Rangers Hold On, 7-6 Win Over Tigers

Rangers Hold On, 7-6 Win Over Tigers
Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jose Leclerc throws during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers. | Image by LM Otero, AP Photo

Texas Rangers scraped by the Tigers on Friday night in Arlington by a 7-6 tally in a game that was not very close until the end.

The Rangers led by a 7-4 margin when relief pitcher José Leclerc entered the game in the ninth, looking for his second save of the season.

The 28-year-old right has battled injuries the last few seasons after saving 26 contests over two seasons in 2018-2019. Leclerc has been effective of late.

He opened his outing with a lead-off walk to Detroit’s Jeimer Candelaria on four straight pitches before sending Akil Baddo back to the Tigers bench on five pitches. The final throw, a 96.2-mph four-seam fastball, was whiffed on.

Riley Greene was next at the plate for Detroit, and Leclerc tossed a 2-2 slider his way, which Greene punched into the left field bleacher for a 2-run homer and his fourth RBI on his 3-for-5 night. The homer closed the Ranger lead to 7-5, with Leclerc still needing two more out to preserve the win and earn him the save.

Leclerc allowed a flare single to the left two pitches later, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate for Detroit, and got Matt Moore warming up in the Texas pen should Leclerc fail.

Just nine pitches and two strikeouts later, Leclerc earned the save, pointing up to the sky following the last pitch; a 97.8-mph four-seam fastball he blew by Detroit’s Harold Castro, who could not keep up with the heat.

Leclerc’s save opportunity came on the heels of Glenn Otto’s start, in which he tossed five innings of four-run baseball, sending his record on the season to 6-8 (2-2 over his last seven with an ERA of 3.79).

Taylor Hearn entered in Otto’s departure and picked up right where he left off in his last outing (a three-inning save against the Twins), striking out four of the six batters he faced and yielding a solitary walk. Hearn and Jonathan Hernández (who pitched a spotless eighth inning) earned a hold, their first of the season. 

As for the Texas batters, they posted all seven runs in the first three innings.

Nathaniel Lowe got things cooking for Texas in the bottom of the first frame with his 21st homer of the year, a solo shot off of Tigers starter Tyler Alexander whom the Rangers roughed up in his three innings of work. Lowe would go 2-for-3 on the day and pushed his batting average to .298, ninth best in the American League. Lowe’s 136 hits on the year are tied for third best in the American League.

Ezequiel Duran belted his fourth homer of the season in the second, a three-run shot that gave Texas an early 4-0 lead.

Leody Taveras knocked in Adolis Garcia in the third, with Garcia extending his hitting streak to 22 games. Mark Mathias hit his third dinger of the year three pitches later to drive in Taveras; Mathias went 3-for-4 at the plate for the first three-hit outing of his career.

With the win, the Rangers move to 58-67 as they try to reach .500 with 37 games left this season.

Probable pitchers for the Saturday, August 27, contest are Dallas Keuchel (2-7, 8.53) for Texas and Eduardo Rodriguez (2-3, 3.89) for the Tigers.

The game is also Adrián Beltré On-deck Circle Bobblehead Night at Globe Life Field. The first 15,000 guests through the gates will receive the souvenir, remembering the night Beltré was ejected for moving the on-deck circle in 2017.

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