Rangers Beat Athletics in Middle Game

Rangers Athletics
(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Rangers 6, Athletics 2

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Apr 10) — The Texas Rangers evened their three-game series with the Oakland Athletics, beating them, 6–2, on Wednesday evening. RBI hits by Josh H. Smith, Adolis Garcia, and Evan Carter helped shut the door on the Athletics. They’ll try for the series win in the finale on Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 pm Central. The Athletics will send left-hander JP Sears (0–1, 8.68 ERA) to the mound, and the Rangers will counter with righty Jon Gray (0–0, 6.14 ERA).

Smith and Heim Come Through

The Athletics took an early 1–0 lead in the top of the first off Rangers starter Cody Bradford. Abraham Toro led off the game with a single to right. He later advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by third baseman Josh H. Smith that allowed J.D. Davis to reach base. Toro scored two batters later thanks to a single to right by Tyler Nevin.

The Rangers quickly tied it in the bottom of the first. Athletics starter Ross Stripling gave up a double to right to Carter and a free pass to Garcia. Moments later, Smith brought Carter home with a single to right. A wild pitch by Stripling to Jonah Heim allowed Smith to go to second. Heim lined a single to left, scoring both Garcia and Smith in the process to give the Rangers a 3–1 lead.

Fast-forward to the bottom of the fourth. Stripling gave up his second walk of the evening, this time to Jared Walsh. Travis Jankowski moved him to second on a soft bunt single that went back to Stripling. After Leody Taveras struck out swinging, Marcus Semien plated Walsh with a double to left. Up next was Corey Seager, who was given an intentional walk. He quickly moved to second on a fielder’s choice grounded into by Carter. That brought Garcia back to the dish, who finds ways to drive in runs even when he’s not launching unsuspecting pitches over the wall. This time, he plated Seager and Carter with a single to right.

The Athletics inched closer in the top of the eighth off Rangers reliever Yerry Rodriguez. A leadoff home run to right-center by Zack Gelof slightly diminished the Rangers’ lead to 6–2.

What Went Right for the Rangers

The Rangers were able to put together a comfortable lead against the Athletics on Wednesday. Home runs are the big thing that people pay attention to, but there are nights when they aren’t in the cards for a team. That was the case for the Rangers, but they didn’t need them. They had plenty of RBI hits that did the job just as well as the long ball can. They also got a very nice performance from their pitching staff.

What Went Wrong for the Rangers

The Rangers have gotten into the habit of giving up early leads and Wednesday was no different. Bradford surrendered the RBI single to Nevin, and everybody flinched. There was also the home run off the bat of Gelof, but the Rangers were able to hose down the flickering flame of offense that the Athletics started to ignite.

Bradford Exchange

Rangers starter Cody Bradford had a good night on Wednesday. In exchange for his effort, he was rewarded with his third win of the season. He is now 3–0 with an ERA of 1.40. His final line was 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R-0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 94 pitches/62 strikes. Bradford has authored back-to-back quality starts. The lone run he allowed was unearned due to the throwing error by Smith in the top of the first. According to Stathead, Bradford is the third pitcher in franchise history to go 3–0 with an ERA figure of 1.40 or lower in his first three starts of a campaign, joining Matt Harrison in 2011 (3–0, 1.23 ERA) and Tom Cheney in 1963 (3–0, 0.00) during the Washington Senators days.

For the Athletics, Stripling shouldered his third loss of the season Wednesday after tying career highs in earned runs (6) and hits (11) over six innings. It marked the first 6+ inning start with at least six earned runs and 11 hits by an Athletic since Sonny Gray on 5/3/16 (7 IP, 7 ER, 11 H). Stripling became the third A’s pitcher in the last six seasons to lose each of his first three starts of a season. Since the beginning of 2023, the right-hander has gone 0–8 with a 5.17 ERA. His eight losses without a victory since the beginning of 2023 are the most in the majors in that span.

2,100 for Bochy

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy earned his 2,100th career managerial win in this one, improving his all-time regular season record to 2,100-2,106 (.499) over 4,206 games. He is the 10th skipper in major league history to record 2,100+ career wins, joining a list that includes eight current Hall of Famers and Dusty Baker (2,183 wins), who retired at the end of the 2023 campaign.

Postgame Comments

Bochy wasn’t even aware of his milestone until Emily Jones of Bally Sports Southwest congratulated him for it to begin his postgame press conference. “I had no idea, it just seemed like another day for me and this team, but I appreciate you saying that.” On the game itself, he said, “It was a well played game. It started with (Cody) Bradford. Another great start. He was terrific, wasn’t he? Good stuff, the command was there and all four pitches were working well for him. He ran out of gas there at the end, but he was getting up there in pitches. What a nice job he did, and we had some big hits. A nice two-out rally in the first inning. The start by (Evan) Carter and Smitty (Josh Smith) got a big two-out hit. So, a lot of good things came together for us.”

Bradford also gave his thoughts on the evening. On Tuesday, Athletics catcher Shea Langeliers homered three times in the game and Bradford struck out his Baylor teammate twice on Wednesday. “We had a good gameplan for Shea today, wanted to mix things up,” Bradford said. “Got a little help from Jonah’s framing abilities on a couple of at-bats there.”

 

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