Lyles Magnificent in Long Relief as Rangers Quiet Diamondbacks

Rangers Diamondbacks

Rangers 3, Diamondbacks 1

PHOENIX, Sep. 7 — Jordan Lyles, who took over in the third, pitched seven innings of three-hit, one-run relief to lead the Texas Rangers past the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3–1, in an interleague battle of West Division cellar dwellers.

The Diamondbacks got on the board first, doing so in the bottom of the third. Right fielder Daulton Varsho led off with a single. Shortstop Nick Ahmed walked after Varsho stole second. Pitcher Zac Gallen sacrificed them to second and third, bringing up second baseman Josh Rojas with two in scoring position. A deep fly to the warning track in the left-field corner made the second out but brought the speedy Varsho home for a 1–0 lead.

Gallen had a rough fourth inning to spoil an otherwise successful outing. Rangers shortstop Yonny Hernandez led off with a single. After he stole second, first baseman Nathaniel Lowe struck out. That brought up DJ Peters, who stroked a game-tying single. Second baseman Nick Solak advanced him to second with a single of his own, bringing up rookie catcher Jonah Heim. Heim grounded to first, advancing both runners for left fielder Jason Martin, whose single plated them both. A double by third baseman Charlie Culberson put two runners in scoring position, but Lyles struck out, leaving them stranded. However, the Rangers led, 3–1, a lead they held the rest of the way.

Diamondbacks Discuss Loss to Rangers

Manager Torey Lovullo felt that the Diamondbacks had “too much aggressiveness” against Lyles. “There was a mixture of the (four-seamer), the (two-seamer), and a changeup off that (two-seamer). The two-seam and the changeup blended together. Some of our left-handed hitters were anxious in certain swinging counts. With all due respect to (Lyles) — he went seven innings and threw roughly 95 pitches —our guys…could have done a better job.”

Gallen, with a long face, lamented his performance in the three-run, five-hit fourth inning. “I think they hit one ball harder than 90 miles an hour in that inning. That’s baseball, though…. It’s tough, especially when they chip their way through it.” Outside of the fourth, Gallen allowed three baserunners in his 6 2/3 innings — and two reached on a fielding error. He did take one positive from the game. “I was able to throw everything for strikes today. That makes the outings a lot easier. When (the opponent has) to respect four or five pitches up there, they can’t really zone up certain pitches. That’s probably the biggest positive I’m going to build off.”

Another positive is the scoreless top of the ninth from Noe Ramirez. Ramirez had been pitching well since joining the Diamondbacks before going on the COVID list. Since returning to play, he struggled. Lovullo said, “(He) needed to get back out there, execute, and find his release point, rhythm, and alignment. It just took a little bit longer than he wanted. Today was a good sign. The breaking ball had finish to it. He was placing it and throwing it where he wanted. (Noe) grinded through a nine-pitch at-bat and got a big out to lead off the ninth by throwing all of his pitches. It’s something to build on.”

Looking Ahead

Lyles (8–11) earned the win in long relief, while Gallen (2–9) took a tough loss to add to a frustrating season for him. The Rangers (50–88) and Diamondbacks (45–94) meet again Wednesday afternoon to close out their two-game mini-series. A pair of righties — Kohei Arihara (2–3, 6.19 ERA) for the Rangers and Luke Weaver (3–3, 4.11 ERA) for the Diamondbacks — will square off at 12:40 pm Arizona Time. The Diamondbacks must win seven of their remaining 23 games to avoid the worst record in franchise history.

Main Photo:

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Players/managers mentioned:

Jordan Lyles, Daulton Varsho, Nick Ahmed, Zac Gallen, Josh Rojas, Yonny Hernandez, Nathaniel Lowe, DJ Peters, Nick Solak, Jonah Heim, Jason Martin, Charlie Culberson, Torey Lovullo, Noe Ramirez, Kohei Arihara, Luke Weaver

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