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Rays 9, Rangers 10: Wild game, unfortunate finish

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When Nick Anderson allows a go-ahead home run, it probably isn’t your night

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays and Rangers faced each other for the middle game of a three-game series, with the Rays taking the first game and looking to secure the series win tonight in Arlington.

Ariel Jurado started this game for the Rangers, facing off against opener Andrew Kittredge.

Joey Wendle got this game going with a leadoff single to right, and Tommy Pham capitalized on that with a double into left field, giving the Rays an early 1-0 lead. After two outs and a Ji-Man Choi walk, Matt Duffy hit a single to score Pham and extend the lead to 2-0.

Andrew Kittredge opened this one up for the Rays, and he was quite frankly pretty terrible tonight. Three straight singles cut the lead in half before Jalen Beeks came in to try and extinguish the fire, but Beeks was even worse than Kittredge, allowing four runs (and two of Kittredge’s runners) to give Texas a 7-2 lead in the first inning.

The Rays had a tall mountain to climb to try and get back into this one, but they started chipping away early. In the second inning, the Rays did just that. Here’s every event that happened in that inning:

  • Guillermo Heredia leadoff double
  • Willy Adames RBI double, cutting the lead to 7-3 Rangers
  • Joey Wendle RBI double, cutting the lead to 7-4 Rangers
  • Tommy Pham groundout, 1 out
  • Austin Meadows pop out, 2 outs
  • Travis d’Arnaud walk, putting runners at first and second with two outs
  • Yohander Mendez enters the game to replace Ariel Jurado and face Ji-Man Choi
  • Tie game.

Ji-Man Choi’s three-run homer left his bat at 108 mph, going 419 feet and most importantly tying this game at 7-7. The Rays continued to threaten in the inning, putting two more runners on, but Matt Duffy was caught in a rundown on his way home to end the inning.

Austin Pruitt had entered the game in the bottom of the first, recording the final out, but a huge second inning from the offense gave him a clean sheet to work with, essentially entering the game as a starter, only in the second inning.

In the top of the fourth, the Rays took back the lead after Austin Meadows hit a one-out single, Travis d’Arnaud was hit by a pitch and Ji-Man Choi walked, setting up Matt Duffy to hit a sacrifice fly and give the Rays an 8-7 lead.

For his third straight outing, Pruitt was strong, allowing only one baserunner in 3.1 innings of work while striking out one. Pruitt threw 38 strikes in his 60 pitches before Oliver Drake entered the game to pitch the bottom of the fifth. Drake worked a strong inning and 2/3, striking out one but allowing a hit, bringing Chaz Roe in to get the final out in the bottom of the sixth.

Newly called-up speedster Johnny Davis entered the game in the top of the seventh to pinch run for Matt Duffy, and Davis had a debut to forget. When trying to steal his first big league bag, he slipped and had to return to first base. To add insult to injury, Davis was picked off of first to end the inning.

Poche was brought in to pitch the bottom of the seventh, and although he got the first two outs, he struggled to get the third out, allowing a single to Nick Solak and walking Danny Santana, causing Kevin Cash to bring in the reliable Nick Anderson. Anderson threw his first bad pitch as a member of the Rays tonight, allowing a three-run home run to Rougned Odor to give Texas a 10-8 lead.

Jose Leclerc entered the game to pitch the top of the ninth and record the save for the Rangers, and Leclerc did just that, striking out d’Arnaud to start off the inning. Ji-Man Choi hit a one-out solo home run, cutting the Rangers’ lead in half, 10-9. Daniel Robertson hit a single following the homer, but Kean Wong grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out. Mike Brosseau struck out for the third out, ending the comeback attempt short.

This game was a wild one, one where their pitching (besides Austin Pruitt, of course) was their biggest problem, a problem that nine runs could not overcome. The Rays will look to take the series tomorrow in the rubber match with Brendan McKay on the mound, first pitch scheduled for 8:10 pm.