Rangers Grind Out Series Finale against Blue Jays

Rangers Blue Jays
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Rangers 11, Blue Jays 7

ARLINGTON, Tex. (June 18) — The Texas Rangers got a very satisfying win over the Toronto Blue Jays by a final score of 11–7 on Sunday afternoon. The offense as a whole came together to win this one, but home runs by Jonah Heim and Leody Taveras were the key factors on Sunday. The Rangers took two out of three from the Blue Jays, thus winning the series and ending their seven-game homestand on a high note. From here, the Rangers embark on a six-game road trip. They’ll start in the Windy City for three against the Chicago White Sox. Then they’ll head to the Big Apple for three against the New York Yankees. The White Sox series will start on Monday at 7:10 pm Central. Both teams have yet to announce their starting pitchers.

Back and Forth Afternoon

The Blue Jays’ offense struck first on Sunday. In the top of the first, Daulton Varsho hit a sacrifice fly to center. George Springer was able to score on the play. In the top of the second, Whit Merrifield lined a single to right that brought home Santiago Espinal and Spencer Horwitz. Springer drew a walk, and Horwitz reached on a single earlier in the frame for his first major league hit. The next batter was Bo Bichette, who plated Springer and Merrifield with a sharp double to right. Rangers fans had barely gotten over the shock of the five-run outburst when Varsho scored on a groundout by Horwitz to stretch the lead to 6–0 in the top of the third.

The Rangers’ bats didn’t stay silent for long. In the bottom of the third, Josh Jung drove in Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia with a single to center. They cut the Blue Jays’ lead to 6–4 in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Corey Seager, who doubled on a sharp line drive to right. Ezequiel Duran and Taveras scored on the play. Two batters later, Garcia brought Seager home with a single to left the cut the lead to 6–5. Thriving on the momentum, the Rangers tied it 6–6 in the bottom of the fifth on a solo homer to right by Heim. It was his second in as many days.

Rangers Break the Tie

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Later in the fifth, Taveras gave the Rangers a 7–6 lead. He singled to center, plating Mitch Garver, who walked earlier in the inning. On deck was Marcus Semien, who quickly brought in Duran with a sacrifice fly to make it 8–6 Rangers.

The Blue Jays made it 8–7 in the top of the sixth. Kevin Kiermaier raced home on an infield single to second by Springer. Fast forward to the bottom of the seventh, when the Rangers extended their lead to 10–7 on a two-run shot to right-center by Taveras. Two batters later, Seager plated Semien with a single to right. Semien got on base with a double to left just prior to Seager’s at-bat. For the fans, it was a welcome sight for the Rangers’ offense to awaken in the series finale.

Short Afternoon for Gray

Rangers righty Jon Gray made his 13th start of the season on Sunday and took a no-decision. His final line was 2 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R/ER, 3 BB, 2 K, HBP, 56 pitches/34 strikes. Sunday’s outing marked his second-shortest start of the season, behind only a outing on April 15 against the Houston Astros where he exited after two innings after being struck by a come-backer. Gray was scratched from his last scheduled start on June 13 due to a blister on his pitching hand.

Lefty John King came on in relief in the top of the third. Over 3 1/3 innings, King allowed one run that was earned. He walked two, struck out two, and got the win for the Rangers. He is now 1–0 on the year with an ERA of 4.15. There was no save recorded. Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt made his 15th start of the season and also took a no-decision. Over 3 2/3 innings, his final line was 7 H, 5 R/3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 73 pitches/46 strikes. Nate Pearson came on in relief of Bassitt in the fourth. He pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up three runs, all earned, on three hits. He walked one and gave up one home run. The Rangers’ final three runs were given up by Adam Cimber in the seventh.

Postgame Comments

After the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy commented on how they were able produce in this one. He said, “The entire club just did a great job. I feel like this was one of our better wins since Opening Day. Once again, the story was the bullpen. John King came came in, settled things down, and gave us a chance to come back. Jon (Gray) wasn’t quite there like he usually is. He was out of sync a little bit. When you get behind like that, you need the ‘pen to step up.” Bochy was asked how important John King was to the team for the next series. He replied with, “He’s the long man of our staff, and you need your long man to eat up innings for you, and that’s what we’re going to need, especially when we get to Chicago.”

Rangers starter Jon Gray also met with reporters after the game. The first question he fielded was how he felt on Sunday coming off the recent blister that he dealt with. He said, “Not great. It was a mess, but it had nothing to do with the blister. That has been taken care of. I just didn’t feel good out there at all. One thing I can tell you is that it was mental. Physically, I felt fine. I just tried to do way too much today.” Gray also expressed gratitude that his team came back and salvaged his day. With a warm smile, he said, “I feel really lucky. It’s great having those guys. The defense is incredible. We’re a very dangerous team at the plate, and we showed it today.”

 

 

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