The Texas Rangers (6-7) won their third-straight road game on Thursday night, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays (5-8) by a score of 6-4 in 10 innings. It's the first time the Rangers have won three consecutive games away from Arlington since a four-game sweep of Baltimore in September 2019.
Thursday night's hero was Adolis García, who hit a go-ahead two-run home run to the opposite field in the 10th inning. This came just one night after he was stripped of his first career home run by MLB's replay system.
"I told one of my buddies, 'Wait until tomorrow. I'm gonna get it tomorrow,'" García said. "It was very special to me. For me to hit my first home run today and go into that dugout knowing we had a possibility to win the game, I was super excited about it."
García became the first player in Rangers history (1972-present) to hit a go-ahead home run in extra innings for his first career home run. What's more special to him is getting to record that milestone on one of the most iconic days in sports.
"I thank God I hit my first home run on Jackie Robinson Day," García said. "It's a very special day, not only for me, but for everybody. For everything he did to allow people from all colors and races to be able to come and play the game of baseball, I'm very proud."
The Rangers and Rays got to extra innings after a hard fought tug-of-war battle throughout the night. Nick Solak drew first blood for the Rangers with a solo home run in the second inning. Tampa Bay's Austin Meadows answered with an RBI single in the third inning. Texas' Charlie Culberson and Tampa Bay's Mike Brosseau exchanged 2-run home runs in the fourth inning.
Nick Solak put the Rangers ahead 4-3 with two outs in the fifth inning, driving in Joey Gallo for his second RBI of the night.
While Rangers starter Jordan Lyles didn't blow anyone away, he kept the team in the game and left after 5 1/3 innings with the lead intact. Lyles' piggyback and patented strike-thrower Wes Benjamin finished off the Rays in the sixth inning, but struggled in the seventh.
Benjamin uncharacteristically walked four batters in 1 1/3 innings, including three walks in the seventh inning. Benjamin alternated outs and walks with the first four batters of the inning, but then a defensive lapse made Benjamin pay for the walks.
Jose Trevino tried to pick off Brett Phillips on second base, but threw it into center field, allowing Phillips to take third base. Rangers centerfielder Leody Taveras tried to throw out Phillips at third, but the throw hit Phillips in the helmet and bounced away, allowing Phillips to score and tie the game at 4-4.
Rangers pitching has kept the team in games over the past several days. On a night where every Texas pitcher except Ian Kennedy walked at least one batter, the bats picked up the slack. What's more, the team as a whole displayed mettle after the chaos in the seventh inning.
"There are no egos in that locker room," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "They just want to win. When the leadership of the group steps up and says, 'That's on me, it's so impactful to the rest of the guys."
The Rangers travel back home to Arlington for a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles (5-8). Texas' Mike Foltynewicz (0-2, 4.09 ERA) will face off against Baltimore's Jorge López (0-2, 11.42 ERA).