On Memorial Day Weekend, the Texas Rangers had their hands full with the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team who is on fire offensively.
After losing the previous night to the Pirates in an embarrassing 9-1 defeat at home, even with then-undefeated Cole Hamels on the mound, the Rangers looked to bounce back with the much anticipated return of Yu Darvish, and did just that! Texas would go out to a 3-0 early lead after six outs and never looked back, winning their 28th game of the season in a 5-2 victory at Globe Life Park.
When it came to hitting for the Rangers, Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland wouldn’t hold back their power, a home run for each batters. Jurickson Profar led off, in place of the suspended Rougned Odor, and he went 2-for-4, including a triple, and crossed home twice. On the darker side of things, Prince Fielder continued his 1-of-4 struggle as the designated hitter, while Elvis Andrus and rookie sensation Nomar Mazara combined for 0-for-8 with 3 strikeouts.
The stars from Pittsburgh didn’t shine either. Andrew McCutchen hit 1-of-4 with a strikeout, while both Starling Marte and David Freese cancelled the Mazara/Andrus duo out, also going 0-for-8 with 3 strikeouts at the plate.
46,950 were in attendance for the real story on Saturday, the resurgence of Rangers ace Yu Darvish. Darvish’s last game came in August of 2014 and after spending some time rehabbing at the AA affiliate of the Rangers, the Frisco Roughriders, Darvish returned to the mound for 5 innings against the Pirates, facing 19 batters with 81 pitches and only gave up three hits and a walk, striking out a total of seven. Darvish’s return from Tommy John Surgery was deemed a success by Rangers fans, and as great as one can ask for after a pitcher comes off this major surgery, not playing a major league game in nearly two years. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of the reclaim for Yu Darvish, and he doesn’t experience any setbacks this summer. The highly popular pitcher gets credited the win, as the Rangers move on to 28-21.
PITTSBURGH 2 | 7 | 0
TEXAS 5 | 9 | 2
W – Yu Darvish (1-0; 1.80 ERA)
L – Juan Nicaslo (4-4; 4.79 ERA)
The Rangers took the field on Sunday afternoon in the “rubber match” against the Pirates. Martin Perez had to do battle with Francisco Liriano of the Pirates today, and Perez got the better end of the game. Though Perez got the Rangers down 2-0 early, he was aided by 2 homers in the 4th inning that included a 3-run blast by Mitch Moreland to run away with the win, 6-2 tonight in Arlington.
Andrew McCutchen struggled all series long, and even went 1-of-4 tonight, but a line drive to centerfield got McCutchen a double in the 1st inning and brought Jordy Mercer home to go up 1-0. Fast forward two innings and with 2 outs already, David Freese steps up to the plate and hits the first pitch over the wall. With a 2-0 lead, the Rangers looked to be in trouble, much like they were Friday night. However, Prince Fielder, who has struggled with a batting average under .200, put the Rangers on the scoreboard with a home run in the top of the 4th, and then as mentioned, Mitch Moreland would follow that up with another blast over the wall after Beltre and Rua got on base. It was then Adrian Beltre in the bottom of the 6th on a Holaday sac-fly and a wild pitch for Jurickson Profar to score from third that wrapped up the scoring this game.
A few notables I’d like to point out is to begin things, Jurickson Profar. Profar went 2-of-4 on Sunday just like he did on Saturday, so we’re seeing in Odor’s absence what he can do when given the chance. But more importantly, this game came down to the pitching aspect of things. I felt Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano had a lousy outing today, but in the same token, Martin Perez wasn’t that much better, but only slightly to get a win. If you look, Liriano and Perez had similar unimpressive numbers in six innings, but it was the amount of runs and walks let up by Liriano to be the difference. Then I’d say for the Rangers that Matt Bush and Sam Dyson did their jobs this game to keep the Rangers on top. It’ll be interesting to watch Bush and Dyson as they continue to grow into their new roles on the team.
PITTSBURGH 2 | 8 | 1
TEXAS 6 | 7 | 1
W – Martin Perez (3-4; 3.12 ERA)
L – Francisco Liriano (4-4; 4.63 ERA)
Texas is 29-21 after this weekend and now will travel to Cleveland for a 3-game series that will make its way into June. The Rangers are first in the AL West, leading the Mariners by half-a-game, so this next series will be crucial for the Rangers as they try to increase the gap.