After losing nine straight coming into Friday night’s game, Kyle Gibson and the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4. The Rays still have the most wins in the majors and lost for only the fourth time in 21 games.
Rays’ pitcher Josh Fleming squared off against Rangers’ starter Kyle Gibson. Gibson hurled five and a third innings of shutout baseball, getting the win. This, to go along with five strikeouts on the day, lowered his impressive season ERA down to 2.06. From there, the Rangers went to their bullpen, to varying degrees of success. John King and Josh Sborz combined for two and two-thirds of an inning, with the latter surrendering two runs. In the ninth, it was heart attack city for the ball club as Rangers’ closer Ian Kennedy made the game a lot more interesting. He did this by surrendering two runs and walking two, setting up the tying run at third. However, he was able to hang on to earn the save.
On the flip side, Josh Fleming was unable to replicate his opponent’s success. While he did go seven innings, he also surrendered five runs to the Rangers. This, along with just two strikeouts on the day, earned Fleming the loss. He exited to reliever Ryan Sherriff who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, all for naught in the end.
At The Plate
The Rays struggled to score runs for most of the game, only breaking through in the eighth and ninth innings against Texas’ bullpen, which has had its woes. Second baseman Brandon Lowe and outfielder Brett Phillips both managed to drive in two RBI’s a piece. However, they couldn’t come through when it mattered, and Tampa Bay stranded the tying run on third in the ninth.
On the other side, the Rangers were swinging the bat and swinging it well against Fleming, with five different players getting RBI’s in the contest. This included Joey Gallo, who hit a solo homer off Fleming. In the end, Texas’ offense produced just enough to grab the win.
Kyle Gibson, who threw over five strong innings for Texas, exited after just 73 pitches. This was due to Rangers manager Chris Woodward, who said before the game that Gibson would be on a minor pitch limit. This is due to his recent return off the 10-day injured list with a groin strain.
Before the game, Tampa Bay announced that first baseman Ji-Man Choi would be going on the 10-day injury list with a left groin strain. But, there is good news on the horizon as Rays reliever Chad Roe is scheduled to come off the IL as soon as next week following an early shoulder strain.
Tampa Bay will finish up their road trip with two more against Texas, the first of which comes Saturday at 4:05 PM EST. The Rays then venture home to take on the NL East’s Washington Nationals in a three-game series. Tampa Bay will look to get back on the winning path behind veteran lefty Rich Hill, who will pitch on Saturday.