Congratulations to Kohei!
*this asterisk is here because the Rangers should have officially scored six runs but umpiring in baseball is a nebulous mystery pile and Adolis Garcia was robbed of his first big league home run by the crotchety old dullards.
While we were all busy bemoaning the impotent hitting over the last week or so, the Rangers’ pitching staff has been busy shutting down their opponents. Over the last ten games, after allowing 25 runs in the first two games of the season in Kansas City, the Texas hurlers have allowed a total of 31 runs for an average of just 3.1 runs per contest.
That total includes tonight where a trio of Kohei Arihara, John King, and Kyle Cody combined to shut down the Rays with only a ninth inning Brandon Lowe home run off Cody blemishing the box score. In the three games during this series, the Rangers have now held the Rays to a total of five runs.
The bats also eventually showed up tonight as a Nate Lowe second inning homer against his old team stood as the game’s lone run for much of the game until Texas scored four* in the top of the seventh.
All four* of the runs in the breakout inning came with two outs and included RBI extra base hits from David Dahl and new cleanup hitter Adolis Garcia. Garcia’s long ball to the opposite gap appeared to strike over the yellow line of a railing beyond the wall in right-center field.
The ball caromed back onto the field and Garcia sped around the bases for what could have been a second chance at his first big league dong as he was called safe at the plate for an inside-the-park home run. After review, however, the umpires called Garcia out* so he was forced to settle for a two-run triple.
Nevertheless, a bevy of insurance runs weren’t even needed and, with the win, the Rangers have secured a series tie at the very least and they will have a chance to take the series from the reigning AL champs tomorrow evening.
Player of the Game: Garcia’s coming out party is noteworthy but Arihara was pitching on four days rest for the first time in his professional career and he took to it with aplomb. The Japanese import ultimately tossed his best stateside outing thus far with 5 2⁄3 innings of shutout baseball.
Arihara gave up just three hits with zero walks and a career high five strikeouts. He pitched most of the evening with a meager one run lead and showed the poise of a veteran pitcher starting to get comfortable in a new league. With an assist from the bats coming to life, Arihara is a first time winner in the Majors.
Up Next: The Rangers will close out this series in Tampa Bay tomorrow night with RHP Jordan Lyles teaming with LHP Wes Benjamin to take on LHP Rich Hill and the Rays. First pitch in Thursday’s finale is scheduled for 6:10 pm CT.