Rangers long ball generates runs to beat the Angels
It is no secret that Ace and current AL MVP for the Los Angeles Angels has changed the landscape of baseball. Shohei Ohtani had a wonderful 2021 season, and was just as dominant with his bat as he was pitching. This season, he came into Thursday’s game already with a loss on the season. The Texas Rangers knew what was at stake. If they wanted to have a chance against Ohtani, they would have to be patient at the plate while jumping on the first pitch if available. What was not expected was the dominance of the Rangers lineup with hits and runs produced. In addition, a low scoring bullpen that went 5 innings to relieve starting pitcher Dane Dunning that pitched 3.2 innings and giving up 2 earned runs on 6 hits.
The electricity at Globe Life Field began immediately in the 1st inning Angels Mike Trout blasted a 472-foot home run off of a Sinker by Dunning. It gave the Angels a 1-0 lead, and stunned the crowd in Arlington. The Angels added another run when Brandon Marsh singled to center field, scoring Jared Walsh to go up 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 1st inning.
Shohei Ohtani looked in command in the first inning. He retired 3 of 4 batters with Marcus Semien reaching 1st on an error. It wasn’t until the 2nd inning that the Rangers came alive with their bats. The bottom of the 2nd inning set the tone for the remainder of the game. Leading off the inning with a base runner was crucial. Nate Lowe singled to left center field. Following him was Adolis Garcia and he singled to center advancing Lowe to second base. Willie Calhoun drew a walk with 1 out to load the bases. It was time. It was Jonah Heim time.
The Rangers placed Jonah Heim on Covid protocol last weekend in Toronto. He had not returned to the lineup until Thursday night. Starting off in the hole, 2 strikes against him, Heim locked into his pitch and launched a 90 mph Splitter to right field. As shocked as everyone was at Globe Life Field, it was impressive to see an unexpected bat come alive. A grand slam had been hit off of Shohei Ohtani. The dugout from Texas was jumping for excitement and pure energy.
Ranger’s starter Dane Dunning zoned in the remainder of the game only allowing 2 hits after allowing 2 runs in the first inning. The Rangers bullpen took control of the game. Pitching 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on 3 hits and striking out 5 batters, they gave the Rangers an opportunity to win from a pitching standpoint. The real difference was the Rangers scoring runs and giving no choice to the Angels to yank Ohtani. It started in the bottom of 4th inning. Willie Calhoun doubled to right field that eventually led to Jonah Heim singling to left center and scoring Calhoun. The Rangers applied the pressure to the Angels pitcher. With 2 outs in the inning, Corey Seager took advantage of a hanging curveball and hit a 401-foot home run to right field to also score Jonah Heim that was on base. Continuing the inning, Mitch Garver singled to left field after Seager’s home run. Nate Lowe then doubled to right scoring Garver. By the time the inning was over, the Angels were trailing 8-2.
Once Ohtani was removed after allowing 6 runs on 6 hits, the Angels turned to the bullpen. The following inning was more of the same for the Rangers. Seager singled to center field scoring Jonah Heim and Mitch Garver reached 1st base on an error scoring Marcus Semien. The Rangers had a comfortable lead 10-2.
It seemed that the Rangers received contributions from many batters on Thursday evening. Jonah Heim went 3 for 4, 5 RBIs and scored 3 times. Corey Seager went 2 for 4, 3 RBIs and scored 1 run. Nate Lowe batted 2 for 5, with 1 RBI, scoring 1 run. For the Rangers, it was imperative to start the 2022 AL West division with a win. Bringing their record to 2-4 sets up an opportunity to start their division with 2 wins when the Rangers send Matt Bush to the mound on Friday night. Final score on Thursday evening went Texas Rangers 10, Los Angeles Angels 5. Winning Pitcher for the Texas Rangers: John King (1-0), Losing Pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani (0-2).