Rangers Cruise to Win over Astros

Rangers Astros
(Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rangers 5, Astros 2

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Jul 1) — The Texas Rangers took the second game in their four-game set against the Houston Astros on Saturday, 5–2. The Rangers played small ball as RBI base hits by Corey Seager, Travis Jankowski, and Marcus Semien secured the win. This was a big victory for the Rangers. Not only did it increase their lead over the Astros in the AL West to five games, but it was also their 50th win of the year. By comparison, it took until August 13 for the 2022 Rangers to win their 50th game. Their record now stands at 50–33. The third game of this series is Sunday afternoon at 1:35 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Right-hander Shawn Dubin (0–0, 10.80 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros. Meanwhile, lefty Andrew Heaney (5–5, 4.38 ERA) will start for the Rangers.

Sluggish Start for Both Teams

Neither team came bursting out of the gate on Saturday. By the third inning, the sellout crowd of 40,380 grew increasingly restless as the game was still scoreless. Seager put a stop to that, however, when he drove in Leody Taveras with a single to center in the bottom of the third. This put the Rangers ahead 1–0. It wasn’t the hardest ball hit by Seager this year, but it got the job done. The Rangers stretched their lead to 2–0 in the bottom of the fourth, as Jonah Heim scored on a single to left by Jankowski. Later in the frame, Semien plated Jankowski, who stole second shortly after his single, with a base hit to left.

A double to left-center by Josh Jung brought Adolis Garcia home in the bottom of the seventh to make it 4–0 Rangers. The Rangers scored their fifth and final run in the bottom of the eighth. Taveras scored on a sacrifice fly by Nathaniel Lowe that went to center. Just when it looked as if the Rangers had locked in the shutout, the Astros made things interesting. A two-out, two-run home run to right by Kyle Tucker in the top of the ninth made it 5–2. Righty Joe Barlow gave up that homer, thus making it a save situation for Will Smith. Smith came in from the bullpen, got the final out, and earned his 15th save of the year on one pitch. He got Jose Abreu to ground to second on that pitch to end the game.

Seven Strong Innings for Eovaldi

Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi earned his team-leading 10th win of the season after tossing seven scoreless frames. Eovaldi’s line in this one was 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K, 97 pitches/58 strikes. He is only the second Rangers pitcher since 2013 with 10 or more wins prior to the All-Star Break, joining Lance Lynn, who went 11–4 in 2019. This is the third double-digit win season of Eovaldi’s career. He had 14 wins in 2015 with the New York Yankees and 11 wins in 2021 with the Boston Red Sox.

Eovaldi is 9–1, with a 2.05 ERA with 87 strikeouts, 24 walks over his last 14 starts. He becomes the first Rangers pitcher to post nine or more wins and an ERA of 2.05 or lower over a 14-start span since Kenny Rogers from April 6 to June 17, 2005. He went 9–2, with a 1.98 ERA during that stretch. Astros starter Hunter Brown posted the shortest start of his career, taking his fifth loss. His line was 4 IP, 10 H, 3 R-ER. He allowed a career-high 10 hits but didn’t issue any walks. The last two runs that the Rangers scored were given up by Ryne Stanek and Rafael Montero.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy had plenty to say about Eovaldi’s day after the game. “I think you start with the stuff,” Bochy said of Eovaldi’s success. “He’s got a good fastball, big fastball, and then the cutter and curveball and splitter. He’s got the four-pitch mix. He’ll go to both sides of the plate. He’s got a game plan when he goes out there. But I think you have to look at the man himself. He’s just a tough competitor. He’s been through a lot of battles, not just during the season but postseason. It’s all the little things you like from a pitcher.”

Nathan Eovaldi also reflected on his start after the game. “Looking back at it, I feel like a lot of times I get too predictable out there,” he said. “Being able to rely on my splitter, my cutter, the curveball when I’m behind in counts to help me get back ahead in the count or just in the at-bat, I think that’s helped me out a lot.” Eovaldi was also asked about potentially being named the starting pitcher for the AL in the upcoming All-Star Game.“I mean it’d be a huge honor to be able to go out there,” Eovaldi said. “We’ve got four of our guys starting in the game. They’ve done an outstanding job this season, and all four of them had a great game today. To be able to go out there, and not only to be able to represent the Rangers but to be able to play alongside those guys would be a huge honor.”


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