Garver's 3-hit day, late rally propel Texas to 7th straight

August 8th, 2023

OAKLAND -- The Rangers have seen their fair share of injuries to impact players this season, but they've been fortunate enough to tap into a deep roster to plug in the holes.

is among the latest reserves to step up. The 32-year-old backstop had his first three-hit game of the season -- and his second as a Ranger -- as Texas came from behind to beat Oakland, 5-3, Monday night at the Coliseum. The Rangers have won seven straight for the first time since 2018.

"These guys are really doing a nice job of grinding out at-bats, finding ways to get on base," manager Bruce Bochy said, "doing the little things to get back in the game or win a game late with these come-from-behind wins."

Since All-Star catcher Jonah Heim went on the injured list with a left wrist tendon strain on July 28, Garver has taken over the starting role and ran with the opportunity. He's riding an eight-game hitting streak, which he extended on Monday with two doubles and a base hit.

"Nice job behind the plate, really doing some good things offensively," Bochy said of Garver. "He's in a good place right now."

Garver played a key role in getting the Rangers back into a game in which they fell behind early. Right-hander Dane Dunning breezed through his first two innings, but he hit a snag in the third. The A's drew two walks and took advantage of Dunning's lapse in command with a pair of RBI doubles that put the Rangers in a 3-0 hole.

When the inning flipped, the Rangers wasted no time in turning up the pressure. Corey Seager led off with a single and Adolis García followed with a double one batter later to put runners on the corners for Garver, who drove them both home on a two-bagger that bounced off the glove of A's center fielder JJ Bleday.

"We gave up three in that third inning, and we came back and scored two right away," said Dunning, who did not allow another run the rest of the way and logged his ninth quality start. "For me, I was like, 'I need to go out there and really put a zero down and try to get the ball rolling, that momentum back on our side.'"

Garver again sparked a decisive inning by leading off the eighth with a single, his third hit of the game. Bochy opted to go with a pinch-runner in Garver's place, sending in Jonathan Ornelas -- the Rangers’ No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline, who was called up when Josh Jung went on the 10-day injured list ahead of the series opener.

Following a walk and a sacrifice bunt, Ornelas scored what ended up being the winning run from third on Travis Jankowski's RBI fielder's choice. After the game, Ornelas admitted that it wasn't quite the way he had imagined making his Major League debut, but he was just happy to contribute.

"I'm here. I'm playing," Ornelas said. "Any way that I can help a team win, I'm here to do my part, you know what I mean?"

That sentiment has been prevalent for the Rangers, who have had to fight through a good deal of adversity this season. Texas leads Houston by three games in the American League West and sits a season-high 21 games over .500, but things have not gone entirely according to plan.

The Rangers' splashiest offseason acquisition, Jacob deGrom, made only six starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Seager has lived up to his superstar billing, but his two injured list stints were a cause for concern.

Now, Texas has three 2023 All-Stars on the injured list in Heim, Jung and Nathan Eovaldi.

Each time a Ranger has gone down, someone else on the roster has stepped up. It hasn't been a matter of if it will happen, but when. 

"I've been watching it on TV all year long, and … it's nice to be a part of it," Ornelas said. "These guys have been resilient all year. They're good teammates, they play well together, so it's nice to be a part of that culture. I'm glad I'm here."