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Thursday newsletter time: Rangers waste strong outing from Jon Gray in extra-innings loss to Rays

(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)

 

ARLINGTON — A well-pitched game like the one Wednesday night at Globe Life Field will frequently produce some hideous offensive numbers with runners in scoring position, and the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays lived to that up.

Or should it be down to that?

The two clubs went 3 for 25 with runners in scoring position, with many of those chances coming in extra innings with the free runner at second base.

And, true to many outcomes in a well-pitched game, the team that did the best in those situations prevalied.

Tampa Bay sent the Rangers back below .500 with a 4-3 win in 11 innings by capitalizing on their chance in the 11th and keeping the Rangers’ free runner at second base.

Tampa Bay mustered two hits in 13 tries with runners in scoring position. The Rangers went 1 for 12.

That was the ballgame.

“It’s something that as a unit we need to address because we were pretty bad — to say it nicely — with runners on today,” first baseman Nate Lowe said.

Lowe was on the wrong end of a few of those at-bats, bouncing out and striking out in the eighth and 10th with Adolis Garcia at second. Garcia has the only hit with a runner in scoring position, a one-out single in the 10th that tied the game.

Lowe wasn’t the only one who came up empty. Zach Reks flied out with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th, and Marcus Semien, Corey Seager and Jonah Heim didn’t deliver in the 11th.

“We had plenty of opportunities in the 10th and the 11th with some of our best hitters,” manager Chris Woodward said. “We couldn’t come up with a good at-bat. The good news is we keep putting ourselves in these situations and we have to learn from them. You don’t have to be a hero.”

The Rangers wasted the best start so far from Jon Gray, who allowed one run, three hits and two walks while striking out 12 in seven innings. Tampa Bay scored a run off John King in the eighth to knot the score at 2.

Gray pitched without the bulky brace on his lefty knee and could notice a difference.

“It’s much better,” he said. “I didn’t realize until I got it off how much it was holding me back. To get it off and just let go, it felt really good. I feel like I got back to the spot where I’m supposed to be.”

Lowe has some words

Jeffrey Springs couldn’t be any nicer.

The former Rangers reliever never said no to an interview request and was very friendly if you ran into him at spring training or on the road. Just incredibly nice.

So, it’s hard to imagine that he was intentionally throwing up and in at Lowe in the fourth inning. But two balls sailed a little too close to the  Lowe, who remained composed and sent the seventh pitch of the at-bat into the right-field seats.

As he left the batter’s box, he had some strong words for Springs.

“Anybody goes high and tight in the big leagues, it lights your ass on fire,” Lowe said. “It’s just part of it. I don’t really care who’s pitching or who’s playing. You get a couple pitches up there and then hit a homer, you’ve got to let him know.”

Lowe was drafted and signed by the Rays, who traded him after the 2020 season to the Rangers. He was never teammates with Springs, who is in his second season with Tampa Bay.

Bruised but not broken

Left-hander Martin Perez wasn’t going to be in the lineup the day after he tossed seven scoreless innings. Infielder Josh Smith had the first day off of his three-day-old MLB career.

Don’t worry. They’re both fine.

Both had injury scares Tuesday, but they went through their normal pregame work without any issues.

Perez wore some compression over a fairly large bruise on his right leg where he was struck by a second-inning line drive. He stayed in the game and retired the next 16 batters. Smith was hit by a pitch on his right wrist and had a big ice pack on the area after the game, but was wearing only a bruise during batting practice.

“We dodged a bit of a bullet there,” Woodward said of Smith.

Two injuries at Double A Frisco of note, neither serious: 2020 first-round pick Justin Foscue has soreness in his oblique but should spend just the minimum on the seven-day injured list. The same goes for catcher David Garcia, who had swelling in his hand and received a cortisone shot.

ICYMI …

Just when it felt like April had dragged on endlessly, suddenly it’s June and already Thursday. The holiday Monday has made this week go by a little faster, though Rangers Today didn’t have a holiday. We’ve been cranking out our usual assortment of goods, including some videos to go watch at the Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast YouTube page. We’re a little past halfway toward our goals in viewing hours and subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed, do it. It would be greatly appreciated. If reading is your thing, a subscription to Rangers Today starts at $5.99 a month. Here’s our latest, in case you missed it.

Rangers farm report: Streamlining transitions to the majors

T.R.’s Memoirs: A Memorial  Day tale

Rangers notes: Josh Smith up, but where’s Leody Taveras?

Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast: Episode 37 with Brock Burke

Friday on the Farm: Ryan Garcia closing in on return

Spider-Man makes catch of the year

The Sunday Read: Worried about Jack Leiter? Don’t be

Doggy video!

Off the top rope! Enjoy. See you Friday.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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