Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Jurado's resilience, Santana's slam thump A's

@Sullivan_Ranger
July 26, 2019

OAKLAND -- Rangers pitcher Ariel Jurado did not crater after a rough first inning. Instead, manager Chris Woodward and catcher Tim Federowicz said Jurado seemed to get mad. Jurado said he just relaxed. No matter which was the real demeanor, there was no doubting that Jurado definitely began “attacking hitters”

OAKLAND -- Rangers pitcher Ariel Jurado did not crater after a rough first inning. Instead, manager Chris Woodward and catcher Tim Federowicz said Jurado seemed to get mad.

Jurado said he just relaxed. No matter which was the real demeanor, there was no doubting that Jurado definitely began “attacking hitters” and filling up the strike zone, and his offensive teammates were able to reward him for his tenacity.

Box score

Jurado allowed three runs in the first inning, and then started mowing through the Athletics over seven innings on his way to an 11-3 victory on Thursday night at the Oakland Coliseum. Jurado had been 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in his last four outings before getting his first victory since June 27.

“First inning, it looked like was tentative, feeling for his pitches, kind of yanking some balls, not attacking hitters,” Woodward said. “From the second inning, it looked like he said, ‘Screw it. I have to go after these guys.’ You see the results. Really good outing for him and it’s going to build up confidence for his next outing. Hopefully he can take that same mentality from the last six innings into the first inning next time.”

The Rangers trailed, 3-0, after four against Athletics starter Brett Anderson before scoring five in both the fifth and sixth innings. Danny Santana had a two-run double in the fifth and a grand slam in the sixth, the first of his career. The six RBIs also set a career high. Throw in a first-inning single and he was the classic “triple shy” of the cycle.

“This was the best game of my career,” Santana said, and this one had to rate highly for Jurado, too, after his recent struggles.

“Whether you have a good game or a bad game, you have to learn from it,” Jurado said. “This one is over, I have to get ready for the next one.”

Jurado allowed four of the first five batters reach base -- on a single by Marcus Semien, walks to Matt Chapman and Mark Canha and a two-run single to Ramon Laureano. Khris Davis drove in the third run with a sacrifice fly, but that also marked the turning point for Jurado.

Beginning with Davis, Jurado retired 19 of the last 21 batters he faced. Josh Phegley had a one-out single in the second and was erased trying to steal second by Federowicz. The only other baserunner against Jurado after that came in the sixth when Federowicz couldn’t catch Matt Olson’s high popup for an error.

“I think he really found that command of his fastball,” Federowicz said. “He was going right after guys. You could see the intent in his eyes, and he was executing. Once he settled in, he was lights-out. We started mixing his breaking ball in, but once he got the fastball going, that’s all he needed.”

Jurado turned his night around by filling up the strike zone. He threw 27 pitches in the first inning and only 13 were strikes. Over the final six innings, he threw 81 pitches and 60 were strikes.

“In the first inning, he wasn’t attacking the strike zone so maybe their guys thought he was going to nibble,” Woodward said. “They have really good hitters but if you get ahead of them, every hitter is weaker if they are behind in the count. I thought he did a good job attacking. His tempo changed, his demeanor changed and you could see their hitters were a little off guard.”

Jurado took advantage of the Athletics’ patience by getting 25 called strikes. That’s five more than he had in any other outing this season. His 23.1 rate of called third strikes was the second-highest by a Rangers pitcher this year for a minimum of 100 pitches thrown. Lance Lynn had 24.8 percent on 26 called strikes over 105 pitches on April 5.

“It was surprising because usually when we get off to a good start like that, it ends up being a really good game for us,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. “It just kind of had that feeling early on where we could be pretty relentless. But he started to get the ball down a little more, got some high strikes and low strikes, and settled in with some good movement on the ball.”

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.