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Rangers Lose to Nationals in Series Opener

Texas and Washington play a close game decided with an RBI double in the eighth inning

ARLINGTON — The Texas Rangers lost to the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Friday night at Globe Life Field.

The game was the first of three between the Rangers (33-36) and the Nationals (26-47) this weekend.

The Nationals broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth with Rangers reliever Dennis Santana on the mound. He gave up a leadoff double to Juan Soto, who drove a pitch into the left-center field gap. Josh Bell followed with a ground-ball single up the middle, scoring Soto from second and giving the Nationals the lead.

After Santana (3-3) struck out Nelson Cruz, Rangers manager Chris Woodward went back to the bullpen to bring in Brett Martin. Luis García grounded to Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, who was playing in a shift, and he tagged out Bell running to second and then threw out García to end the inning.

The Rangers had a baserunner at second base in the bottom of the eighth but couldn’t get him home.

Nationals reliever Tanner Rainey gave up a one-out walk to Rangers pinch-hitter Josh H. Smith in the bottom of the ninth, followed by a Brad Miller single to right, which advanced Smith to third base. Miller, now the winning run, was replaced for pinch-runner Charlie Culberson.

Marcus Semien then popped out to third base, followed by Corey Seager’s flyout to center field which ended the game.

"We had chances to win tonight," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "Their (Washington's) record really doesn't matter. We have to play good baseball. Dane (Dunning) pitched well. I'll take our bullpen over theirs. I'll take our hitters over theirs, too. That's a missed opportunity."

Before the eighth, the game was marked by missed opportunities and solid starts from Washington’s Paolo Espino and Texas’ Dane Dunning, though neither factored into the decision.

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Through the first four innings, each team had five hits, but neither managed to score a run. Rangers center fielder Adolis García threw out Cruz at home plate in the fourth, which was the closest either team got to scoring a run.

The Nationals scored the game’s first run in the top of the sixth on a RBI double by Luis García, which scored Josh Bell. Bell doubled earlier in the inning, and García’s gap shot to right-center field was more than enough to bring Bell home.

But Adolis García answered to lead off the sixth with a line drive home run to left field, tying the game. Earlier in the game he extended his home hitting streak to eight games. It was also his sixth home run at home since the start of May.

Two hitters later, Mitch Garver walked and the Nationals pulled starter Espino with one out for reliever Carl Edwards Jr., who was able to get out of the jam.

Espino threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up the run, six hits and a walk while striking out three.

The sixth inning also marked the end of the night for Rangers starter Dunning, who was left with a no-decision after the Rangers tied the game. He went six innings, giving up seven hits, one run and one walk while striking out four. Dunning completed six innings for the third time in his last five starts.

"In the sixth I had two mistake pitches," Dunning said. "That's about it." 

The Rangers continue their series with Washington on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. by wearing 1972 throwback uniforms. The Rangers don’t have a scheduled starter and will use a bullpen game. The Rangers are expected to activate Glenn Otto to start Sunday.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

Catch up with Inside the Rangers on Facebook and Twitter.

Rangers Lose to Nationals in Series Opener

Texas and Washington play a close game decided with an RBI double in the eighth inning

ARLINGTON — The Texas Rangers lost to the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Friday night at Globe Life Field.

The game was the first of three between the Rangers (33-36) and the Nationals (26-47) this weekend.

The Nationals broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth with Rangers reliever Dennis Santana on the mound. He gave up a leadoff double to Juan Soto, who drove a pitch into the left-center field gap. Josh Bell followed with a ground-ball single up the middle, scoring Soto from second and giving the Nationals the lead.

After Santana (3-3) struck out Nelson Cruz, Rangers manager Chris Woodward went back to the bullpen to bring in Brett Martin. Luis García grounded to Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, who was playing in a shift, and he tagged out Bell running to second and then threw out García to end the inning.

The Rangers had a baserunner at second base in the bottom of the eighth but couldn’t get him home.

Nationals reliever Tanner Rainey gave up a one-out walk to Rangers pinch-hitter Josh H. Smith in the bottom of the ninth, followed by a Brad Miller single to right, which advanced Smith to third base. Miller, now the winning run, was replaced for pinch-runner Charlie Culberson.

Marcus Semien then popped out to third base, followed by Corey Seager’s flyout to center field which ended the game.

"We had chances to win tonight," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "Their (Washington's) record really doesn't matter. We have to play good baseball. Dane (Dunning) pitched well. I'll take our bullpen over theirs. I'll take our hitters over theirs, too. That's a missed opportunity."

Before the eighth, the game was marked by missed opportunities and solid starts from Washington’s Paolo Espino and Texas’ Dane Dunning, though neither factored into the decision.

Through the first four innings, each team had five hits, but neither managed to score a run. Rangers center fielder Adolis García threw out Cruz at home plate in the fourth, which was the closest either team got to scoring a run.

The Nationals scored the game’s first run in the top of the sixth on a RBI double by Luis García, which scored Josh Bell. Bell doubled earlier in the inning, and García’s gap shot to right-center field was more than enough to bring Bell home.

But Adolis García answered to lead off the sixth with a line drive home run to left field, tying the game. Earlier in the game he extended his home hitting streak to eight games. It was also his sixth home run at home since the start of May.

Two hitters later, Mitch Garver walked and the Nationals pulled starter Espino with one out for reliever Carl Edwards Jr., who was able to get out of the jam.

Espino threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up the run, six hits and a walk while striking out three.

The sixth inning also marked the end of the night for Rangers starter Dunning, who was left with a no-decision after the Rangers tied the game. He went six innings, giving up seven hits, one run and one walk while striking out four. Dunning completed six innings for the third time in his last five starts.

"In the sixth I had two mistake pitches," Dunning said. "That's about it." 

The Rangers continue their series with Washington on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. by wearing 1972 throwback uniforms. The Rangers don’t have a scheduled starter and will use a bullpen game. The Rangers are expected to activate Glenn Otto to start Sunday.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

Catch up with Inside the Rangers on Facebook and Twitter.