Rangers Win Low-Scoring Affair against Rays

Rangers Rays
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Rangers 3, Rays 0

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Jul 5) — The Texas Rangers played some small ball on Friday evening, as they beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3–0. Corey Seager chipped in with a two-run double in the third that provided breathing room for the Rangers in the series opener. They will go for the series win in the middle game on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Right-hander Taj Bradley (3–4, 3.42 ERA) will take the hill for the Rays, while the Rangers will counter with lefty Andrew Heaney (3–9, 4.04 ERA).

Quick Flurry of Runs for the Rangers

The game remained scoreless for the first two and a half innings on Friday. The Rangers scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the third off Rays starter Shane Baz. Leody Taveras led the frame off with a single to left. Moments later, he was caught trying to steal second on a terrific throw by Rays catcher Ben Rortvedt. After striking out Derek Hill, Baz gave up back-to-back singles to Jonathan Ornelas and Marcus Semien. On deck was Seager, who plated both runners with a sharp double to center. Nathaniel Lowe then drove Seager in with a single to center.

What Went Right for the Rangers

The Rangers haven’t been able to hit the long ball lately, but they have put up plenty of base hits. That’s exactly what they did on Friday night in front of a crowd of 32,175. Seager’s RBI double did most of the heavy lifting on offense in front of Lowe’s RBI base hit. As an added cherry on top, the Rangers’ bullpen preserved the shutout by starter Michael Lorenzen by tossing four scoreless innings.

What Went Wrong for the Rangers

Even though they were able to keep the Rays in check, the Rangers allowed 11 baserunners on the evening. The fans, however, were very appreciative of the outcome. It just goes to show that a pitching staff can still be dominant when the idea of perfection is a fairytale on most nights.

Five-Walk Night for Lorenzen

Rangers right-hander Michael Lorenzen worked around a season high-tying five walks to toss five scoreless frames in a winning effort. His record is now 5–4 with an ERA of 3.21. His line on the evening was 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 4 K, 90 pitches/50 strikes. Friday was his first scoreless outing since June 1 against the Miami Marlins in which he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless frames. It is the second time in 2024 in which he has logged five-plus scoreless innings despite issuing five-plus walks.

After pitching a spotless ninth inning with two strikeouts, righty Kirby Yates earned his 12th save of the season.

Shaky First Start

Rays starter Shane Baz made his first major league appearance on Friday since July 10, 2022 against the Cincinnati Reds after recovering from season-ending Tommy John surgery. The 25-year-old right-hander fired 2 2/3 scoreless frames before surrendering three runs, all earned, on four hits in the third. His final line was 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R-ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 92 pitches/59 strikes. With six strikeouts, Baz has fanned five-plus batters in seven of his 10 career starts.

Despite the loss, the No. 96 overall prospect (Baseball America) tossed his third career quality start. His record now sits at 0–1 with an ERA of 4.50.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy appeared relaxed after the game as he discussed Lorenzen’s outing. “He was good, he was real good,” said Bochy. “I was just a little concerned after the fifth. He threw 20-something pitches somewhere in there. So that’s a lot of work and approaching 90 and the bullpen was fresh, so, you know, I just wanted to take care of him — and the bullpen, they got it done. It wasn’t easy, but they did all get it done.”

 

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