Rangers Sting Rays in Middle Game

Rangers Rays
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Rangers 5, Rays 3

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Jul 18) — The Texas Rangers stretched their winning streak to five as they beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5–3, on Tuesday night. Home runs by Marcus Semien and Corey Seager went a long way in helping decide the outcome in this one. The Rangers will have the chance to complete their second consecutive sweep on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. The Rays have yet to announce their starting pitcher for that game, while right-hander Jon Gray (6–5, 3.45 ERA) will get the ball for the Rangers.

A Pair of Career Milestones

Tuesday’s game was the precise definition of a pitchers duel. Neither team scored until the third inning. In the bottom of the third, Semien stepped up to the plate and sent the first pitch of the at-bat to the seats in left. This may look like an ordinary home run in the box score, but it was in fact the 199th long ball of Semien’s 10-year major league career. The Rangers added on in the bottom of the sixth. Shortly after a single to center by Nathaniel Lowe, Travis Jankowski made it 2–0 with a double to right. This was a special at-bat for Jankowski as well. It marked the 300th hit of his eight-year career in the major leagues.

The Rays, meanwhile, cut the Rangers’ lead in half in the top of the seventh. Francisco Mejia doubled down the left field line, driving in Josh Lowe. The lead was now too close for comfort for the Rangers. That was until Seager decided to do something about it. In the bottom of the seventh, with Semien and Leody Taveras on base after a walk and a single, Seager launched his 14th home run of the year to give the Rangers a 5–1 lead. In Seager’s eyes, it must have felt like poetic justice. Prior to his at-bat in the seventh, Seager struck out in his previous three at-bats. The Rays made things interesting in the top of the eighth. Randy Arozarena homered to left to bring the Rays to within three runs. Two batters later, Brandon Lowe followed suit with another solo shot. This one went to right-center.

Eovaldi Goes Six Innings

Nathan Eovaldi got the start for the Rangers on Tuesday. He earned his team-high 11th win of the season. His final line was 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 93 pitches/56 strikes. Eovaldi is now tied with the Rays’ Shane McClanahan for the AL lead in wins. Tuesday’s outing was his sixth scoreless outing of at least 6 innings in 2023, which is good for the second-most such starts ever by a Senator/Ranger in a single season behind Yu Darvish, who had seven in 2013. Eovaldi has logged an AL-leading 123 2/3 innings this season. It is the most frames covered by a Rangers pitcher in their first 19 starts of a campaign since Darvish in 2014 (126 1/3 IP).

Following Tuesday’s outing, Eovaldi is now 11–3 with a 2.69 ERA in 2023. He becomes the second Rangers starting pitcher in franchise history with 11+ wins and a sub-2.70 ERA thru his first 19 starts of a season. The last to do it was Rick Honeycutt in 1983. He went 11–6 with a 2.20 ERA. Jose Leclerc gave up the Rays’ first run, and Grant Anderson gave up the other two. Will Smith got the save, his 17th of the year. Rookie Rays’ starter Taj Bradley had nine strikeouts in this one. He allowed two runs through five innings. He also scattered five hits, walked two, and struck out nine. Bradley has lost each of his last three and six of his last eight decisions since opening his career with a 3–0 record. The Rangers’ other three runs were given up by righty Javy Guerra.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy sang praises like a proud father after the game in regards to Eovaldi. He said, “He did such a great job. Sometimes, you don’t have your best fastball. Nate’s fastball was good, but it wasn’t quite as good as we’ve seen this year. But, he got through six, and did such a tremendous job for us. He mixed it up well, and it was just a great job by him overall. Bochy was also asked about the contribution of Marcus Semien in this one. “He’s a tremendous player, and he’s definitely in midseason form. He’s been such a catalyst, and a great hitter too. All of these guys have been great, and Marcus has been a big part of that.”

 

 

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