ARLINGTON -- With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning Sunday afternoon, Rangers first baseman Nate Lowe said the only thing that was on his mind was getting a run across the plate no matter what.
The Rangers hadn’t put a run on the board in 14 straight innings against the Orioles, going back to Saturday night’s loss. They finally did when it mattered, with Lowe hitting a walk-off single in the 10th inning to propel Texas to a 1-0 victory and avoid the sweep at Globe Life Field Sunday afternoon.
Lowe was 0-for-3 with a walk before coming to the plate in the 10th inning. It’s the second walk-off of Lowe’s career, the first coming on Sept. 21, 2019, while with the Rays. It’s also the second extra-inning win for the Rangers in less than a week, following a 6-4 win in 10 innings over the Rays on Thursday.
“One thing that Nate's really good at is he doesn't really seem to be bothered if he's 0-for-3 or if he's struck out a couple of times,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He just has quality at-bats. I think in that situation, the last thing on his mind was the fact that he was 0-for-3. I think he's just like, ‘My job right now is to have a quality at-bat and hit a ball to the middle of the field and drive that run in from third.’ Obviously that's what he did, and he made it look easy.”
Lowe said he didn’t come to Texas to “play as bad” as he had been over the previous 10 days. Since the start of the San Diego series on April 9, Lowe was 4-for-33 at the plate. He said it’s been a learning process, but he still expects to go up to the plate and have quality at-bats every game.
It was a pitchers’ duel in Arlington, with both Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson and Baltimore pitcher John Means shutting out their opponents in their starts. Gibson dealt on the mound, going eight full innings and allowing no runs on four hits. He also dished out six strikeouts and surrendered no walks. Means went seven innings, allowing three hits and no runs while striking out nine.
The Rangers struggled all game to hit with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-5 at the plate before the deciding 10th inning. Of Texas’ four regulation hits, Nick Solak had two of them. Woodward said that despite those struggles, he was happy with a lot of the at-bats throughout the game, including a pinch-hit single from Willie Calhoun in the eighth and a nine-pitch walk from Eli White in the fifth.
Some defensive magic in the top of the 10th inning likely sparked the Rangers late in the game. A diving catch from Calhoun in left field helped save a run, and a cannon throw on a single from Adolis García in right field to Jose Trevino behind the plate kept it a scoreless game going into the bottom of the 10th.
“Any time we get some energy and some momentum going our way from a guy making a great play is something that you can take out to the dish with you,” Lowe said. “To see them play as solid defense as they played right there and get those two huge outs, I mean, that's fantastic.”
Lowe said he feels like the Rangers’ slump at the plate -- they only scored four total runs over the three-game Baltimore series -- is over now.
“We did what we needed to do today,” Lowe said. “It may not have been pretty, you know, with only one run, but one run was enough. So we'll take that and go forward, do what we've got to do tomorrow.”