The Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves played the rubber game in this three game series last night. It was expected to be a pitchers' duel as Texas Rangers current ace Nathan Eovaldi was facing Atlanta Braves young ace Spencer Strider. Eovaldi entered the game on a stretch of 28 2/3 innings scoreless streak. Strider is leading the majors in strikeouts. Something would have to give between these two pitchers. Both teams came into the game with red-hot right fielders. Acuna is second in the NL in batting average and Garcia is leading the AL in RBI's. These two would have a duel that would match what would occur between Eovaldi and Strider. This series showed how great Ronald Acuna Jr. is and how good Adolis Garcia can be.
Texas Rangers' Nathan Eovaldi vs Atlanta Braves Spencer Strider
The story coming into the game was Eovaldi and Strider. They did not disappoint through the first three innings. Eovaldi gave up a two-run home run to Eddie Rosario to end the scoreless streak at 29 2/3 innings. The Braves threatened to score more after the home run as they followed up with consecutive singles. Eovaldi enticed a double play from Orlando Arcia and then got a ground out from Michael Harris to end the inning and keep the score to 2-0 in favor of Atlanta.
The Rangers were being held in check through three innings, but that changed in the fourth. Garcia kicked off the battle of right fielders with a solo home run to end the shutout. The next two hitters reached and Ezequiel Duran doubled in Jonah Heim to tie the game. Leody Taveras singled home Grossman, but Duran was thrown out at home. The Rangers now had the lead at 3-2 and they made Strider work in that third inning. The focus the rest of the night shifted from the starting pitchers to the right fielders.
Texas Rangers' Adolis Garcia vs Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr.
After that second inning home run. Eovaldi really settled into the game and was able to keep Atlanta scoreless through the fifth inning. That allowed the Rangers to add to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Garcia hit his second home run of the game. With that home run he did something no other team or player had done in Striders' career and that is hit multiple home runs. Strider before last night had never given up multiple home runs in the same start. The Rangers now led 4-2 and after finishing the inning that was it for Strider. The Rangers hit multiple home runs, and also ended his streak at 12 starts of having nine or more strikeouts.
Ronald Acuna Jr decided to take the game over in the sixth inning. He entered the game having hit a home run in his last three games. He extended that streak in the sixth by answering Garcia's two home runs with one of his own. That cut the deficit to 4-3. Eovaldi got through the rest of the inning and then barely got out of the 7th and held the score at 4-3.
In the eighth Acuna came back up with the score now 5-3 after a Corey Seager sacrifice fly in the 7th. He was facing Josh Sborz. To this point in the series Acuna was 4-11 with three home runs in the series. Josh Sborz was very much avoiding pitching inside the strike zone. After throwing a first pitch strike, he threw 2 sliders, a curveball, and fastball that all were well outside the strike zone. Acuna then stole second and scored on a 0-2 fastball that Ozzie Albies hit to right field. Acuna's run made it 4-3.
Garcia had a chance to answer what Acuna had done in the bottom of the eighth, but popped out to Matt Olson. Garcia ended up with the two home runs to Acuna's one, but they both hit three in this three-game series. Acuna could be named MVP this season if he continues his torrid play. I think Garcia showed in this series that he deserves to be mentioned up there with Acuna in the conversation of great right-fielders in the game today. Garcia's heroics did not lead to a win. Sborz gave up the lead in the eighth and then Brock Burke allowed the go-ahead home run to Orlando Arcia in the ninth.
Texas Rangers Friday Night Set-Up
The Rangers with the loss fell to 26-17 on the season. They continue to lead the AL West but Houston with their win last night are now only two games behind the Rangers. The Rangers are now off on Thursday before they continue the homestand with a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies on Friday night. The Rockies come into this series with a 19-25 record and are last place in the NL West. They are 6-4 in the last 10 games though.
The pitching matchup on Friday night will be Martin Perez going up against a to-be-determined pitcher for the Rockies. Game time is 7:05pm and it will be broadcast by Bally Sports Southwest.