Allard goes 6 1/3 scoreless for 2nd Rangers win

Calhoun, Santana hit 2-run homers in Texas' shutout victory

August 25th, 2019

CHICAGO -- Rangers rookie left-hander made his fifth Major League start on Saturday night and pitched like a savvy veteran well beyond the age of 22.

This is what the good ones look like, no matter how long they have been in the big leagues. Allard used four pitches with superb execution and command to throw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. A pair of two-run home runs by Willie Calhoun and Danny Santana provided the run support.

Allard attacked with his four-seam fastball, even though the White Sox knew it was his strength. His cutter was superb, and he mixed in his changeup and curveball when needed. He allowed six hits, did not issue a walk and struck out eight.

“He has been pitching really well since he has been here, but I thought today he had a game plan,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said, “That team hits lefties pretty well. For him to do what he did speaks volumes, because he was obviously on today. His stuff was playing really well.”

Allard’s cutter was much better than his last outing against the Angels, when he allowed seven runs in five innings. His cutter was flat in that outing, especially early in the game. This time, it had more depth and he used it on both sides of the plate. Five of his eight strikeouts came on the cutter, and the White Sox put only four cut fastballs in play.

“Me and [catcher Jeff Mathis] had a good game plan going into it, and we did a pretty good job executing it, moving the fastball around and throwing the cutter off it,” Allard said. “We had some success with it and got to keep it rolling.”

Allard had only nine swing-and-misses on 99 pitches, but he had 18 called strikes while working the edges of the plate.

“Execution,” Woodward said. “Typically, when hitters aren’t swinging ... if they are taking his fastball, you know he is executing in spots they can’t hit. He had a plan to use both sides of the plate. He likes to pitch in, but he knows he has to go away, and that cutter today had that depth. It’s a swing-and-miss pitch when he throws it well.”

Allard also used his curveball more at the request of Woodward and pitching coach Julio Rangel. He threw only 10 curves in his first three starts for the Rangers, but that could give him another offspeed offering against the fastball and cutter.

“Obviously, these are Major League hitters,” Allard said. “The more weapons you’ve got in your back pocket, the more ways you can get people out and the longer you are going to hang around and the more success you are going to have.”

Defense also helped. Rangers center fielder Scott Heineman prevented the White Sox from scoring in the fifth by racing to the wall and taking away an extra-base hit from Tim Anderson to end the inning. Shin-Soo Choo also made some difficult catches in right.

Allard’s outing came after fellow rookie left-hander Brock Burke pitched six scoreless innings in his MLB debut this past Tuesday against the Angels. The last time the Rangers had two six-plus-inning scoreless outings in a week from a pair of rookies was Sept. 23-24, 2014, from right-handers Nick Martinez (6 2/3 innings) and Lisalverto Bonilla (six).

Allard improved to 2-0 with a 4.64 ERA in four starts since being acquired from the Braves on July 30.

“He threw the ball well,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He threw a lot better than we had seen. He was actually much more effective. His fastball could get on top of you, was a little sneaky, and then using his [cutter] underneath to get some outs. He did a nice job. Tip your cap to him, kept us completely at bay."