Good news: the Rangers have been getting some great pitching in July. They haven’t allowed more than four runs (and only twice has it been as many as four) since a 7-5 loss to Boston on July 3rd.
Bad news: the offense has been playing the part of your weird college roommate who pops his head in once in awhile, but then also just disappears for days at a time with no explanation, then shows up wearing the same clothes and a totally different haircut and a mustache, pretending like it’s not weird that he hasn’t replied to a text or strung together a meaningful rally in a week.
Tonight it was Andrew Cashner who continued the parade of quality starts, not allowing a hit until a third inning Welington Castillo single. Castillo was erased on a double play, and so was Manny Machado after his single in the fourth. In the fifth, Trey Mancini’s single was the first of the night that didn’t lead to a double play, but he didn’t score either.
By then, the Rangers had a 1-0 lead, thanks to Jonathan Lucroy’s double to the gap in right-center field, scoring Drew Robinson from first base. It might have just been a single, but Adam Jones over-slid as he tried to cut the ball off, and it rolled past him. It also might have been a triple, if Lucroy were just a couple of steps faster. But with two outs and the Rangers leading 1-0, Lucroy was thrown out at third.
Back to Cashner: the Orioles finally broke through in the sixth. With one out, Adam Jones walked, and he advanced to third on another Machado single. Jonathan Schoop then hit a sac fly that Mazara played perfectly, positioning himself to have forward momentum at point of impact. He caught the ball, heaved it to home plate, and the play would have been close, except the ball bounced in and out of Lucroy’s glove. It was 1-1.
It would stay that way for just a half-inning. Seth Smith hit a solo home run in the seventh, and after a weird Castillo single-turned-double (Rougned Odor was not expecting a short throw from cutoff man Elvis Andrus), Cashner was removed in favor of Jeremy Jeffress. He left the game having pitched 6⅔ innings, allowing six hits, striking out three, and walking two. He had allowed two runs.
That number would become three just three pitches later. Jeffress allowed a Tejada single, and Castillo scored.
The Rangers, meanwhile, continued to muster a grand total of nothing, first against starter Chris Tillman, and then against a trio of Baltimore relievers. Texas amassed a total of three hits, two of which were singles by Adrian Beltre, who inched ever-closer to 3,000 (he’s at 2,982).
Texas and Baltimore continue the series tomorrow when Tyson Ross and Dylan Bundy face off.