Rangers Take Sting Away from Rays on Wild Night

Rangers Rays
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Rangers 3, Rays 2

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Jul 17) — The Texas Rangers capitalized on a wild pitch to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3–2, on Monday night. Ezequiel Duran also chipped in with a game-tying home run to help lead the Rangers to their fourth victory in a row. The second game in this three-game series is on Tuesday evening at 7:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Right-hander Taj Bradley (5–5, 5.43 ERA) will start for the Rays (60–37). The Rangers (56–39) will send Nathan Eovaldi (10–3, 2.83 ERA) to the mound in the middle game.

Lowe Goes Deep

The Rays scored early in the top of the first. Yandy Diaz sprinted home on a sacrifice fly to center by Randy Arozarena. The score remained 1–0 until the top of the second, when the Rays made it 2–0 shortly after the inning started. Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe could do nothing but watch as his brother Josh Lowe launched a solo shot over the wall in center. From what this writer has seen, it’s a never-ending friendly competition whenever the two of them are in the same ballpark, and fans have come to enjoy it.

Where the Wild Things Are

The Rangers tied it 2–2 in the bottom of the sixth. After an infield single by Robbie Grossman, Duran hit his 13th home run of the year to right-center. It was one of many moments where sound had feel this year at Globe Life Field. By this point, a noticeable buzz made its way throughout the ballpark. The biggest, and rather unconventional, play of the game came in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Josh Jung led off the inning with a double to the left-center-field gap. Jung was then lifted for a pinch runner in the person of Josh H. Smith, who advanced to third on a grounder to second by Lowe. That brought up Mitch Garver. Instead of a thrilling walk-off homer or a big hit from the middle of the order, the Rangers won on a walk-off wild pitch. Pete Fairbanks‘ 100 mph four-seamer hit the backstop, and sent Smith home to a pile of jubilance formed by his teammates behind the plate. It was another deeply satisfying win for the Rangers.

Another Strong Start for Dunning

In a recent pattern at Globe Life Field, Rangers righty Dane Dunning took a no-decision on Monday. Dunning tossed his third ultra-quality start (7+ IP, 2 or fewer ER) of the season in his first outing since the All-Star Break. His line on the evening was 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R-ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 96 pitches/58 strikes. Dunning has logged at least seven innings in three of his last five starts, and has completed five-plus innings in each of his 13 starts in 2023.

Aroldis Chapman earned his first win as a Ranger. He is now 5–2 on the year with an ERA of 2.04. He struck out the side in the top of the ninth, twice reaching 102.8 mph on his sinker. That marks the highest pitch velocity ever produced by a Rangers pitcher in the Statcast Era, breaking the previous record of 102.5 mph which he set on Saturday against the Cleveland Guardians.

Rays starter Shane McClanahan was activated from the 15-day Injured List before Monday’s game and made his 18th start of the season. He did not factor into the decision despite posting his 12th quality start of the campaign. His line was 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R-ER, 6 K, 1 HR, 69 pitches/52 strikes. McClanahan retired 14 consecutive batters after allowing a leadoff hit to Marcus Semien in the first. He has thrown fewer than 69 pitches in three straight starts, as Monday marked his first outing of at least six innings pitched in over a month. The losing decision went to Fairbanks, who is now 0–3 on the year with an ERA of 1.89. He came on in the ninth and recorded two outs before uncorking the wild pitch.

Postgame Comments

It was another happy interview room after the game as Rangers manager Bruce Bochy elaborated on the pitching matchup. “You just saw really good pitching on both sides. We all know how good (Shane) McClanahan is. When you face somebody like that, you need your guy to step up, and Dane (Dunning) did that. Early on, he was probably a little amped up when he gave up those two runs. The good thing was that he was on extra rest, and he settled down. He got into a groove, and gave us seven solid innings.”

Bochy was also asked about Duran’s home run. He said, “We’re all so happy for him. He’s done such a great job this year. He’s been in a little bit of a skid recently, but he got a pitch that he could handle. It was a nice glimpse of what he did in the first half, and I have faith that he can keep it up.”

 

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