Tigers Edge Rangers in Series Opener

Rangers Tigers
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Tigers 2, Rangers 1

ARLINGTON, Tex. (June 3) — The Texas Rangers fell to the Detroit Tigers, 2–1, on Monday evening in the opener of a three-game set. The Tigers used a two-homer night by Jake Rogers to barely get past the defending World Champions. The Rangers will try to force a rubber game on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Right-hander Jack Flaherty (2–4, 3.46 ERA) will get the ball for the Tigers, and the Rangers will counter with righty Dane Dunning (4–3, 3.94 ERA).

Lead Off, Teed Off

The Rangers shot off some fireworks in the top of the first off Tigers lefty Tarik Skubal. Fans were still filing into their seats when Marcus Semien blasted one to left for his 10th homer of the year. It was the fourth time this season that Semien has led off the first with a home run, and it was the 28th leadoff dinger of his career. The Tigers knotted things up in the top of the third off Rangers righty Nathan Eovaldi. A solo shot to left by Rogers got the Tigers in the run column.

As previously mentioned, Semien’s homer came from the leadoff spot in the Rangers’ lineup. Rogers’ blast, however, came from the ninth spot in the Tigers’ lineup. Rogers wasn’t finished, however. He hit his second home run in the top of the eighth off reliever Jose Leclerc. This gave the Tigers a late 2–1 lead. It was the third multi-homer game of Rogers’ career.

What Went Right for the Tigers

It is a shot in the arm for your team whenever your catcher has a multi-homer game. That was the case for the Tigers and for Rogers on Monday. What stood out even more was that their pitching staff held the Rangers’ offense to one run on their turf. Keep in mind that this is a team that is starting to come back to life. It has been a gradual process, but the Rangers are showing signs of life as they have won four out of their last six games.

What Went Wrong for the Tigers

Skubal gave up the leadoff homer to Semien in the first, and from there it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Tigers. They were able to stop the boat from rocking and held on to squeak out the win.

Tough Luck for Eovaldi

Nathan Eovaldi took a no-decision after allowing one earned run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings. Monday was his second start since returning from the Injured List. In those two starts, he has a record of 0–0 with an ERA of 3.12, no walks, nine strikeouts, and a WHIP of 0.923. Eovaldi has allowed one or zero runs in three of his last four starts dating to before his IL stint.

He threw 71 pitches/55 strikes for a strike pct. of 77.5%. It is the third-highest strike percentage for any regular season start in Eovaldi’s career, ranking behind two starts with the Boston Red Sox on July 24, 2021 against the New York Yankees (82.0%) and April 25, 2022 against the Toronto Blue Jays (77.8%).

After surrendering Rogers’ second home run, Leclerc was was saddled with the loss for the Rangers. He now owns a record of 3–4 and an ERA of 4.88.

Skubal’s Evening

Tarik Skubal did not factor into the decision after allowing a lone run in six innings. His final line was 7 H, 1 R-ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 96 pitches/65 strikes. Skubal has tossed a minimum of five frames in all 12 of his starts, translating into 73 innings.

The only run Skubal allowed came on the leadoff shot by Semien. Monday marks the eighth leadoff homer that Skubal has surrendered in his career, most among active Tigers pitchers. He escaped multiple jams unscathed, including one in the third with runners on first and third and one out and another in the sixth with runners on the corners and no outs. He stranded seven runners.

Righty Beau Brieske earned his first win of the season, covering the seventh through ninth frames and allowing no runs in that stretch, signifying the longest relief appearance of his career.

Postgame Comments

Filling in for Rangers manager Bruce Bochy on Tuesday was Associate Manager Will Venable. Bochy had a scheduled day off to tend to some personal matters. He will be back at the helm at some point this week. When asked how his managerial debut went, Venable chuckled and said, “Not good. It was a tough one. The guys were battling out there, and we just ran up against a catcher that put some good swings on it, and we just had a couple of missed opportunities offensively. That’s a tough fluke. I don’t know how to explain it. I wish it didn’t happen.”

Eovaldi was also asked for his thoughts on Rogers’ night. “I was thinking about that too when we were walking in,” Eovaldi said. “With (Shea) Langeliers and (Travis) d’Arnaud and Rogers now, it’s tough. It’s one of those situations where we can’t let those guys beat us up right there. I felt like I had a few more options, a few better options, pitch-wise, that I could have gone with right there in that situation, and I ended up hanging the curveball, and he was able to get enough of it to hit it out. Regardless of who it is in the lineup, you got to make sure that you’re executing those pitches.”


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