The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners met Monday for the first of 12 games they will play against each other this season. The game ended up being a pitchers' duel that saw Jon Gray go up against Logan Gilbert. Gray has not been struggling but also has not been getting the results he is used to over the last three weeks. Gilbert is Mr. Reliable for the Mariners. The Mariners rely on him to pitch at least six innings and give them a chance to win nearly every time out.
Logan's Gilbert perfect start for the Rangers
The Mariners struck the first blow in the bottom of the first when Ty France hit a solo home run to left field that just barely got over the wall. Gray responded after that and shut down the Mariners lineup. The Mariners threatened in the fifth by loading the bases on two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That brought phenom Julio Rodriguez to the plate. The crowd started to get into it as they saw this as a moment to really break the game open. The threat was short-lived as Rodriguez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
On the other side Logan Gilbert had the Rangers guessing all night long. He was absolutely dominant as he mowed through the Rangers lineup. In the fifth, Josh Jung hit a deep fly ball to center that was caught at the wall and Jarred Kelenic made a great play in foul territory in left field to catch a Jonah Heim foul ball. Other than that the Rangers were making weak contact or striking out against Gilbert. Through six innings, Gilbert had nine strikeouts and was pitching a perfect game.
The Rangers Perfect Rally
That brings us to the seventh and Gilbert's pitch count was still relatively low at 72 pitches. The Rangers immediately went to work. Marcus Semien ended the perfect game with a single up the middle. Nathaniel Lowe singled and Adolis Garcia walked. That loaded the bases for rookie Josh Jung. In his first two at-bats Jung had struck out and flown out to the wall in center. This time he hit a fly ball to deep right field that was caught by Teoscar Hernandez and scored Semien from 3rd to tie the game. Jonah Heim then kept the rally going with a first-pitch single to shallow center that scored Lowe from second to give the Rangers the lead.
The Rangers looked dead for most of the night. No hits or baserunners for six innings. This team never said die and never rolled over. They kept pushing until they could string some hits together. They did in the seventh. The bullpen then came in and did their job in the eighth and ninth. Will Smith closed the door by striking out three batters on a steady diet of sliders. It was a perfect end to a not-quite-perfect game by Logan Gilbert. The Rangers walked away with the victory in game one of this series.
I do not think we can mention enough about how good Jon Gray was in this game. He had issues with his pitching mechanics in the last three starts. That led to issues with his control. From the first pitch last night he was pitching more under control and did not look like he was battling with himself. There was no bad body language. He was getting the ball and throwing. He did rely more on his secondary pitches as he threw more sliders and changeups and then threw his fastball off of those pitches. He ended his night throwing seven innings and retired the last seven hitters he faced. He struck out eight and walked none. It was his best start of the season and one he can build upon in future starts.
The Rangers with the win improved to 21-13 and their division lead continues to widen. They are now two games ahead of the Angels and four and a half games ahead of the Mariners and Astros. Tonight's game will be the midpoint of this 10-game road trip. The Rangers so far are 3-1 on the trip.
Preview of Tuesday's Game
Andrew Heaney will go up against George Kirby on Tuesday. Kirby is in his second season and last year faced the Rangers four times. The Mariners won each of those starts as Kirby did not allow more than two runs in each of those starts. This is one of those games we can find out how much different this team is from last year's team.
Andrew Heaney has not pitched against the Mariners since 2021. His last start was in August of 2021 and he got the win. He pitched six innings, gave up four runs, struck out nine, and walked three. He will need to be much better than he has been lately for the Rangers to stretch their winning streak to four.
Game time is once again a late start at 8:40pm and it will be broadcast by Bally Sports Southwest.