Rangers Fall to Dodgers in Series Opener

Rangers Dodgers
(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Dodgers 11, Rangers 5

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Jul 21) — The Texas Rangers lost their series opener to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 11–5, on Friday night. Home runs by Nathaniel Lowe and Corey Seager helped the Rangers’ cause, but they weren’t enough to get their seventh straight win. It’s a quick turnaround for the Rangers in this series, as the second game is on Saturday afternoon at 3:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Right-hander Bobby Miller (5–1, 4.25 ERA) will toe the slab for the Dodgers. The Rangers will counter with fellow righty Dane Dunning (8–2, 2.82 ERA) in the middle game.

Back and Forth Affair

The Rangers scored early in the bottom of the first. A two-run home run to left by Nathaniel Lowe gave them a 2–0 lead. The Dodgers tied it in the top of the third on a double to left by Freddie Freeman. Miguel Rojas and Yonny Hernandez were the men on base at that point in the game. Later in the inning, the Dodgers took a 3–2 lead on a sharp single to center by J.D. Martinez that plated Freeman.

The Rangers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Lowe walked and Garcia doubled to left. They both scored on consecutive sacrifice flies by Jonah Heim and Travis Jankowski. Up until Friday, Jankowski had the most plate appearances in a major league career without a sacrifice fly. He now has the most plate appearances with one or fewer sacrifice flies. Sac flies track back to 1954.

The Dodgers knotted it up once again in the top of the fifth on a solo home run to center by Freeman. The Rangers answered back in the bottom of the sixth on Seager’s 15th long ball of the season to take a 5–4 lead. A bases loaded walk to Martinez in the top of the seventh plated catcher Will Smith, tying the game once again. Moments later, the Dodgers took a 6–5 lead when Freeman scored on a force out grounded into by Max Muncy. It became 8–5 on a double to center by Smith that brought Rojas and Mookie Betts home. Smith scored moments later on a single to center by Martinez. The Dodgers went on to score three more runs in the frame. Smith scored on yet another single by Martinez. Their last two runs came on a double to center by Betts that scored Rojas and Muncy.

Tough Night for Heaney

Rangers lefty Andrew Heaney took a no-decision in Friday’s contest. Heaney exited after the fifth with the score level at 4–4. His line on the evening was 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R-ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 72 pitches/44 strikes. He entered the fifth with a 4–3 lead, but surrendered the game-tying solo home run to Freeman with two outs in the frame. Freeman’s blast was only the second dinger Heaney has allowed to a left-handed batter since the beginning of 2022. The former Dodger (2022) has struck out 100 batters in 2023. That is the second-most among Rangers (111 – Nathan Eovaldi), and his sixth career 100+ strikeout season. Newcomer Alex Speas took the loss for the Rangers on Friday. Speas came on in the sixth and surrendered two earned runs on one hit. He also walked three. His record is now 0–1, with an ERA of 10.80.

The Dodgers’ five other runs were given up by Cody Bradford and Grant Anderson. Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin allowed four runs, all earned, on two hits in five innings. He exited with the game tied 4–4 to get the no-decision. Gonsolin walked three, struck out six, and allowed one homer. It was his 15th start in ’23, and the second-most among Dodgers behind Clayton Kershaw, who has 16. Gonsolin has allowed four-plus earned runs in five of his last six starts to spike his season ERA from 1.93 to 3.94. The Rangers’ fifth run was given up by lefty Alex Vesia. Righty Ryan Brasier got the win for the Dodgers after throwing 2/3 of an inning. He only gave up one walk.

Injury Report on Seager

Seager left in the eighth inning of Friday’s game after jamming his thumb sliding into second base on a double. Manager Bruce Bochy said the shortstop is “day to day,” but his X-rays were negative. Seager was 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk against his former team before coming out of the game.

Postgame Comments

One of the things that Bochy focused on in his postgame media session was the bullpen. He said, “They had some good at-bats. It was a tough day for a couple of guys in our bullpen. They’ve been throwing the ball well lately, but it was just an off day for them. We all have those kind of days, so you can’t really be too hard on our guys for having them every now and then as well. Alex (Speas) also had trouble throwing strikes.” Next, Bochy reflected on the offense. “It was a good game until the last three innings. Corey (Seager) got the home run that put us on top, but beyond that we just fell flat.”

Andrew Heaney met with reporters to give his thoughts on his start. He said, “I felt pretty good until the third inning. I gave up a leadoff walk, and a single to the top of the lineup, so that was a tough situation. Obviously, I gave up three runs in the third pretty quick. They had some early swings. I let them take the lead a couple of times, so that’s something I’m frustrated about.”


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