Rangers Rout Rays to Complete Three-Game Sweep

Rangers Rays
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Rangers 13, Rays 2

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Jul 7) — The Texas Rangers trounced the Tampa Bay Rays, 13–2, on Sunday afternoon to complete the three-game sweep. It was a nice way to end their final homestand of the first half of the 2024 season. It also gives them some momentum heading into the All-Star Break. Among their many highlights of the afternoon was a three-run homer by Corey Seager in the fourth inning. With this sweep behind them, the Rangers head west to take on the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game set. That series will begin on Monday with first pitch scheduled for 6:38 pm Pacific at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Right-hander Jon Gray (3–4, 3.92 ERA) will take the mound for the Rangers, and righty Davis Daniel (1–1, 2.70 ERA) will get the ball for the Angels.

The Rays, meanwhile, will head back to St. Petersburg to start a three-game series against the New York Yankees. That series will start on Tuesday evening with first pitch scheduled for 6:50 pm Eastern at Tropicana Field. The Rays will send right-hander Ryan Pepiot (4–5, 4.50 ERA) to the hill, while the Yankees have yet to announce their starting pitcher for the series opener.

Six-Run Fourth for the Rangers

The Rangers got their day started in the bottom of the first off Rays starter Zack Littell. After Marcus Semien grounded to third, Seager lined a double to right. Two batters later, Wyatt Langford drove in Seager with a double to left.

The Rays leapfrogged the Rangers to take a 2–1 lead in the top of the third against Nathan Eovaldi. After Jonny DeLuca flied to center, Ben Rortvedt singled on a weak grounder to left. On deck was Jose Caballero, who hit a two-run home run to left-center.

In the bottom of the fourth, Langford led off with a sharp single to left. Nathaniel Lowe moved him over with a single to center. Jonah Heim kept the line moving with a third consecutive single. This one went to center, scoring Langford in the process. Two batters later, Travis Jankowski brought Lowe and Heim home with a single to center. After Derek Hill flied to center, Semien drew a walk, bringing up Seager, who connected on a 1–0 fastball to hit a three-run bomb to right to give the Rangers a 7–2 lead.

Rangers Pile On

The Rangers scored three more in the bottom of the fifth off Rays reliever Shawn Armstrong. Once again, Langford led off with a single. This one stayed in the field and was out of the reach of Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe. Langford advanced to second on a walk to (Nathaniel) Lowe. Heim moved them both over with a single to right. Up next was Leody Taveras, who plated Langford with a single to left. Jankowski followed with another single to drive in Lowe to make it 9–2 Rangers. Hill brought Heim home with a single to right. In the bottom of the sixth, the Rays brought in Edwin Uceta to pitch. After getting Langford out on a fly to left and Lowe to strike out looking, Heim belted one over the wall in right to give the Rangers an 11–2 lead.

The Rays made another pitching change to start the bottom of the seventh, bringing in Colin Poche to relieve Uceta. The Rangers made a change of their own and sent in Robbie Grossman to pinch-hit for Jankowski. Grossman made the most of the opportunity, hitting a solo shot to left to stretch the Rangers’ already commanding lead to 12–2. It marked the second pinch-homer of the season for the Rangers. The first was on Opening Day by Jankowski against the Chicago Cubs at Globe Life Field.

The home nine scored one more run in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Garrett Cleavinger. Josh Smith and Langford got things started with back-to-back singles. Lowe was called out on strikes. Heim lined to third to bring up Taveras, who singled to right. Smith crossed the plate on the play.

What Went Right for the Rangers

The Rangers scored early and often on Sunday afternoon. They used a combination of power and small ball to win. That is something that doesn’t occur every day, and the Rangers needed it. They had been in somewhat of a slump when it comes to offense, so it was nice for them to have a day like this. The home runs by Seager, Heim, and Grossman sent the crowd of 32,113 into hysteria. They also got a very nice performance from Eovaldi on the mound.

What Went Wrong for the Rangers

The Rangers hit an early roadblock when Caballero hit his home run in the third to give the Rays their only offense of the game. They were, however, able to brush it off and respond in a big way going forward.

Seven Quality Innings for Eovaldi

Rangers righty Nathan Eovaldi earned the win after producing an ultra-quality start in his 15th outing of the season. His line for the day was 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R-ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 88 pitches/63 strikes. Both runs he allowed came on the two-run home run by Caballero in the top of the third. Eovaldi retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced. He has logged ultra-quality starts (7.0+ IP, 2-or-fewer ER) in each of his last two turns through the rotation, joining Jon Gray as the only Rangers to toss back-to-back Ultra Quality Starts this season. His record at Globe Life Field improves to 5–0 with an ERA of 1.99, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of those outings. This is the longest such season-opening streak in club history. Eovaldi’s overall record now sits at 6–3 with an ERA of 3.10.

A Littell Hiccup

Rays starter Zack Littell was saddled with his sixth loss of the season on Sunday. His line was 4 IP, 9 H, 7 R-ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 5 K, 83 pitches/51 strikes after allowing season highs in runs and earned runs. The performances raised his season ERA from 3.94 to 4.44. This is following a three-start stretch over which he posted a 1–0 record and 2.40 ERA. He has gone 1–2 with a 7.33 ERA over his last six road starts. Over 18 starts, Littell is now 3–6 with an ERA of 4.44.

Postgame Comments

After the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy expressed how big this sweep was for his club. “I think it’s an important stretch that we play good baseball,” Bochy said. “We know where we’re at. We have to win ballgames. For us to get to where we want to go, sure we have to play well up until the break and then after that obviously. That’s our focus right now, trying to finish strong here.”

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