Rangers Avoid Sweep against Dodgers

Rangers Dodgers
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Rangers 8, Dodgers 4

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Jul 23) — The Texas Rangers avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers by beating them 8–4 Sunday afternoon. RBI base hits by Jonah Heim, Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe, and Josh Jung made all the difference in the series finale. This win ends the Rangers’ current homestand on a high note. They went 7–2 over that nine-game stretch. Starting on Monday, they’ll begin a six-game road trip with a crucial three-game set against the Houston Astros, and then they’ll play three against the San Diego Padres before returning to Arlington. For the opener in Houston, righty Brandon Bielak (5–5, 3.46 ERA) will start for the Astros, and Jon Gray (6–5, 3.31 ERA) will take the mound for the Rangers.

Early Slam for Dodgers

The Dodgers have a knack for scoring while fans are still settling into their seats, and Sunday was no different. In the top of the first, Mookie Betts doubled, Freddie Freeman singled, and Chris Taylor drew a walk. On deck was Max Muncy. Much to the chagrin of Rangers fans, and the delight of the Dodger fans in attendance, Muncy deposited a ball ten rows deep into the seats in right for a grand slam. It was the tenth grand slam for the Dodgers this year, which leads the majors. At this point, there was a healthy mix of triumphant cheering and paralyzing tension amongst the two fanbases.

The Rangers were able to bounce back quickly, however. In the bottom of the first, Heim drove in Travis Jankowski and Lowe with a double to center.

In the bottom of the second, Semien brought the Rangers to within one run on a single to center that plated Brad Miller. Miller drew a walk earlier in the frame. Two batters later, Lowe plated Josh H. Smith with a single to center to tie it 4–4. Moments later, Jung brought Semien home with a single to center to give the Rangers a 5–4 lead.

The Rangers added on in the bottom of the third. Ezequiel Duran and Miller scored on a double to center by Leody Taveras. Duran and Miller both singled prior to Taveras’ at-bat. The Rangers extended their lead to 8–4 on a double to left by Duran that allowed Jonah Heim to score. Heim reached base earlier in the inning via a walk.

Pitching Notes

Rangers lefty Martin Perez earned the win despite allowing the grand slam to Muncy in the first inning. His line on the afternoon was 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R-ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 94 pitches/61 strikes. Perez is the second pitcher in club history to earn a win after surrendering a grand slam in the first inning. He joins Doc Medich in that category. Medich permitted a first-inning slam to Jorge Orta on April 14, 1980 against the Cleveland Indians.

Sunday’s win was also the 63rd of Pérez’s career with the Rangers, breaking a tie with Derek Holland for the second-most wins by a left-handed pitcher in Rangers history, trailing only Kenny Rogers (133). Aroldis Chapman retired three of four batters faced in a scoreless eighth inning. He threw a 103.4-mph sinker for his final pitch of frame, which is the fastest pitch ever thrown by a Ranger in the Statcast Era. Dodgers starter Emmet Sheehan took the first loss in his sixth career start in this one. His line was 3 2/3 IP, 8 H, 8 R-ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 90 pitches/59 strikes. The loss sees Sheehan snap a three-game winning streak, achieved in a span of five starts from June 16 to July 17. There was no save recorded.

Postgame Comments

A visibly relieved Bruce Bochy held court with reporters after the game. Bochy reflected on Perez’ day on the mound by saying, “It was a great job by Martin. It was not an auspicious start, as you saw. For him to regroup and bounce back like that, it really tells you a lot, not only about who he is as a pitcher, but who he is as a man as well. The fact that he went out and shut down a very good team for the next five innings after the grand slam was great for us, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Bochy was then asked about the depth of the lineup without Corey Seager and Adolis Garcia. He said, “You look at the back end of this lineup, and you just can’t help but be impressed. You have Zeke (Ezequiel Duran) and Josh Smith. These are guys that really haven’t played much in the last couple of months, but they did great today.”



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