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88-68 - Rangers opt for the long ball to beat Angels 5-1 in opener

The Magic Number is 4

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers scored five runs while the Anaheim Angels scored one run.

For a quite a while there, it looked like the Rangers were heading for another one of those 1-0 Jon Gray outings where Gray carves up a team — a rarer sight in the second half, anyway — while the offense hangs him out to dry.

However, after Angels starter Patrick Sandoval escaped poor command and wiggled out of multiple jams thanks in part to some bad BABIP luck for Texas, the lefty exited with an oblique issue in the top of the 4th.

In the 6th, with the Rangers still trailing 1-0, but now deeper in the Los Angeles bullpen, Adolis Garcia, Mitch Garver, and Nathaniel Lowe went back-to-back-to-back with solo home runs to grab a lead.

An inning later, Marcus Semien would hop on the dong parade with a solo shot of his own. Texas would eventually score another insurance run that was not produced via a home run as Jonah Heim crossed the plate on a wild pitch in the 8th.

Meanwhile, in the other important battle in the division, the Houston Astros bested the Seattle Mariners by this same 5-1 score to stay within two and a half games of Texas. Seattle is now a full four games back of the Rangers, however.

Player of the Game: Ok, so that’s all well and cool and good but here’s the bad news: Gray exited his best outing of the month with a “wrist tightness” after warming up in the bottom of the 7th. That’s, uh, not great for a team that now basically has like half of a Nathan Eovaldi remaining from the Opening Day rotation.

Nevertheless, Gray was excellent tonight before his injury with a 6 IP, 5 H, 1R, 0BB, 7K line on 81 pitches. Here’s hoping the ailment is actually as precautionary as announced.

Up Next: The Rangers will try to shrink the Magic Number some more tomorrow night with a starter to be named (likely Cody Bradford or Martin Perez) going up against August’s slump ignitor Reid Detmers for Anaheim.

The Tuesday night first pitch from Angel Stadium is scheduled for 8:38 pm CT and will be viewable via BS Southwest.