Rangers rout Yankees to finish April atop AL West

3B Jung launches first career grand slam as Texas secures best start since 2013

April 30th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- Rangers rookie has long been seen as the club’s third baseman of the future. Texas hasn’t had a consistent player at the hot corner since retired after the 2016 season, but Jung is looking to fulfill that mantle.

In the first inning of Sunday’s 15-2 win over the Yankees, Jung became the first Rangers third baseman to hit a grand slam since Beltré himself did it on Aug. 15, 2016. And that was just the start of Texas’ power hour.

Jung’s slam went a Statcast-projected 368 feet to the opposite field as he became the 16th rookie in club history to hit one.

“That felt amazing,” Jung said postgame. “I've never had a grand slam at any level, so it's pretty cool. … I'd seen [Yankees starter Nestor Cortes’] slider a couple times, so as soon as I saw it pop out of his hand, I just went for it.”

“He's so strong, he can hit it out to any part of the ballpark,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy added. “When he hit it, we knew it was out; that's how strong he is. He's a good hitter -- he can pull it, he can go the other way on it. He’s just had a great month. He’s done a tremendous job.”

After being swept by the Reds in Cincinnati to start the week, the Rangers returned to Arlington looking to right the ship. They did so in emphatic fashion, capping off a series win over the Yankees with a four-homer performance on Sunday afternoon to finish the month of April with a 17-11 record and sole possession of first place in the American League West.

“I really thought it was important,” Bochy said of the series. “We bounced back and showed that we had the capability -- not that I had any doubt, but when you have a really tough series like we had in Cincinnati, we were able to come back against a good team and play some really good ball. I mean, we pitched well, we swung the bats well, the defense was good. It was just a great series for us.”

The Rangers hit three homers in the fifth inning alone on Sunday, including back-to-back blasts from and .  followed two batters later with a solo shot of his own.

In all, Texas’ offense produced 11 hits -- eight of which went for extra bases -- while also drawing eight walks. Jung, Heim and García all logged multihit days.

“[I saw] the potential we have every single night,” Jung said. “Nestor is a really good pitcher and it felt like we kind of suffocated him there. Which, if we could do that day in and day out, that's October baseball-type stuff. So I mean, truly one through nine, it was just a great day for us.”

Amid the offensive outburst was another quality start from Martín Pérez, who tossed six innings of one-run ball on just 70 pitches. If it wasn’t for the Rangers’ long six-run sixth, he could have potentially become the second Texas pitcher to throw a complete game this series, joining Nathan Eovaldi.

The southpaw has now logged five or more innings and allowed three or fewer runs in each of his six starts this season, good for a 2.41 ERA. He became the first Ranger to open a season with six or more starts of that manner since Lance Lynn in 2020 (seven straight).

“I felt good,” Pérez said. “We've been playing games like this one, and as a starter, we want to come here and go deep into games. That's a big thing for us. That’s what we try to do every time.”

The Rangers secured one of the best starts in club history, matching the best mark through the end of April since 2013 (17-11). It matches Texas’ second highest win total by the end of April (2013, 2012, 1989). The only higher win total was 18 in 1998, when the Rangers won the AL West for just the third time in club history.

Texas also closes the month with a plus-72 run differential, good for the highest run differential through the first 28 games of a season in Senators/Rangers franchise history (the previous high was plus-58 in 1998).

“When we were flying back from Cincinnati, our plan was to just win here,” Pérez said. “I think in all four games this series, we played good baseball. It’s important for us as a team because winning games against a contender [like the Yankees] is what we need. We need to move forward and keep winning games.”