The Rangers hit three home runs in a game for the first time this season on Sunday, including a mammoth shot by Joey Gallo. The problem was they all came with nobody on base, and Texas' road troubles continued with a 4-3 loss to the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.
The Rangers have lost five straight and are 4-16 on the road. That’s their worst 20-game road start to a season since owning the same mark to begin the 1973 campaign.
“It’s tough, but at this point you just look at the little things you can do to get better every day,” third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa said. “I think our at-bats were better today. As long as we can stay competitive and give ourselves a chance to win, it will help us out mentally.”
The Rangers still found some positives worth reviewing:
Lyles getting better
Right-hander Jordan Lyles had some rough spots on Sunday. He walked leadoff hitter J.P Crawford in the first and gave up a two-run home run to Kyle Seager. That put the Mariners ahead early, and the Rangers trailed the rest of the afternoon. Lyles then walked his final two batters in the seventh, which led to the Mariners' last and deciding run.
The 6 1/3 innings and 97 pitches were still the deepest Lyles has gone this season. He allowed just three hits, including a home run to Kyle Lewis in the fourth. Lyles is signed through next season to be a part of the Rangers' rotation, and they need to see him finish strong. Manager Chris Woodward was encouraged by what he saw on Sunday.
“Aside even from the first inning, he threw the ball pretty well,” Woodward said. “After that, he settled in, used all his pitches, used his breaking ball when he needed to. The command was a lot better. Toward the end of his outing he was a lot better. I know he walked the last two guys, but it seemed like there was more left in the tank at the end. Overall, it’s encouraging. He threw the ball well.”
The monster home run
Gallo’s home run led off the second inning against Seattle starter Justin Dunn, and it was launched down the right-field line with an exit velocity of 113.5 mph. The estimated distance was 433 feet for a ball that landed in the third deck of T-Mobile Park, above the Hit It Here Café.
This was one time when Statcast didn’t really tell the full tale. Gallo is only the fifth player to hit a ball to that deck, joining Mo Vaughn, Carlos Delgado, Daniel Vogelbach and Nomar Mazara.
“That’s incredible,” Seager said. “There’s really no way around it. If you’re going to give 'em up, it might as well be like that. If he’s going to hit it that far, there’s not too many people that can do that. [Franklin Gutierrez] hit a ball in Cincinnati once that was probably the best ball I’ve ever seen, but the one today was pretty close. I’d have to rewatch them, but that was a pretty special one.”
The home run was Gallo’s first since Aug. 19, snapping a 14-game drought. That was his longest span without a home run since Sept. 2-16, 2017.
“He felt better with his swing and the things he has been working on in the cage,” Woodward said. “Yesterday he opened up about a few things, and as did our staff with him. Made him understand, ‘Your chase percentage isn’t high. You got an elite percentage. You are doing a lot of good things, we just have to figure out how to get those balls forward that are in the zone.’ He felt better about it going into today ... his at-bats looked better, his swings looked better.”
The Rangers had seven hits and five walks. They were 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position but also had home runs from Leody Taveras and Ronald Guzmán, giving them five in two games. Sunday was part of only the second time this season the Rangers hit multiple home runs in consecutive games.
“I know we've had our struggles offensively, but today and yesterday, honestly, I liked our execution of our game plan,” Woodward said. “Today we got some walks, we stayed in the strike zone, and when we hit it, we hit it hard. It's one of those things where this year, for some reason, we're having trouble finding holes, but I did like our consistency in our at-bats.
“It was one after the other that we were staying in the strike zone and applying pressure, working the counts. We're still applying pressure, which we need to keep doing.”