Rua powers Rangers to ninth straight win
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ryan Rua highlighted a five-run bottom of the fifth inning with a three-run home run and the Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to nine games with an 8-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday afternoon.
Texas completed a perfect homestand and moved two games over .500 (22-20) after facing a two-run deficit and working Nick Pivetta’s pitch count and knocking the rookie starter out in the fifth.
With Pivetta out of the game, Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor preceded Rua’s home run off Joely Rodriguez (1-2) with RBI singles. Rua then gave Texas a 5-2 lead when he lined the first pitch over the right-field wall.
“Just trying not to do too much,” Rua said of the home run. “(I wanted to) make sure I put a good swing on it.”
The Rangers added three in the sixth on an RBI double by Elvis Andrus and a two-run single up the middle by Nomar Mazara, who also walked twice.
Pivetta held the Rangers scoreless for the first four innings but also walked four batters in his final two innings, running his pitch count to 107 before he was removed.
“We can’t baby these guys,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “You can go 105, 110 pitches. But I did what I thought was in the best interest of both him and the team,”
But Mackanin did admit that the pitch count was a factor.
“Too many pitches,” Mackanin said. “In the fourth I think he started at 75 pitches and ended up with 91. He just had too many pitches.”
Pivetta agreed. ”
“(I) had 11 three-ball counts so that’s never good. But I was able to minimize those runners that got on base so that made me happy. Take a positive out of it.”
. Martin Perez (2-5) allowed two runs and five hits in seven solid innings. He struck out eight without a walk. Additionally, the team scored more runs for Perez than they had all season, and the left-hander admitted that was helpful.
“A lot,” Perez said. “But my focus now is to go out there and throw quality pitches and give a chance to my teammates for a win, that’s all. You don’t have to think if you’re going to win or lose. If we continue to play how we play, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
“He was really good the whole game,” Chirinos said. “It’s good to see Martin going deep in the game. His whole game today, he was like fluid. Sometimes he has that one inning, it’s long ... today, it was not that case Even after he gave up that homer, he keep pounding the strike zone, getting ahead of everybody. It’s good to see him going deep in the game.”
Philadelphia’s Michael Saunders hit an RBI triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Maikel Franco in the second inning. Franco’s fly ball sent Jared Hoying crashing into the center field wall.
Franco opened the fifth with his sixth home run of the season before Texas erupted.
Tommy Joseph hit a two-run home run in the ninth off Jeremy Jeffress to get the Phillies within 8-4. Ty Kelly added a double in that inning, but Matt Bush ended it by getting two groundouts.
NOTES: After the game, Philadelphia RHP Nick Pivetta was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... When Texas last lost a game, it was in fifth place in the AL West. ... Phillies RF Michael Saunders exited the game in the sixth inning. The team later announced that he left with left groin tightness. ... The Phillies are now 0-5 in interleague play in 2017, having been swept in a two-game series at home against the Mariners before this three-game sweep. Overall, the Phillies are 0-8 vs. teams from the National League and American League West Divisions. Texas LHP Martin Perez’s eight strikeouts matched his career high, which he has accomplished four times. The most recent instance April 18, 2014, against the Chicago White Sox.