The Texas Rangers have been in a rough stretch lately. And until the ninth inning of Friday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles, it looked like the Rangers were about to lose their 99th game of the season for the first time in 36 years.
Instead, the Rangers rallied from a 5-3 deficit and scored five runs in the frame, defeating the Orioles by a score of 8-5.
DJ Peters sparked the inning with a lead-off triple. Willie Calhoun immediately followed with a sacrifice fly to bring the Rangers within a run. Leody Taveras and Isiah Kiner-Falefa both reached on back-to-back infield singles, with Taveras using his elite speed on a bunt.
After Andy Ibáñez walked to load the bases, Adolis García lived up to his calling card and came through in the clutch with a two-run double, giving Texas a 6-5 lead. Nick Solak added some valuable insurance with an RBI groundout, then Adolis García swiped home on a double steal.
García's double was part of a three-hit night and the two RBI gave him 85 on the season, passing Baltimore's Ryan Mountcastle for the American League rookie RBI lead. García is also on the cusp of owning two Rangers rookie records. He is tied with Pete Incaviglia with 30 home runs, and he is now only three RBI shy of tying Incaviglia's record of 88 RBI.
Up until the ninth inning, the Rangers were "up and down," as Rangers manager Chris Woodward put it.
Nathaniel Lowe got the Rangers off to a quick start with a two-out, two-run home run in the first inning. But the lead didn't last long as Texas starter Spencer Howard struggled in the second inning.
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Baltimore manufactured their first run of the game on a ground ball by Richie Martin that nearly ended the frame, but the Orioles shortstop beat the throw at first base to avoid the double play. Cedric Mullins then followed with an early blow, driving a cutter from Howard over the wall for a three-run homer, joining the 30/30 club.
Some stellar defense from Leody Taveras and DJ Peters kept the Rangers in the game, as both of them robbed Baltimore of home runs, saving a total of three runs with Spencer Howard still on the mound. Peters also added an RBI single in the fourth inning to pull the Rangers within a run, trailing 4-3.
While Howard managed to escape four innings of work with just the four runs on six hits, Drew Anderson kept the Orioles lineup quiet with three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, only giving up one hit and one walk while striking out two hitters.
Josh Sborz struggled in the eighth inning, and the Orioles added a precious insurance run in the frame before the Rangers bats woke from their slumber in the final inning. Joe Barlow closed out the ninth relatively easy, with only one Oriole reaching base via walk.
The Rangers (56-98) and Orioles (49-105) continue their four-game series on Saturday night at Camden Yards. Jordan Lyles (9-12, 5.36 ERA) will get the start for the Rangers, as Chris Ellis (1-0, 2.39 ERA) takes the ball for Baltimore.
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