The Texas Rangers on Sunday were coming off a hard-fought 4-2 victory on Saturday afternoon. They still struggled with runners in scoring position, but came up with key home runs from Josh Jung, Jonah Heim, and Corey Seager. That combined with a clutch bullpen carried the team to victory. The Rangers were looking to build on that momentum and win two in a row for the first time since winning consecutive games against St. Louis. It did not appear that would be the case after falling behind 6-0 early, but the Rangers were able to stage their most impressive come-from-behind win of the season.
Toronto lands a blow against Texas
Jon Gray got the start for Texas. It was his first start since the complete-game one run performance against St. Louis on June 7th. He was scratched from his last start due to a blister issue. He was not quite as effective on Sunday as he had been. He walked three batters, hit a batter, gave up six hits, and six runs. Most of those hits would be considered hard contact. It was not a good day for Gray. Bochy could see that and removed Gray in the third inning before any more damage could be done.
John King was brought in and became the unsung hero of the game. He came in with runners on first and third and one out. He induced a weak groundout from Spencer Horowitz that scored the runner from third and then got another groundout to end the inning. He was highly effective in his 3 1/3 innings. One run was charged to him, the Blue Jays did not get a hit against him, and he made it possible for the offense to come back. It was King's best and probably most important outing of the season thus far.
The Rangers offense answers the bell
The offense which had been silent for the first two innings finally came alive in the third. The main issue with the offense over the last 10 days has been their inability to hit with runners in scoring position.The Rangers were in the midst of an 0-24 stretch with runners in scoring position that dated back to Thursday's series finale against the Angels
In the third inning, they had another opportunity. Nathaniel Lowe had reached on an error by first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr and then Adolis Garcia walked. That brought Josh Jung up to the plate. This time Jung came through with an RBI single past shortstop Bo Bichette into center field. It scored two runs as Lowe came across on the hit and Garcia scored on a throwing error from center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. It was like a load was lifted off the shoulders of this lineup. That was all that scored in the third, but the comeback was on.
Ezequiel Duran and Leody Taveras led off the fourth inning with singles to again put a runner in scoring position. This time it was Corey Seager who came through with an RBI double to score two. Then Adolis Garcia had an RBI single and the score was now 6-5 and Chris Bassitt who was dripping sweat down his brow was removed from the game. Pearson ended the fourth with no further runs scored.
Then after a scoreless top of the fifth, the Rangers finally made it all the way back. Jonah Heim led off the fifth with the game-tying home run. It was at that point that it felt like this was the Rangers' game to win. Mitch Garver followed up with a walk, Duran a single to move him over, and Taveras had the RBI single to finally put the Rangers in the lead at 7-6. Duran and Taveras were two of the stars of the game. Duran was 4-5 with three runs scored and Taveras was 3-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. They dominated from the bottom of the order. Semien tacked onto the lead that inning with a sacrifice fly to make the score 8-6.
The bullpen did give a run back in the sixth. King walked the leadoff hitter, then got a fielder's choice groundout. He was then removed for Grant Anderson. George Springer welcomed Anderson to the game with a 102.2 mph RBI single that went off Seager's glove at shortstop allowing Kiermaier to score from second. That made the score 8-7 and would be the closest the Blue Jays got the rest of the game.
The Rangers responded with a three-run seventh. Taveras added to his game with his sixth home run of the month, a two-run shot. Then Seager had an RBI-single to score Marcus Semien and the score was 11-7. Seager finished the game 4-5 with three RBIs and one run scored. He continues to hit at an unworldly level. His batting average does not qualify yet to be in the race for the batting average crown. He is currently hitting .363 with a 1.076 OPS. He is having an absurdly great season. He was playing great prior to the hamstring injury and has been great since coming back from the injury a month ago. He is one of the best hitters in all of baseball.
The significance of this Rangers' Win
The Rangers won the game 11-7. It is their biggest come from behind victory of the season. The argument can be made it is one of their most important wins of the season. The team has been in a slump for 10 days, and now they win back-to-back games to win a series against a good Blue Jays team. There will be more challenges as we go throughout this season, but this team did answer the bell when they were down and came back to grab a huge victory.
The Rangers with the win improve to 44-27. They do take the momentum from this series win on the road with them to Chicago. Despite the 2-7 stretch they still are up 4.5 games on the Angels and 5.5 games on the third-place Houston Astros. They now head to play a three-game series against the lowly White Sox and a Yankees team that does not have Aaron Judge. The Rangers have a chance to bank some wins this week and really build up that division lead as the Astros take on the Mets and the Angels take on the Dodgers.
Preview of Monday's Game
The Rangers and White Sox kick things off tonight at 7:10pm. The Rangers will send Andrew Heaney to pitch and the White Sox pitcher has not been announced yet. The game will be broadcast locally by Bally Sports Southwest.