Texas Rangers take home-opening series against Blue Jays with back-to-back wins

Baseball fans watch a game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays on April 6 at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Fans at the ballpark are required to wear masks except when actively eating or drinking at their seats, according to the Texas Rangers website.

The Texas Rangers (3-3) bats came to life in the final two games of their home-opening series against the Toronto Blue Jays (3-3) at Globe Life Field.

After a sellout crowd at the home opener with over 38,000 fans, attendance dwindled lower and lower during the series. Tuesday night’s game had 18,585 people in the seats while Wednesday’s 1:05 p.m. start had a draw of 16,876.

The Rangers hit a season-high four home runs on their way to a 7-4 win over the visiting team in game two of the series.

A solo home run off the bat of shortstop Bo Bichette gave the Blue Jays an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.

That would be the only run allowed by Rangers starting pitcher Dane Dunning. In five innings pitched he gave up three hits while striking out six.

Rangers designated hitter Nate Lowe hit a home run to left center field in the bottom of the first inning, scoring shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and making the score 2-1.

An inning later, Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzmán increased the team’s lead to 3-1 with a home run to right field.

Lowe picked up his second home run of the game and third of the season in the third inning. The home run also scored left fielder David Dahl, pushing the Rangers advantage to 5-1.

The two-run score gave Lowe his 14th RBI through five games, the most for a player in their first five games with a franchise since at least 1920.

Lowe finished the game having gone 2-3 at the plate with two runs and four RBIs.

“I feel like I’m a product of this team being a team,” Lowe said. “I don’t get RBIs if Dahl’s not in scoring position, if [Joey] Gallo’s not on base, if [Kiner-Falefa’s] not leading the game off with a hit.”

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings, the Rangers added one more run in the sixth when catcher Jonah Heim hit his first career home run to make it 6-1.

The Blue Jays added one run in the seventh and eighth innings, narrowing the lead to 6-4 before the Rangers took to the plate in the bottom half of the eighth inning.

Third baseman Brock Holt drove in the final run of the game with a single to left field that scored infielder Nick Solak.

Rangers pitcher Ian Kennedy closed out the ninth inning on only eight pitches and earned the save for his efforts.

Wednesday’s game

The roof at Globe Life Field was open for the final game of the series between the Rangers and Blue Jays on Wednesday.

The Rangers won back-to-back games for the first time this season as they defeated the Blue Jays 2-1.

Kyle Gibson took to the mound for the Rangers to start the game and in six innings of work he recorded eight strikeouts and didn’t give up any runs.

Gibson’s start was a sharp contrast to his last outing on Opening Day against the Kansas City Royals. In that start he allowed five runs, walked three batters and recorded one strikeout before being pulled from the game.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward said after the win that Gibson’s bad start in Kansas City was just Opening Day weirdness; he was never able to get comfortable.

Wednesday’s outing with quality pitches and good stuff are what they were expecting, Woodward said.

Gibson made quick work with the top of the Blue Jays batting order in the first inning, using only 10 pitches to retire Toronto in order.

After trailing to start each game of the series, the Rangers were first on the board Wednesday. Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu gave up a home run to Solak on the second pitch of the second inning to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

Later in the inning, the Rangers made it 2-0 when catcher Jose Trevino scored on a broken-bat single from center fielder Leody Taveras.

After giving up the two runs early in the game, Ryu settled down, striking out seven Rangers in seven innings pitched.

The Blue Jays cut the Rangers lead in half when shortstop Marcus Semien homered off relief pitcher Matt Bush in the eighth inning.

Kennedy came in to close the game for the Rangers in the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out three to earn his second save in a row.

“You gotta be gritty, man,” Woodward said. “If you’re gonna beat good, quality pitching, you can’t give in.”

The Rangers are off Thursday before turning around to host the San Diego Padres (4-3) in a three-game series starting Friday at Globe Life Field.

@elias_valverde

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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