The Texas Rangers scored a beefy 16 runs while the Philadelphia Phillies scored a paltry runs.
The Phillies likely weren’t big fans of the April Fools’ Day joke played on them by home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor today. With an assist from the erratic Bucknor strike zone, a shaky Nathan Eovaldi was able to navigate through five innings in his Rangers debut.
Eovaldi had some runs to play with, however, as Texas scored on the second pitch that they saw this afternoon when Marcus Semien led off with a solo dong off of Phillies’ starter Zack Wheeler. The Rangers got a second run in the 1st and also scored two runs in the bottom of the 3rd to take a 4-0 lead.
The game started to look like it might go the opposite way that Opening Day went, as the Phillies started to rally in the top of the 4th. After putting two runs on the board, Eovaldi buckled down and induced a ground ball out and struck out two to strand the tying runs at second and third base.
The final out of the inning came via a called strike on a 3-2 pitch to Brandon Marsh that appeared well off the plate. It wasn’t the first or last missed call by Bucknor on the day but it was the one that got Philadelphia the most hopping mad while stirring up Twitter.
No call more epitomized the afternoon that ultimately befell Philly than when a 3-1 pitch to Mitch Garver was called a strike despite not being particularly close. Instead of the earned free pass, Garver was forced to see a full count pitch and took it deep for a three-run blast that transformed the game.
Of course, it’s hard to be too mad at an umpire when you lose a game by 13 runs and have to put in a position player to finish out the game, which is eventually what happened to the Phillies after the Rangers scored the final twelve runs of the game.
Eovaldi picked up his first win as a Ranger with Dane Dunning picking up the bullpen with three shutout innings.
The victory gives Texas their first 2-0 start to a season since they began the year 6-0 in 2011. The Rangers are also in first place of the American League West.
Player of the Game: The Rangers had hits up and down the lineup as the bats stayed hot to start the year but none were bigger than the aforementioned Garver whose two-out, three-run bomb in the bottom of the 5th turned a game that had gotten too close for comfort into a comfortable lead for the Texas bullpen that only grew from there.
The most momentum-shifting play in baseball https://t.co/ZvS0ESzhy3— Adam J. Morris (@lonestarball) April 1, 2023
Indeed Garver himself made that home run a little less important by swatting another three-run homer in his next at-bat to finish with six RBIs for the day.
Up Next: The Rangers will be looking for a sweep in the finale with a matchup between LHP Martin Perez for Texas and LHP Bailey Falter for Philly.
Sunday evening’s first pitch from The Shed is scheduled for 6:08 pm CT and can be viewed on ESPN.