Rangers Steal Series Opener from Diamondbacks

Rangers Diamondbacks
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Rangers 4, Diamondbacks 2

ARLINGTON, Tex. (May 28) — The Texas Rangers used a three-run homer by Corey Seager to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4–2, on Tuesday evening. It runs their winning streak to two, and it puts them within three games of .500 at 26–29. Tuesday also marked the first time they have won back-to-back contests since May 6–7 against the Oakland Athletics. Their pitching staff chipped in with the win in this short two-game rematch of the 2023 World Series. The Rangers will have a chance to sweep the abbreviated series on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:35 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Right-hander Ryne Nelson (3–3, 6.03 ERA) will take the hill for the Diamondbacks, and fellow righty Dane Dunning (3–3, 4.43 ERA) will toe the slab for the Rangers.

Seager Makes it a Dozen

The Diamondbacks took a 1–0 lead in the top of the second off Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi. Pavin Smith scored Christian Walker with a double to left. Smith reached on a double to center to lead off the frame. On deck was Jake McCarthy, who lined a single to center. On the first pitch to Eugenio Suarez, McCarthy stole second. Meanwhile, Suarez drove in Smith with a sacrifice fly to foul territory behind the first base bag. The Rangers cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third with Brandon Pfaadt on the mound for the Diamondbacks. After a leadoff groundout to the mound by Jonah Heim, Travis Jankowski reached on a double to left. Pfaadt struck out Marcus Semien before he intentionally walked Seager, who is now tied with Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies and Josh Naylor of the Cleveland Guardians for the major league lead in intentional walks, with six. Moments later, Jankowski scored the 200th run of his career on a single to center by Josh Smith.

The Rangers took a two-run lead in the fifth. Heim led off the frame with a single to left. Jankowski followed suit with his own single to left. Semien reached first on a force out at second that sent Jankowski back to the bench. That brought up Seager for his third plate appearance  of the evening. Seager sent the first pitch he saw over the wall in right for his twelfth dinger of the year, making it 4–2 Rangers and completing the scoring on the evening.

What Went Right for the Rangers

The Rangers are slowly digging themselves out of the slump that they have been in since early May. As previously mentioned, teams are starting to have trouble pitching to Seager once again. When he hit his homer on Tuesday, there was an audible sigh of relief amongst the sellout crowd of 37,977.

Lefty Andrew Heaney tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings to relieve Eovaldi, who is fresh off the Injured List after he suffered a right groin strain that took him out of a start against the Washington Nationals on May 2.

What Went Wrong for the Rangers

The only roadblock the Rangers encountered on Tuesday came in the two-run second inning that the Diamondbacks had. Considering the stretch the Rangers have been on, there was a sense of uneasiness in the building. Fortunately for the mental state of the fans, the Rangers ultimately set things right.

Rehab Start for Eovaldi…in Arlington

Nathan Eovaldi was activated from the 15-day Injured List prior to Tuesday’s game. He made his eighth start of the season, taking a no-decision. His final line was 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R-ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 37 pitches/27 strikes). Tuesday marked his first game since a start on May 2, as he did not complete a rehab assignment after being placed on the IL on May 3. Eovaldi retired the first three batters faced before surrendering three straight hits to open the top of the second. He topped out at a season-high 98.2 mph on his four-seam fastball (Statcast), his highest max pitch velocity reached since July 1, 2023 against the Houston Astros (99.1 mph).

After chipping in relief, Heaney got the win, pitching 2/3 scoreless frames in which he gave up two hits, one walk, and struck out one. His outing brings his record to 1–6 with an ERA of 4.47.

After pitching a scoreless ninth in which he surrendered one hit, walked one, and struck out two, closer Kirby Yates earned his eighth save of the season. 

Back Where it All Started

Brandon Pfaadt took the loss on Tuesday in the same ballpark that he made his major league debut in on May 3, 2023. He gave up four runs, all earned, over seven innings. His record for 2024 now sits at 2–4 with an ERA of 4.16. Pfaadt tossed two scoreless frames Tuesday before the Rangers got on the board via the Smith RBI single in the third. The bulk of the damage done against Pfaadt came on Seager’s three-run shot in the fifth. Pfaadt has pitched six-plus innings in each of his last six starts (beg. 4/28), the longest streak of his career and longest by a Diamondback since Zac Gallen from 7/20-8/22/23.

Postgame Comments

Taking his usual seat in the interview room after the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy spoke about the satisfying victory. “It’s good to do this, we haven’t done it in a while and it was a well-played game,” Bochy remarked. “It’s great to see Nate (Eovaldi) out there. The stuff was good, three innings, that’s a good start for him. And the bullpen, what a terrific job they did. A lot of good things, of course. We had a couple bloops and a blast, and then there’s the difference in the ballgame.” Bochy also noted they were confident in the plan to have Heaney piggyback off Eovaldi, especially because he has experience coming out of the bullpen. The lefty was more than happy to follow the plan set out in front of him.

Eovaldi himself gave his thoughts on the plan to give him the start on Tuesday. “Baseball is stupid,” he said with a laugh. “Today was my regular start day, so nothing really changed for me. Today, I was pretty prepared. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to come in with a clean inning or anything, so I just tried to do the best I can. … I don’t really care. I’ve got no ego. Ultimately I understand how things work and you’re going to go out there and just try and get outs. As long as they’re telling me I get to keep pitching, I’m happy about that.”



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