The Rangers have fought their way back to the .500 mark, while the Phillies continue their slide in the National League East.
Yu Darvish allowed one run in seven innings and the Rangers won their seventh straight with a 5-1 victory over the Phillies at Globe Life Park on Tuesday. The Rangers are now 20-20 on the season, the first time they have been at the .500 mark. The winning streak is the longest active in the Major Leagues but they have been able to gain just one game on the first-place Astros in the American League West during that time.
"The significance is this is the level we have to get to to get where we want to go," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "More than anything is the significance of continuing to win baseball games. I like the way we are playing."
• Darvish makes history with 50th career win
The Phillies were 11-9 on April 27, but have now lost 13 of their last 16 games. They are a season-high 10 games behind the Nationals in the NL East after managing just four hits against Darvish and relievers Alex Claudio and Matt Bush.
Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff took the loss despite a quality start, allowing three runs, two earned, over six innings. Eickhoff was originally drafted by the Rangers before being one of six players traded to the Phillies for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman on July 31, 2015.
"It definitely wasn't just another start," Eickhoff said.
Nomar Mazara put the Rangers up with his sixth home run in the first, and Mike Napoli gave the Rangers extra cushion in the eighth with a two-run shot.
"I'm really glad by the way we came back home and the way we approached the whole homestand," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We still got two more games, and believe me, our mentality is to win those two. So we're really feeling a lot better now that we're even. As a team, it's a great beginning for us, just to keep pushing that good momentum."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Former teammate takes Eickhoff deep: Eickhoff never pitched for the Rangers but was facing a few teammates from his time in their farm system. Mazara was one of them, and he welcomed Eickhoff to Arlington in the first inning by hitting a 1-0 slider into the upper deck in right field to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. The home run, Mazara's sixth of the year, had an exit velocity of 104 miles per hour, with a projected distance by Statcast™ of 444 feet.
"I was trying and looking for a pitch middle-in and try to hit it hard, and that's what I did," Mazara said.
Rupp throwing error costly: Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp's throwing error led to an unearned run in the fourth after the Rangers had Rougned Odor on second and Napoli at first with one out and Robinson Chirinos at the plate. Rupp tried to pick off Napoli at first, and the throw ended up in right field. The runners moved up one base, then Odor scored on Chirinos' slow grounder to third.
"I saw him in Spring Training. He was in the Minor Leagues, but in big league camp. I know he was a big-time prospect. He looks really smart."
-- Darvish, on Eickhoff
"He's got probably --arguably -- the best slider in baseball, in my opinion. When that's the first time a team sees him, it's got to be tough, especially the way he located it. It's a tough pitch to hit, even when you've seen him before. But when a team like us hasn't seen him before, it can be tough."
-- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, on Darvish
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Mark Leiter pitched a scoreless inning for the Phillies in the seventh before giving up Napoli's home run in the eighth. It was his fifth Major League appearance. His dad, Mark Leiter Sr., made his Major League debut against the Rangers in Arlington on July 24, 1990, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the Yankees. That was at the old Arlington Stadium, and the Yankees lineup included Don Mattingly and Deion Sanders.
After drawing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth inning, Delino DeShields appeared to get picked off at first base by Eickhoff. Banister challenged the call, and it was overturned. Banister has been successful in his last six challenges and 11 of 16 overall. DeShields ended up scoring on Jonathan Lucroy's two-out double.
Phillies: Right-hander Zach Eflin (0-0, 2.81 ERA) pitches the second game of the three-game series against the Rangers at 8:05 p.m. ET. He has delivered since he replaced Clay Buchholz in the Phillies' rotation last month, pitching six or more innings in four of his five starts. He has not allowed more than three runs in any of those starts.
Rangers: Right-hander Andrew Cashner pitches against the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Globe Life Park. He's 3-1 against Philadelphia in his career, with a 2.55 ERA. Cashner is looking for his first win of the season despite his 2.43 ERA.
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