Big knock eludes hard-hitting Rangers in shutout loss

June 25th, 2023

NEW YORK -- The Rangers lead the Major Leagues in runs with 455. However, they were blanked, 1-0, by the Yankees on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. It marked the sixth time Texas was held scoreless this season.

It’s not like the Rangers were helpless on this day. They had big chances to score in the first, eighth and ninth innings, but they didn’t touch home plate. In fact, Texas went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

“The big hit just eluded us,” said Rangers manager Bruce Bochy. “We had the right guys up there late in the ballgame. You couldn’t ask for a better situation. [The Yankees] pitched out of it. It’s baseball.”

Texas had its first chance to score in the first inning. With right-hander Luis Severino on the mound, the Rangers had runners on first and second with two outs. Josh Jung singled to right field, and Nathaniel Lowe tried to score from second, but right fielder Jake Bauers threw a strike to catcher Kyle Higashioka and nailed Lowe at the plate.

“You get a big hit there with two outs -- it’s not an auto send, but … it’s not that easy of a read. But I will say that [the Yankees] do play shallow. The guy came up and threw a strike,” Bochy said.

The Rangers’ offense was silenced during the next six innings before it had a chance to at least tie the game in the final two. In the eighth, Texas put runners on first and second with no outs against left-hander Wandy Peralta. But after Lowe struck out, Clay Holmes relieved Peralta and got out of the inning by getting a groundout from Adolis García and striking out Jung.

In the ninth, Texas again had runners on first and second with no outs. But Ron Marinaccio picked up his second save of the season by striking out Ezequiel Duran and Leody Taveras and inducing Marcus Semien to pop up to second baseman Gleyber Torres.

“I feel like we always give ourselves opportunities. It's just a matter of if we get it done or not. Today, we didn’t get it done,” Semien said. “We played great defense. We pitched the ball well. We had good at-bats. We just didn’t have timely at-bats. That’s going to happen throughout the year. I think we have been playing great baseball, putting ourselves in position to win every single day. Today wasn’t one of those days.”

Right-hander pitched well enough to keep the Rangers in the game. It was his second 1-0 loss this season, after June 7 against the Cardinals.

Gray pitched five solid innings and allowed one run on three hits and two walks against New York. It was a nice comeback from his last start on Sunday, when he allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays at Globe Life Field. Even better news was that Gray didn’t have problems with the blister on his pitching hand that caused him to miss a start earlier this month.

“[The hand] held up really well. I clipped one piece of skin off of it today. It’s really tough, so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue,” he said.  

Gray’s only blemish against the Yankees was a solo home run by Billy McKinney in the fourth inning. Gray threw a fastball on the inside part of the plate, but McKinney hit the ball into the right-field seats.

“I threw it right into his wheelhouse. He made me pay. It was a good swing,” Gray said.   

Gray felt he competed well against New York, but he had a tough time locating his breaking pitches, especially the slider.  

“I’ll figure out a way to correct it,” Gray said.  “I threw some good ones tonight, but I felt they weren’t all good. We’ll try to find a way to make those pitches efficient and look for the early-in-the-count outs.”