Rangers Fall to Athletics in Series Opener

Rangers Athletics
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Athletics 6, Rangers 3

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Sep 8) — The Texas Rangers fell short in their series opener against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, losing 6–3. Once again, Corey Seager homered but it wasn’t enough to keep his club in control. This loss extends the Rangers’ losing streak to four games as they appeared to be a little sluggish coming off their recent sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros. Now they sit in third place in the AL West, three games behind the Astros. They’re also a game and a half out of the Wild Card race. The Rangers will try to even this three-game set on Saturday evening with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Nathan Eovaldi (11–4, 2.95 ERA) will take the mound for the Rangers as the Athletics have yet to announce their starting pitcher.

Tight Game Throughout

The atmosphere was noticeably different in this game compared to the previous series against the Astros. If you listened closely, you could hear each pitcher toe the rubber over the silent crowd of 28,203. The Athletics got on the board early in the top of the first off Jordan Montgomery. Zack Gelof scored on a 1–3 groundout by Ryan Noda. Gelof doubled sharply to center to reach base earlier in the inning. The Rangers leapfrogged the Athletics to take a 2–1 lead in the bottom of the first.

Marcus Semien led off the inning with a single to left. On deck was Seager, who proceeded to smash a two-run homer to right-center, his 29th of the season. The Athletics tied it up in the top of the second. Nick Allen drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Montgomery. Allen scored moments later thanks to a single to right by Esteury Ruiz.

Athletics Fight Back

Ruiz was thrown out at second by Evan Carter in right. Carter was making his major league debut in this one. The Rangers took a 3–2 lead in the bottom of the fourth off Athletics reliever Easton Lucas. Semien reached on a double to left and advanced to third on a fielding error by Aledmys Diaz. Two batters later, Nathaniel Lowe drove him in with a single to right. The Athletics tied it 3–3 in the top of the fifth on a solo blast to left-center by Ruiz.

They made it 5–3 in the top of the sixth on a two-run home run to center by Shea Langeliers. Kevin Smith reached base with a double to right just before Langeliers’ at-bat. The Athletics extended their lead to 6–3 in the top of the seventh off Rangers reliever Jose Leclerc. Brent Rooker reached on a walk and later scored on a double to center by Noda.

First Day in the Show

As previously mentioned, Evan Carter made his major league debut on Friday. Carter went 1-for-3 with a walk, stolen base, and a fielding assist, becoming the second-youngest United States native to record a hit in his debut as a Ranger at 21 years and 10 days old (Roy Howell at 20-265 on September 9, 1974 against the California Angels). Carter also became the seventh player to make his major league debut with the Rangers this season along with Grant Anderson, Cody Bradford, J.P. Martinez, Jonathan Ornelas, Alex Speas, and Owen White.

Pitching Notes

Montgomery took the loss after he surrendered five runs, all earned, over 5 2/3 innings in his seventh start with the Rangers. His line on the evening was 5 2/3 IP, 8 H, 5 R-ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 2 HR, 88 pitches/59 strikes. That brings his record to 8–11 with an ERA of 3.62. Montgomery has allowed 11 runs combined in his last two starts, after allowing five total runs in his first four starts as a Ranger. He allowed two home runs in a game for the third time this season, first since May 16 against the Milwaukee Brewers (also two homers) as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Blackburn struck out five batters over three innings, as he took a no-decision in his 17th start of the season. His line was 3 IP, 6 H, 2 R-ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR, 87 pitches/43 strikes. Two of three runs Blackburn allowed came on the home run by Seager in the bottom of the first. He labored through a scoreless, 37-pitch second inning in which he permitted a single and issued two walks. Friday’s outing raised his season ERA from 3.81 to 3.88, but he’s still 3–2, with a 2.52 ERA over his last nine starts, which dropped his ERA from 5.48. Devin Sweet got the win for the Athletics, bringing his record to 1–0 with an ERA of 4.50. Trevor May earned his 19th save of the year for the Athletics.

Postgame Comments

After the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy gave his take on Montgomery’s start. He said, “I thought he had pretty good stuff. He just made a couple mistakes. His fastball hit 94, and he had good sink on it. He was sharp with his command in the first inning, but he went to the well too many times with his curveball, and that hurt us a little bit. He also left a couple of changeups a little high in the zone. It was just a tough night for him.”

Bochy was also asked about Carter’s debut. He said, “He had a nice debut. His first time up he had a base hit, and he stole second. He looked like he had a sharp eye at the plate, and that is always a welcome sight. I look forward to seeing what else he can do for us out there.”


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