ARLINGTON -- The Rangers were six outs away from another frustrating loss, more questions about their struggling offense and a week-long road trip to the West Coast riding a four-game losing streak.
Then something happened in the bottom of the eighth inning on Wednesday afternoon. The Rangers’ offense finally erupted. They drew big walks, they delivered two-strike hits, they stole bases and Joey Gallo crushed a home run that changed everything.
The Rangers scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth and rallied for a 7-4 victory over the D-backs at Globe Life Field. The seven runs were one more than Texas scored over its first four games, and it snapped its three-game losing streak.
“It’s a huge win,” Gallo said. “You try to keep that energy and that positivity going, but when things aren’t going your way, it’s tough to constantly be up all the time. After [Rougned Odor] got that [leadoff] walk and I hit that home run, it was like a huge energy boost of motivation and a lot of energy going our way.”
The Rangers led, 2-0, after starter Lance Lynn pitched six scoreless, allowing just one hit and two walks. Then the D-backs tied it in the seventh with two runs off reliever Jesse Chavez, and they went ahead in the eighth with two more off Jonathan Hernández.
“It wasn’t like the last couple of games but … it was, 'All right, what are we made of?'” first baseman Todd Frazier said. “It was one of those gut-check times. You’ve got to step up, look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, we’re good. Let’s step up.’ They had opportunities to get us out of that inning, and our wheels kept spinning. Very exciting times. It felt good finally picking up the pitchers.”
The D-backs assigned the eighth to left-hander Andrew Chafin. He was brought in to handle Odor and Gallo. But Odor, after falling behind 0-2 in the count, set up Gallo’s home run by drawing a walk.
Gallo then took a 2-2 fastball and drove it opposite field over the left-field wall. It’s the fifth time in Gallo’s career he has hit a game-tying or go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later.
“Those were huge at-bats,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It kind of snowballs into the havoc we want to create on the basepaths. Everything we talk about we were able to implement today, because of the quality at-bats we had at the end of the game. It’s a huge victory for us. Obviously, we have to stay consistent with the same approach.”
Frazier followed with a double to right for his third extra-base hit of the game as the Rangers took advantage of one of MLB’s rule changes for this season. The D-backs had right-hander Hector Rondón in the bullpen, but they couldn’t bring him in to face Frazier because Chafin had not yet faced three batters.
Rondón came in to face Adolis García, but Shin-Soo Choo pinch-hit and was walked intentionally. Isiah Kiner-Falefa forced Choo out at second with a grounder to shortstop Nick Ahmed, but he beat the throw to first.
That left runners at the corners with one out. Willie Calhoun struck out, Kiner-Falefa stole second base and Jose Trevino walked. That brought up Elvis Andrus with the bases loaded, and he lined a 2-1 single up the middle to put the Rangers ahead. Nick Solak’s single on a 1-2 pitch brought home another run.
“We just strung a lot of hits together and some good at-bats,” Gallo said. “I think it was a great sign that we were finally able to put something together. That is what we can do. We are going to have to score runs that way. “
Texas was 6-for-65 hitting with two strikes coming into the game before the big hits by Gallo and Solak. It’s just another reason why the Rangers were able to relax and finally enjoy themselves after the game.
“Even in the clubhouse, we have music going, everybody is happy and excited,” Gallo said. “We are looking forward to keeping it going. Obviously, it’s better to end it this way than the way it was going.”
Left-hander Mike Minor will pitch against the Giants on Friday at Oracle Park at 8:05 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV. Minor allowed two runs (one earned) over five innings against the Rockies in his first start. The Rangers are 5-15 all-time in regular-season games in San Francisco, plus two losses there in the 2010 World Series.