the Diamondbacks on the board in the top of the first, sending an 0–1 curveball into the right-center-field seats for a one-out solo homer. Another first-inning run came on a two-out rally. First baseman Christian Walker punched a single up the middle and advanced to second on a walk by left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Rookie Dominic Fletcher — playing in his second major league game and making his first major league start — singled to left, scoring Walker on a close play at the plate. Catcher Gabriel Moreno followed with a popup to second, retiring the side with the Diamondbacks holding a 2–0 lead.

The Rangers ended Zac Gallen’s scoreless inning streak on the third batter of the game. Second baseman Marcus Semien led off the frame with a double to the right-field corner and advanced to third on a 4–3 groundout by center fielder Travis Jankowski. First baseman Nathaniel Lowe brought Jankowski in with a single to left, making the score 2–1.

More scoring came in the top of the second. A one-out infield single to third by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and single to right by third baseman Josh Rojas put runners on the corners for Marte. His sacrifice fly to center plated Perdomo, restoring a two-run lead for the Diamondbacks. The score became 4–1 in the top of the third after a leadoff home run into the Rangers’ bullpen by Walker.

Rangers Mount a Comeback

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In the bottom of the fifth, the Rangers cut into the lead. Shortstop Ezequiel Duran and designated hitter Robbie Grossman led off with singles to center and right, respectively, putting runners on the corners. Duran scored on a one-out single to left by Semien, and Grossman scored when Jankowski followed with a single to center. With the score now 4–3, Gallen escaped further damage when he got Lowe to ground into an inning-ending 4–6–3 double play.

Scott McGough took over for Gallen in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, catcher Jonah Heim singled to right, extending the inning. Duran followed with a 431-foot blast to the Diamondbacks’ bullpen in left-center, giving the Rangers a 5–4 lead. The Rangers scored again in the bottom of the seventh, this time against lefty Kyle Nelson. Left fielder Bubba Thompson led off with a single to center, and Semien followed with a walk. Jankowski bunted them over, bringing up Lowe, who fanned. In came Kevin Ginkel to face right fielder Adolis Garcia, who was batting .385 with three homers with runners in scoring position. A wild pitch allowed Thompson to score as Semien advanced to third. Garcia ultimately walked, but a sliding catch by Thomas on a sinking liner by Jung ended the inning with the score 6–4 Rangers.

Smith Holds Diamondbacks at Bay

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Rangers closer Will Smith entered the game with two outs in the top of the eighth and Fletcher on first. He came in to face Thomas, but Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo countered by using right-handed-hitting Nick Ahmed as a pinch-hitter. Ahmed struck out, retiring the side.

After a 1–2–3 bottom of the eighth by Ginkel and the left-handed Andrew Chafin, Perdomo led off the ninth with an infield single to short. Evan Longoria, who pinch-hit for Rojas in the seventh, put a scare into the Rangers faithful with a warning-track fly to left for the first out. Marte, up next, walked, drawing a mound visit from Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux. Up came Emmanuel Rivera with the tying run on first and one out. His fly to deep left for the second out advanced Perdomo to third and brought up Walker as the Diamondbacks’ last hope. A 2–2 fly into shallow center settled into the glove of Semien, sealing the victory for the Rangers.

Not a Common Sight

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Seeing a 4–1 lead evaporate with Zac Gallen on the mound is an uncommon occurrence. Lovullo said of the event, “It just goes to show you how good he was when he shut teams down outing after outing. It’s pretty impressive, because the big leagues has some good hitters — guys that can do things that we saw the Rangers do today.”

Lovullo’s assessment of Gallen’s outing was that he was “making some pitches” while also making some mistakes. The Rangers “kept chipping away.” Lovullo continued, “I don’t think they went for the kill shots. And I know he’s a little bit frustrated after the outing, but he did his job. He gave us five innings, fought hard, and we were winning the game when he left. It’s a little atypical of what he’s been doing for us, but he’s human. And that’s what happens.”

A Mental Clunker

Only two of the seven hits Gallen gave up went for extra bases. On most nights, that is good enough to win. Gallen said might have been frustrated if he had felt better during the game, but he said he thought it was “not a great night all the way around.” He continued, “There are nights like that. We joke around (by saying) sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. I was riding a hot hand for a little while. And, of course, you’re gonna have clunkers here and there, but my job is to put up as many zeros as possible and pitch in the sixth, seventh, eighth inning. So for me, by my standards, I’m not really pleased with tonight.”

Many pitchers in the modern game would be pleased if they left the game with a 4–3 lead after five innings. When asked about that, Gallen clarified through a grin, “I haven’t given up a ruin 28 innings, so yeah, a little bit of a clunker. But I meant more so a clunker mentally. I was having trouble locking it in. Caught myself looking at the card a lot. That’s a good lineup. We were trying to find holes, but I wasn’t winning the first three pitches a lot. I really couldn’t get into a flow.”

He summed it up with, “I think I’m at my best when I’m in the flow of the game, throwing any pitch in any count. With a lack of command, that narrows down certain pitches. That’s what I would characterize it as.”

Quick Hits

This was the sixth come-from-behind win for the Rangers in the 2023 season thus far. … Their 18–11 record is its best 29-game start since 2013, when they also started 18–11. … Their +74 run differential (184–110) is a Washington–Texas franchise record for the first 29 games of the season. The 184 runs scored are their third-most ever in the first 29 games behind 1998 (193 runs) and 1996 (187 runs). … Marte has reached base safely in seven consecutive road games and has homered in two of his last three games. … Walker, who went 2-for-5 with a homer and an RBI, is now batting .340 (16-for-47) in his last 12 games with four doubles, three homers, and 11 RBI. Three of his last four games have been multi-hit efforts.

Looking Ahead

Brock Burke (2–0) earned the win in relief while McGough (0–3) took the blown save-loss combo. Smith notched his fourth save of the season, doing so in four-out fashion. The Diamondbacks (16–14, second in NL West at press time) and Rangers (18–11, first in AL West) wrap up their two-game mini-series Wednesday afternoon. Rangers left-hander Andrew Heaney (2–2, 4.38 ERA) will toe the rubber against Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon Pfaadt, who will be making his major league debut. First pitch will be at 1:05 pm Central/11:05 am Arizona Time.

More Coverage:

Rangers Squeeze Out Win over Diamondbacks, by Rangers Beat Writer Nate Miller

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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