When the Rangers got down 4-1 against one of the best pitchers in the National League, a pitcher who hadn’t allowed an earned run since April 4, it looked a bit grim.
But, they did score a run off Zac Gallen in the first to break his twenty-four-inning scoreless streak. And this is a Rangers team that is starting to believe in itself.
It’s just a matter of chipping away and let pitch count baseball work in your favor. A manager will always remove a dominating pitcher when his pitch count starts to get past ninety. Always.
Arizona’s Zac Gallen was at an unheard of ninety-four pitches after five innings. Much to the delight of Rangers hitters, he was immediately removed from the game.
The door to victory graciously opened to them by the Diamondbacks manager, Texas Rangers hitters walked in.
They scored two more off an obviously out-of-gas Gallen in the fifth to make it 4-3. Then, they went to work on the Diamondbacks bullpen. With two outs, nonetheless.
After Adolis Garcia grounded out and Josh Jung struck out, Jonah Heim worked a single to set up Ezequiel Duran’s game-winning two-run homer to turn around the score, making it 5-4, Texas.
They played small ball in the bottom of the seventh to add an insurance run. Bubba Thompson singled. Marcus Semien walked. Travis Jankowski sacrificed them over.
But when Nathaniel Lowe struck out, it seemed the rally might have been snuffed out.
Arizona’s pitcher Kevin Ginkel unleased a wild pitch to allow Bubba to score and the Rangers had some breathing room.
Their bullpen, which had been so bad just a week ago, kept the Diamondbacks from scoring for 3.2 innings in relief of Jon Gray, who wasn’t all that sharp.
The Rangers moved their winning streak to four games, matching that four-game skid that started with the bullpen implosion in Cincinnati, putting them back to seven games over .500.
They haven’t started this strong since 2016. Which, not coincidentally, was the last time they made the playoffs.
It’s too early to print up playoff tickets. But not too early to call the printer and ask them to order ticket stock just in case.