Friday Night marked the start of the biggest series of the year for the Texas Rangers. Coming into play today, the Rangers were tied with the Seattle Mariners for second place in the AL West and just .5 games back of Houston for first.
With the Rangers and Mariners having an identical record coming into play, whoever wins this series will see their playoff chances increase significantly.
Corey Seager wasted no time getting things started here tonight as he launched his 32nd home run of the year into the Rangers bullpen to put Texas up 1-0 in the first.
21-year-old Evan Carter got in on the action in the second when he drove a Bryce Miller changeup into the right field seats for a three-run Jimmy Jack to put the Rangers up 4-0.
After the game, Bruce Bochy said “With how he [Evan Carter] has handled everything, he just has a quiet confidence about him, very calm, the way he plays the game he slows it down, he’s taking close pitches and does a good job in the outfield so he’s been a shot in the arm for us”.
Dane Dunning would toe the rubber for the Rangers and turn in a pretty solid performance. Dunning’s final line would read 5.1 innings 4 hits 4 earned runs 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.
“It was a lot of fun, the whole outing was a lot of fun, [the] atmosphere was fantastic, I was super nervous coming into this start but as soon as I took the mound that kinda went away; I was just trying to get the best foot going, try to get it going for the guys”
Mitch Garver would blow this game open in the fifth when he added a two-RBI single to go along with two other runs the Rangers scored in the inning and put Texas up 8-0.
Overall, the Rangers’ eight early runs would prove to be enough as Texas has now scored 23 runs in their last two games.
Seattle would climb back in this game after putting up a four spot in the 6th inning in the inning cutting the Texas lead down to 8-4.
Things could have been a lot worse for the Rangers in that inning after the Mariners got to both Dunning and Chris Stratton but Andrew Heaney was able to come out of the bullpen and induce an inning-ending ground ball with the bases loaded.
Andrew Heaney would end up as the player of the game when this one was all said and done as the Rangers lefty fired 2.1 hitless innings out of the bullpen keeping Texas head 8-4 heading to the 9th.
Bruce Bochy said “Teriffic job by Heaney, that’s what you need [is] someone to help bring it to the closer; that was probably the biggest move of the game for us to have him come in and do that
The Rangers would win this one 8-5 to grab a huge win in the opening game of this set with the Mariners.
Texas’ record now sits at 85-68 and with their win and the Houston Astros 7-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Rangers now sit atop the AL West for the first time since August 29th
When asked how much he was thinking about being back in first place Bochy said “I’ll be honest the only thing we’re thinking about is trying to win ballgames out there. Trust me they know the situation out there we all do and it’s about winning games right now not where you’re at in the standings, it doesn’t matter right now there are nine games left and we’re just going out there trying to do the best we can to win a ballgame.