Rangers 10, Athletics 8
ARLINGTON, Texas, Jul 11 — The Texas Rangers managed to squeak out a win against the Oakland A’s by a final score of 10–8. Home runs by Corey Seager and Josh Smith helped lead the Rangers to a needed victory over Oakland on Monday. These two teams will play the middle game in this series on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM Central. The Athletics will tab right-hander James Kaprielian (1–5, 5.06 ERA) as their starter. Texas, meanwhile, will give the ball to right-hander Glenn Otto (4–5, 5.26 ERA).
Rangers’ Strange Inning
The Rangers got on the board in a very unconventional way on Monday, in the bottom of the second inning. To set the scene, Josh Smith was at the plate. Outfielder Leody Taveras was on second base, and catcher Jonah Heim was on third base. A balk by Oakland starter Adrian Martinez allowed both runners to advance, thus bringing in Heim to score the Rangers’ first run of the evening.
Moments later, Martinez threw a wild pitch to Marcus Semien, and that allowed Taveras to score, making it 2–0 Rangers. Texas scored their third run in the bottom of the fourth inning. An RBI single by Kole Calhoun drove in first baseman Nathaniel Lowe. The score was 3–1 at the time, and the Rangers soon made it 4–1. Jonah Heim scored his second run of the game on an RBI single by Taveras. Later in the inning, a sac fly by Josh Smith drove in Calhoun.
A Special Moment
The Rangers’ lead would stretch to 6–2 in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run home run by Corey Seager. This was Seager’s 20th homer of the year, which leads all MLB shortstops. He has also homered in four straight games. That is the longest streak of his career. It also ties him with Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox, and Patrick Wisdom of the Chicago Cubs for the longest home run streak of the season.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, with Taveras on base, Josh Smith made it 8–2 Rangers with an inside the park home run to center field. That in itself would be special. What made it even more special, however, was that this was the first home run of Smith’s major league career. They scored their final two runs of the night on a two-run double by Taveras. This allowed Lowe and Meibrys Viloria to score. It was all the offense that was needed to squeak out the win.
The A’s struggled with their offense early on, but they made things interesting in the late innings. They got on the board in the top of the fourth inning. Ramon Laureano crossed the plate on an RBI single by Seth Brown. Then, a home run in the top of the fifth inning by Sheldon Neuse got Oakland to within three at 5–2. They wouldn’t score again until the top of the 8th inning. A two-run shot by Laureano got the closer, as the score was 10–4 at this point. Later in the inning, Chad Pinder contributed with a three-run homer that made it 10–7. Their last run came on a groundout by Neuse that allowed Skye Bolt to score.
The Rangers were barely able to squeak out the win on Monday, and their pitching almost put that win in jeopardy. Starter Spencer Howard pitched five innings, and gave up two runs, one of which was earned, on six hits. One of those hits was a home run. Howard got the winning decision for his effort. His record for the year is now 1–1, with an ERA of 8.04. Kolby Allard came on in the eighth inning, and nearly gave the game way. He was only able to record one out. He surrendered five runs, all earned, on four hits. Two of those hits were home runs. He also struck out one. Brett Martin came in to pitch the remainder of the game, and recorded his third save of the season. That save made it possible for the Rangers to squeak out the win.
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Corey Seager, Josh Smith, James Kaprielian, Glenn Otto, Leody Taveras, Jonah Heim, Adrian Martinez, Marcus Semien, Kole Calhoun, Nathaniel Lowe, Rafael Devers, Patrick Wisdom, Meibrys Viloria, Ramon Laureano, Seth Brown, Sheldon Neuse, Chad Pinder, Skye Bolt, Spencer Howard, Kolby Allard, Brett Martin