Texas’ five unanswered runs, three coming in the bottom of the eighth inning, outpaced the first-place Houston Astros 5-3 Monday night in Arlington, as five separate Ranger hitters notched a single RBI.
The Astros slapped together an early 3-0 lead in their first three innings of play, each of the Astros’ runs coming off Texas righty and Royce City native Taylor Hearn. Hearn allowed three runs on seven hits and walked and struck out three. Though Hearn saw his season ERA climb to 5.37, he battled long enough into the contest to give his team a chance to catch up, and catch up they did.
In the bottom of the third, Leody Taveras, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager each climbed aboard base via consecutive singles. Adolis Garcia – honored on the night with a bobblehead of his likeness given out to fans – fanned on a 2-2 pitch for the first out of the inning. However, Kole Calhoun hit a sac fly to right, scoring Taveras from third.
The contest would lean in Houston’s favor, 3-1, until the bottom of the seventh, when Texas scratched out a run following a two-out single off the bat of Garcia, scoring Brad Miller, who topped the inning with a leadoff base on balls.
Trailing 3-2, the Texas bats came alive in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Jonah Heim set the table for the inning with a leadoff single. Heim gave way to pinch-runner Charlie Culberson, who quickly stole second base for his second swiped bag of the season and No.21 in the 33-year-old’s career.
Nathaniel Lowe pushed Culberson to third on a fielder’s choice before rookie Ezequiel Duran slapped an infield single to score Culberson and knot the contest at 3.
Duran promptly stole second (his first big league steal) and took third on an Astros wild pitch. Next to the dish was Brad Miller, who hit a 1-2, 88 mph splitter to left to give the Rangers their first lead of the contest. Three batters and one new Astro pitcher later, Corey Seager, scored Miller on another fielder’s choice to provide Texas with a 5-3 lead.
“It was a lot of good stuff,” Miller told MLB.com. “It’s not necessarily the big, flashy stuff but a lot of solid stuff, finding a way to beat the other team. It would have been a lot easier if we hit a home run, but you’re not going to have it every day, especially with these guys from the other team on the mound. You just have to find a way to win.”
Texas got 3.2 scoreless innings from their bullpen, with Jesus Tinoco tossing .2 innings in the 27-year-old’s third appearance on the season. He was followed out of the pen by Brock Burke, who lasted two innings and picked up the win, moving his record to 4-1 on the season and 4-3 lifetime.
Veteran lefty Matt Moore pitched a perfect bottom nine to pick up his first save of the season and the first save of his 11-year MLB career.
Rangers skipper Chris Woodward sang Moore’s praises following the victory.
“He kind of figured out that curveball and just to watch the development, for an older guy to kind of develop the way he has, yeah, I mean what he teaches our guys in the bullpen, the words of wisdom that he has, it’s so important for what we’re trying to do down there … [it is] so valuable to our culture,” Woodward said.
The win lifts the Rangers one full game ahead of third-place Los Angeles and just 7.5 games behind AL- West-leading Houston. The Astros are 5-6 in June, while the Rangers boast a 5-7 record in the month.
Game two of the three-game set with Houston is June 14 at 7:05 p.m. on 2022 Texas Rangers Yearbook night. The first 25,000 guests will receive the promotional giveaway.
Probable starting pitchers for the tilt are Jose Urquidy (5-3, 5.04) for the Astros and Dane Dunning (1-4, 4.41) for the Rangers.