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Rangers Outlast Oakland 10-8

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Texas Rangers Josh Smith slides safely into home plate for an inside-the-park home run during the sixth inning against Oakland Athletics. | Image by LM Otero

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The Rangers plated double-digit runs for just the fifth time this season — all wins — and defeated the A’s in Arlington, 10-8, with just six games left until the All-Star Break on July 18.

The Rangers have not lost a game this season in which they scored double-digits.

Ahead of the game against Oakland on Monday, Rangers ace starting pitcher Martin Perez was named to the AL All-Star team, his first-ever selection to the squad.

“It is good to know that I am going to represent the Texas Rangers in the All-Star Game,” Perez said after the announcement. “I was not thinking about that; I was just trying to focus on pitching… It is an honor for me to be a part of that game.”

Perez — also known as “El De Las Matas” — signed in the off-season with the Rangers, bringing him back to where he started his big league career in Texas in 2012. He boasts a record of 7-2 on the year (70-71 lifetime) with an ERA of 2.72 over 106 innings pitched and 17 starts in 2022.

The Rangers sent Spencer Howard to the mound for his third start of the season and the 24th start of his career on Monday. The 25-year-old righty tossed five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits over five innings, walking none, and fanning one for his first win of the season (1-1).

The Rangers’ scoring downpour started in the bottom of the second inning when Jonah Heim scored from third on a balk, and Leody Taveras scored on a wild pitch for an early 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, with a 2-1 lead, Texas’ Kole Calhoun singled to right to score Nathaniel Lowe. Two batters later, Taveras knocked Heim in from third for a 4-1 lead. Josh H. Smith picked up the final RBI of the inning on a sac-fly to plate Calhoun for a 5-1 lead.

Corey Seager – named AL Player of the Week for his efforts last week – led off the bottom of the fifth,  belting his 20th home run of the year to deep center to push the Rangers’ lead to 6-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, Smith also hit a home run to center field, but it looked much different than Seager’s bomb an inning prior.

Smith drilled a line drive over second base, which bounced off the glove of the A’s centerfielder, skipping past him to the outfield fence. As the A’s defender gave chase, Smith rounded second with a head full of steam and got the green light from the third base coach to head home.

“Once I got to second base, I was like, ‘Oh, we got a shot,’ so I tried to turn on the jets a little bit,” Smith told MLB.com of the hit. “When I was actually rounding third, I was like, ‘Jesus, there might not be a zero in the home run column anymore.”

Smith dove headfirst into home ahead of the throw for his first MLB home run (a two-run jobber, as Taveras also scored on the hit).

“I’ll take that, for sure, but I would like to get one out, like a real one,” Smith said. “That’d be nice.”

Taveras – batting .317 in 63 at-bats since being called up from AAA – knocked in two more runs to give Texas a comfortable 10-2 lead with two innings left to play.

For the pitching staff, José Leclerc followed Howard to the mound and pitched two scoreless innings to keep the A’s at bay.

Kolby Allard, who relieved Leclerc, did not fare as well. The 24-year-old lefty was hammered in the inning, only able to retire one hitter while yielding five earned runs on four hits and a walk – his lone out coming via strikeout.

Allard was yanked and spelled by Garrett Richards, who earned a single out, allowed one run on one hit, and earned his third hold of the season for his effort.

Dennis Santana earned his 15th hold of the season as he retired the final batter of the eighth inning, with the Rangers leading 10-8.

Brett Martin allowed one hit and one walk in the ninth inning but managed to hold on and assist the Texas victory, earning his third save this season.

The win pushed the Rangers’ record to 40-44 this year, good for third in the AL West behind Houston and Seattle, who are playing tremendous baseball of late (8-2, and 9-1, respectively, over the last 10 games).

Game two of the three-game with Oakland is Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Globe Life Field. Probable starters for the contest are James Kaprielian (1-5, 5.06) for the Athletics and Glenn Otto (4-5, 5.26) for Texas.

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