Rangers Even Series with Athletics

Rangers Athletics
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Rangers 3, Athletics 2

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Sep 9) – The Texas Rangers got a boost on Friday as they evened their series with the Oakland Athletics, winning 3–2. RBI singles by Nathaniel Lowe and Leody Taveras were the difference makers in this one. The Rangers needed this win badly, as it snaps their four-game skid. They’ll have a chance to get the series victory on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 pm Central. Right-hander Luis Medina (3–8, 5.46 ERA) will take the hill for the Athletics. Righty Jon Gray (8–7, 3.85) will get the ball for the Rangers.

Low Scoring Affair

The crowd of 34,166 waited anxiously for five and a half innings for something to happen on Saturday. They got their wish in the bottom of the sixth. With one out in the frame, Athletics reliever Kyle Muller walked Robbie Grossman. Mitch Garver followed that up with a single to center putting two runners on. On deck was Lowe, who promptly drove in Grossman with a single of his own to center.

Two batters later, the Rangers extended their lead to 2–0 on another single to center. This one came off the bat of Taveras to plate Garver. This was not the only highlight provided by Taveras in this one, as he robbed Seth Brown of a solo home run in center with a great catch at the wall to keep the game in a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth. Martin Perez was on the mound at the time for the Rangers.

A Win is a Win

The Athletics tied it 2–2 in the top of the seventh off Rangers reliever Chris Stratton. Tony Kemp led off the frame with a walk. Later in the inning, he stole second on a called third strike to Ryan Noda. Up next was Zack Gelof who teed off on a fastball from Stratton, sending it to the seats in left for a two-run shot. The Rangers regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Grossman, Garver, and Lowe all drew walks off reliever Lucas Erceg. This led Athletics manager Mark Kotsay to bring in Francisco Perez from the bullpen. Perez immediately threw a wild pitch to Jonathan Ornelas, who was in the midst of his first major league at-bat. This allowed Grossman to score from third. Moments later, Ornelas lined out to right to end the inning.

Eovaldi Easing Back into Things

Rangers right-hander Nathan Eovaldi made his second start since coming off a six-week stint on the Injured List. He logged 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Eovaldi took a no-decision for his effort. His record sits at 11–4 with an ERA of 2.90. His line on the evening was 2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 47 pitches/27 strikes. This start came on three days rest for Eovaldi. His previous start was on Tuesday against the Astros in which he took the loss. Will Smith got the win on Friday, bringing his record to 2–5 with an ERA of 3.76. Aroldis Chapman got the save for the Rangers in this contest, his fifth of the season.

On the other side, Athletics starter Sean Newcomb also took a no-decision, despite tossing four scoreless innings. It was the third scoreless road start by an Athletics pitcher since the All-Star break. The others are Paul Blackburn and Tayler Scott. Erceg took the loss. His record now sits at 3–4 with an ERA of 5.55.

Postgame Comments

A more relaxed Bruce Bochy gave his thoughts on the win after game. “For these guys, I’m sure it’s a sense of relief,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “When you get in a rut like this you take it any way you can. We did have a couple of big hits. Nate (Nathaniel Lowe) had a big hit to give us a two-run lead. (Chris) Stratton was throwing the ball well. There was just that one pitch that got away from him, but it’s important that we bounced back. Smitty (Will Smith) did a great job for us too. Of course, you have to give credit to Martin Perez. You look at what he did to get us out of that jam. The pitching was there, and again, you take wins any way that you can get them.”

Eovaldi also held court with reporters after the game, and reflected on his start. He said, “I felt a lot more comfortable in this start. I have a plan of attack, but just making sure that I’m executing out there is key. It’s one thing to throw well in your bullpen sessions, but you’ve got to successfully transfer that to the mound when that gate opens for you and (PA Announcer) Chuck Morgan introduces you.”

 

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