No one loves to lose, but given where the Rays are in the standings, it’s probably safe to say they really don’t love to lose, especially not to a team on a nine-game losing streak going into the series. Sure, I could be empathetic and say the Rangers also hated to lose and that’s why they won tonight, but I don’t write for Lone Star Ball and therefore, I hated this game.
Through the first two innings of this game it seemed like a finely-tuned pitchers duel, with both teams going 1-2-3 in the first, then a little scoreless action in the second. For the top of the inning, Yandy Diaz collected a single, but did not score, in spite of getting to second on a Kiermaier groundout. For the Rangers, Solak singled, but then was erased by a fielder’s choice, and the team did not score.
In the third. the Rays went down in order, and then the Rangers began to make some noise. Calhoun singled, then advanced to second on a Trevino sacrifice. Kiner-Falefa hit into a fielder’s choice and Calhoun advanced to third (aided by an unfortunate hesitation from Joey Wendle). Garcia grounded into another fielder’s choice to score Calhoun before the inning came to an end. Small ball would be the name of the game for the Rangers tonight, as they chipped away and chipped away and kept the Rays quiet.
Moving into the fourth, Wendle reached on a single but then was picked off when he advanced a wee bit too far off the bag. The Rangers deepened their lead in the bottom of the inning, Gallo singling to lead things off, followed by a Solak single, followed by a Lowe single (I swear these things just kept finding the perfect gaps to drop into). A Culberson sac bunt scored Gallo, then a Calhoun single scored Lowe, as Calhoun made moves for second base (his slide went to review, because his foot was lifted way up and off the bag as he slid, but he was ultimately called safe). Kiner-Falefa singled, but Calhoun was thrown out at home, ending the inning.
Walls singled for the Rays in the top of the fifth, but no runs scored. For the Rangers, they figured out small ball wasn’t as fun as big shots, so Joey Gallo hit a solo home run in the bottom of the inning, bringing the score to 5-0. Solak singled as well but no further runs scored.
The Rays tried to make a push in the sixth with a Lowe single followed by an Arozarena single, chasing Rangers starter Kyle Gibson from the game. Unfortunately, neither man on base was brought home, and the Rays continued to stack goose eggs in the box score. Blessedly, the Rangers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
For the seventh, the Rays got a leadoff man on base for the first time all night thanks to Diaz, but a Kiermaier lineout into a double play quickly erased the baserunner. The Rangers had a bit of activity, by way of a Kiner-Falefa double, but neither team was able to make any headway in the score.
The Rays had no interest in being shut out for the night, so in the top of the eighth, they shook off the Texas dust and scored some runs. A Mejia single kicked things off, and then Brandon Lowe hit a no-doubt home run, bringing the score to 5-2. The Rangers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, so it was down to the Rays in the top of the ninth to see if baseball miracles do happen.
A base hit from Meadows started out the ninth for the Rays. Then Diaz walked. What’s this, two baserunners? I do have a habit of my recap games going to extra innings... so perhaps? Kiermaier grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Yandy Diaz out and Meadows advancing to third. Walls walked, and suddenly the bases were loaded.
A Brett Phillips base hit scored Meadows and Keirmaier, advancing Walls to third, and suddenly it was a 5-4 game and things were interesting again. Unfortunately, Lowe struck out for the third out of the inning, and the Rays valiant effort was for naught.
Final: Rays 4, Rangers 5