J-Rod Helps Tame Texas 4-2


Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez | Image by Star Telegram

Julio Rodriguez, with one swing of the bat, ended the Rangers’ chance for a July victory in Seattle once more on Wednesday, again on a homerun.

Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray battled through six innings and entered the bottom of the seventh with a 2-1 lead, propped up by runs batted in by Charlie Culberson in the fifth and Jonah Heim in the sixth. As Gray climbed to 100 total pitches, Seattle struck.

Cal Raleigh opened the inning with a walk, and Sam Haggerty pushed him to third with a double.

In stepped Rodriguez – AKA J-Rod, who is on his way to securing this season’s AL Rookie of the Year Award – prompting the Rangers coaching staff to pay Gray a visit on the mound.

What was uttered on bump between coach and pitcher is unknown, but likely what was not said to Gray was “throw a 1-1 hanging slider to one of the hottest hitters in baseball.”

That, however, is what happened, and Rodriguez yanked the belly button-high, middle of the plate pitch to deep left field, banging off a scoreboard, for a three-run homer, giving his team a 4-2 lead.

“What a world to live in with Julio Rodríguez!” shouted Mariners announcer Dave Sims.

Gray was yanked from the contest following the rookie’s homerun and had the loss hung on his record, dropping him to 7-5 after pitching 6.1 innings in which he allowed four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out eight.

Brett Martin and Jonathan Hernández pitched in Gray’s absence, but the Rangers could only muster two more hits the rest of the way and got swept by Seattle 3-0 in the series. The loss drops Texas to 43-54, miles behind first-place Houston in AL West and 10 games behind second-place Seattle.

Texas now heads to Anaheim to take on the Angels in a four-game set, ending the Rangers’ 11-game West Coast road trip. Texas comes into the contest just 1.5 games ahead of Los Angeles in AL West and just seven games ahead of last place Oakland, who won seven of their last 10 and took two of three from the Rangers last week.

The start time for the Rangers-Angels tilt is 8:38 p.m. CDT on Friday, and probable pitchers are Spencer Howard (1-2, 7.11) for Texas and 2021 AL MVP Shohei Otani (9-5, 2.80) for Los Angeles.

The Dallas Express One to Watch: Rangers catcher Jonah Heim is batting .455 with a homer and seven RBI in 11 career at-bats against Otani.

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