'Good step forward': 3 homers hit in loss

July 31st, 2021

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers played their first game with Joey Gallo officially part of another organization Friday night. But that didn’t stop the dingers.

Though they fell, 9-5, to the Mariners at Globe Life Field, Texas hitters still belted balls into the stands. After falling behind 7-0 in the top of the third, home runs from Adolis García and Jonah Heim in the sixth inning and Jason Martin in the seventh kept the Rangers in the game until the last out.

“Anytime you lose a guy like Joey, and obviously, you can't replace him, but I feel like everybody's got to kind of ... bring something to the table,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “Obviously, one through nine, we’ve got to be better. And sometimes, when you lose a guy like that, it forces almost like a collective agreement between the guys to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to be better as a group.’  

“It may be nothing said, but I thought our hitters' meeting was one of the better ones all year. Guys were really vocal about that. Guys are taking ownership of it. I still think we’ve got a long way to go, but that's the goal: to be consistent. I thought today was a good step forward.”

García, now the Rangers’ lone All-Star after trading Gallo and pitcher Kyle Gibson, went 2-for-4 at the plate, snapping a 12-game homerless and RBI-less streak. First baseman Nathaniel Lowe also had a multihit day, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning.

García’s 23 home runs are the third most for a Rangers rookie, behind just Pete Incaviglia’s 30 in 1986 and Mark Teixeira’s 26 in 2003.

The Rangers scored at least one run in each of the fourth through seventh innings, but weren’t able to break through the early 7-0 deficit. Woodward, though, believes guys are making adjustments and having better at-bats, even if the results don’t show up every day.

“There's obviously some fight, especially after falling down 7-0," Woodward said. “It would have been easy to pack that one in. Honestly, we [were] a couple swings away, maybe, from getting back into that game and actually giving us a chance to maybe tie the game. It's nice to see our offense hit some balls hard. ... Hopefully, we can carry that over tomorrow, too.”

He specifically pointed to Martin, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate, as somebody who is seizing an opportunity with Gallo gone. Woodward said that Martin has made some specific adjustments that have allowed him to produce better and more consistent at-bats.

Martin’s 421-foot solo shot was the lone run scored in the seventh inning, and it was Martin’s first homer of the season off a pitcher. He hit a home run in the Rangers’ 12-1 win over the Dodgers on June 12, but it came off of infielder Andy Burns.  

Woodward added that Martin’s work has paid off, and he’s clearly earned more playing time.  

“He just comes in, steps up and has a great game,” Woodward said. “I want to see this kid. I love his makeup. He made a couple of adjustments ... from his first at-bat to his second. It immediately paid off, and he ended up driving two balls, one out of the park and one for a double.” 

Rangers starter Kolby Allard struggled mightily, tossing 73 pitches in just three innings. He gave up seven runs, though only six of them were earned, and walked three batters. Woodward said the biggest issue for Allard is avoiding the “big inning” and not letting things spiral after a few big hits.

“Whether that's mental or physical, they kind of go hand in hand,” Woodward said. “If you can control yourself emotionally and compose yourself, typically, your body will follow. So that's something he has to work on. He's going to have a golden opportunity to show that he can start.”