The Texas Rangers put on a show of power against Philadelphia as they hit four home runs in a 7-0 victory over the Phillies at Globe Life Field on Tuesday night.
The Rangers (32-35) had back-to-back homers from Nathaniel Lowe and Jonah Heim in the fifth inning, while Marcus Semien and Kole Calhoun both hit two-run shot in the eighth. The Rangers now have 31 home runs for the month, tied for fourth-most in the Majors in June with the Phillies.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward was happy to see the power surge.
"We know this offense can be a lot better than it’s been," Woodward said. "We have a deep lineup. We just have to be really disciplined. At times we let that go sideways, chase balls and things like that. We want to get back to being really disciplined."
The Rangers were coming off losing two straight games at Detroit, followed by an off-day on Monday that seemed to recharge their batteries. The Phillies (36-33) entered the game having won 14 of 17 since they fired manager Joe Girardi and elevated Rob Thomson to interim manager.
The Rangers face Philadelphia at 3:05 p.m. Wednesday to wrap up the two-game series. The Rangers also swept their two-game set in Philadelphia in May, so Texas is going for a sweep of the season series.
The pitching matchup was the build-up going into the game. The Rangers started left-hander Martin Pérez, who entered the game with a 2.10 ERA, fourth-best in the American League. The Phillies started former Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson, who signed a three-year, $28 million deal with Texas in 2019, and was named to the AL All-Star team last season. The Rangers traded Gibson to the Phillies at last year’s deadline.
Pérez scattered six hits over six innings, striking out six and walking three. He stranded eight Phillies and they went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. He threw 98 pitches before giving way to the Rangers bullpen, which threw three scoreless innings.
“Martin has been outstanding all year,” Heim said. “He continues to impress and be the workhorse for our staff. All of his pitches were hitting tonight and that makes it so much easier for me.”
Pérez benefited from some great defense, too. Rangers third baseman Josh Smith – who was activated just before Tuesday’s game — turned a first-inning double play that quelled a potential Phillies rally. Left fielder Kole Calhoun did the same in the top of the sixth with a brilliant diving grab in shallow left field. Had he not caught it, the Phillies likely would have scored a runner from second.
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Pérez left with a 3-0 lead, thanks to the Rangers offense getting to Gibson for three runs in the first six innings.
Gibson actually faced the minimum for the first four innings and recorded the first two out of the fifth before he ran into Lowe, who hit a solo home run just over the left-field fence for a 1-0 lead. Heim followed Lowe with a home run off his former battery mate to make it back-to-back solo shots and a 2-0 Rangers lead.
“Kyle is an awesome human,” Heim said. “I wish him all the best, but when we’re on the field, we’re competitors. I think I can see his pitches a little better because I helped shape them (last year). You can make a game plan and go from there.”
In the sixth, Texas added a run as Semien scored on a Corey Seager single.
Gibson pitched into the seventh, but after giving up a one-out single to Lowe, he left the game for reliever Jeurys Familia, who got out of the inning with a double play as he struck out Heim and catcher J.T. Realmuto threw out Lowe trying to take second base on what appeared to be a hit-and-run.
Gibson went 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs while striking out four.
Familia gave up a two-run home run to Semien in the eighth inning, which was Semien’s third hit of the game. He was a triple away from the cycle. Calhoun followed two hitters later with his own home run.
The Rangers made a flurry of moves before Tuesday’s game, two of which had an impact on the lineup. The Rangers activated Mitch Garver from the COVID-19 injured list and started him at designated hitter. Smith was activated from the 10-day injured list and started at third base in place of Ezequiel Duran, who got a second off-day after the entire team had Monday off.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard