via Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON — Rangers starter Mike Minor was excellent in setting a club record for consecutive scoreless innings at home, and the offense once again worked over the Mariners’ pitching. But there was also some intrigue at the end of a 10-9 victory on Monday night at Globe Life Park.
Minor, given five runs in the first inning, began his start by throwing five scoreless innings — that gave him a club record streak of 29 consecutive scoreless innings at Globe Life Park — before he gave up two runs in the sixth. The previous club mark was 25 2/3 innings by former Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Minor had not allowed a run at Globe Life Park since the Cubs scored six runs off him in the fifth inning on Opening Day. The left-hander is now 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in five home starts.
“That’s cool, yeah,” Minor said. “No, I don’t do anything different. I try to do the same thing on the road and then here, so I keep the same routine.”
Minor was more frustrated at not only giving up two runs in the sixth, but having the long inning drive up his pitch count and force an early exit from the game. He ended up throwing 107 pitches and left with a 7-2 lead.
“I was frustrated just because of giving up two runs and only going six innings,” Minor said. “I felt like I could have gone deeper in the game and I didn’t. And the way that I felt and the way I was throwing the ball, the numbers didn’t reflect how I felt, I guess.”
The Rangers, who scored a combined 29 runs in their previous two games against the Mariners in April in Seattle, tied a season high by hitting five home runs in the series opener on Monday. Asdrúbal Cabrera hit two and Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo and Hunter Pence each hit one.
Cabrera and Odor went back to back in the first and Pence and Gallo did so in the seventh.
This is the sixth time in club history that the Rangers hit back-to-back home runs twice in one game. The last time was Aug. 7, 2009, against the Angels from the combinations of Josh Hamilton/Hank Blalock and Omar Vizquel/Michael Young.
This also marked the ninth time Cabrera has hit two home runs in a game in his career and he has nine in 22 home games this season. That is the most home runs at home by any player in the American League this season.
The Rangers did most of their damage against Mariners starter Mike Leake. He was the losing pitcher in a 15-1 loss to the Rangers in Seattle on April 27, and he has allowed 16 runs (12 earned) in 10 innings against them.
“I know we hit [Leake] really hard last time, but we figured he would come out and make some adjustments against our lineup,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It was impressive to see our guys attack the strike zone early with him. We knew that he was going to try to maybe do something a little bit different, and we were ready for him.”
The Rangers had a 10-2 lead after seven, but Shelby Miller, after setting down the side in the order in the seventh, gave up a grand slam to Tim Beckham in the eighth. Chris Martin took over in the ninth inning, but the Mariners scored three off him, including a two-run, two-out home run by Daniel Vogelbach that made it a one-run game.
At that point, Woodward had Jose Leclerc up in the bullpen in preparation for a potential save situation. But Martin retired Beckham on a grounder to end the game. Woodward said Leclerc was warming up out of necessity rather than getting ready to move into his old role as closer.
“I mean, if it was a save situation right there, Martin was gonna get the ball,” Woodward said. “Leclerc is close. Right now, most likely, it’s going to be a situation like that where we’re out of necessity, or somebody’s down from two days, where he has to take on that role; that’s kind of how I envisioned it getting back to him, and then seeing how he responds.
“He’s been pitching really well, so he’s going to pitch in leverage spots, something a little more heavy. Maybe seventh, eighth inning, game on the line, top of the lineup, that kind of thing. Because I feel like he’s in a good spot.”