Tuesday Newsletter time: 11 Rangers batted in the first inning, but the first two keyed the victory
(AP photo/LM Otero)
ARLINGTON — The Rangers sent 11 batters to the plate Monday night in the first inning.
They made Angels starter Noah Syndergaard throw 42 pitches, and the right-hander never made it out of the inning.
The first two batters, though, were the ones who made the inning happen and won the game for the Rangers, 7-4.
Down three runs, Eli White started the Rangers’ first with a single and quickly stole second base against Syndergaard, who is notorious for being awful at holding runners. White continued to dance at second base and twice tried to steal third.
He was unsuccessful only because Marcus Semien was fighting off two-strike pitch after two-strike pitch. He fouled off five of them, in fact, and ended up drawing a walk on the 11th pitch of the plate appearance.
Semien might have gotten some help from White, who was a distraction for Syndergaard to the point where he might have been missing spots with his pitches.
Nevertheless, the first two batters were on and both would score as Corey Seager followed with a single and Adolis Garcia doubled.
The Rangers were on their way.
“That was a long at-bat,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Syndergaard’s been really good this year. For us to knock him out in the first inning, that was obviously a big key to it. If he doesn’t throw  pitches to one guy, he’s not out of the game and we have to deal with him the next three or four innings. That was a critical at-bat. We knew after that we had a chance to get back in the game.”
White and Woodward said they could tell Syndergaard was distracted with White at second base. There was only one pick-off throw, but Syndergaard also faked a move to second and used a slide step on a few pitches.
“I think there was some impact,” White said.
White collected two hits in the inning, which he capped with a two-run single.
That subhead is a reference to Jon Gray’s health, but also applies to his pitching in his first start since leaving with the athletic trainer May 9 at Yankee Stadium.
The best news is that Gray worked into the sixth inning and threw 88 pitches. He struck out eight and didn’t aggravate the left knee sprain that put him on the injured list last month and gave him trouble in New York.
“It held up really well,” the Rangers’ Opening Day starter said. “I had the brace on this time. I don’t feel like I tweaked it at all. I felt like we were in control.”
And he pitched well … after the first inning. And really, the first inning wasn’t terrible.
Gray allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking one. The Angels scored three in the first inning, two on a two-out bloop double that White couldn’t get.
The other run came on a 116.5 mph double by Shohei Ohtani.
But Gray posted a shutdown inning in the second after the Rangers rallied into the lead, and worked a scoreless third that included a strikeout of Ohtani before the Angels scored in the fourth with two outs. Gray got Ohtani again in the fifth.
All signs point toward Gray making his next start on schedule Saturday at Houston.
“I think there probably won’t be a pitch count next game,” Gray said. “I just want to keep feeling healthy.”
Quick: If you heard that an opossum was roaming freely through a major-league ballpark, which one would you guess?
A. Oakland Coliseum
B. Oakland Coliseum
C. Oakland Coliseum
D. All of the above
A critter has been spotted the past two days in the press box at Oakland Coliseum. A dead opossum was found in the visiting TV booth Sunday morning before a relative came looking for him after the Angels-A’s game.
The search apparently intensified Monday, as Twins broadcasters were asked to leave their booth so that an exterminator could hunt down the marsupial.
The Rangers’ next road trip ends with a four-game series at Oakland Coliseum over Memorial Day weekend. Here’s hoping they are up to date on their shots.
He’s going to eat lightning and crap thunder. Outside hopefully. Enjoy. See you Wednesday.
Little Rocky.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/MuUiE6lP6h
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) May 16, 2022
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com