Rangers avoid sweep by Dodgers after overcoming early grand slam

Jul 23, 2023, 3:34 PM

Dodgers Rangers...

Travis Jankowski #16 of the Texas Rangers steals second base as Miguel Rojas #11 of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes the throw during the first inning of the game at Globe Life Field on July 23, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON (AP) — The Texas Rangers were missing two injured All-Star sluggers and facing the prospect of getting swept in a matchup of division leaders when Max Muncy hit a first-inning grand slam for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Naturally, the surprise team in the AL West rallied to match the best 100-game start in franchise history.

Jonah Heim and Leody Taveras each had a two-run double, and Martín Pérez answered Muncy’s slam with four scoreless innings as the Rangers avoided a three-game sweep with an 8-4 win Sunday.

“The thing I liked about it, we lost the first two games and we get down four runs,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We answered back right away.”

Heim cut LA’s lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the first before RBI singles from Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe and Josh Jung put Texas in front in the second.

Taveras extended the lead to 7-4 in the third, and Ezequiel Duran was the sixth Texas batter with a run-scoring hit off rookie Emmet Sheehan. The two-out RBI double in the fourth ended the right-hander’s day.

The NL West-leading Dodgers were coming off 11-5 and 16-3 victories in their first two games at Globe Life Field since winning the neutral-site 2020 World Series there when Muncy lined his 24th homer into the seats in right field off Pérez.

Facing his hometown team, Muncy tied LA’s club record with his third grand slam of the season, and it was a major league-leading 10th for the Dodgers. Muncy, hitting .196, struck out his other three times up.

With Corey Seager on the injured list because of a sprained right thumb and Adolis García out of the lineup a day after getting hit by a pitch on his right hand, the first-place Rangers beat LA for just the third time in the past 14 meetings.

Texas, which tied the 1999, 2010 and 2012 clubs for the best 100-game start at 59-41, started the nine-game homestand coming out of the All-Star break with six consecutive victories.

“No matter what, it would have been a good homestand,” Bochy said. “Obviously, we wanted to get this one. Last thing we wanted to do was get swept. And that’s a very good club over there.”

Trailing 5-4 in the third, Los Angeles had runners at second and third with no outs, but Pérez (8-3) got Chris Taylor on a flyout to shallow left, struck out Muncy and retired James Outman on a grounder. The left-hander allowed two singles over his final three innings.

“Because of him, we won that ballgame,” Bochy said.

Brock Burke pitched a perfect seventh, Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the eighth and Will Smith finished Texas’ all-lefty pitching day with a scoreless ninth.

The sixth career start for Sheehan (3-1) was his worst, with the 23-year-old allowing eight hits and eight runs with five walks over 3 2/3 innings in his first loss.

“I see 92 (mps) on the radar gun, that shows me he’s being tentative, aiming the baseball and not being free and easy and attacking,” LA manager Dave Roberts said. “You see a lot of noncompetitive pitches.”

The Dodgers came out of the break with a nine-game road trip, and finished 6-3. They won two of three in all three series, first at the New York Mets and then Baltimore.

Dodgers injuries

J.D. Martinez was a late scratch with left hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Will Smith.

Ace LHP Clayton Kershaw has no timetable for his next bullpen session as he recovers from a sore left shoulder. He hasn’t pitched since June 27. An original plan for throwing to live hitters changed to a bullpen session, then neither. Roberts said Kershaw hasn’t had any setbacks.

What’s next?

RHP Michael Grove (2-2, 6.40 ERA) is set for the opener of a three-game series against Toronto as LA starts a nine-game homestand that includes two days off.


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