PHOENIX (AP) — The Texas Rangers are as aggressive as they come at the plate.
That played right into the hands of young Tyler Skaggs and the rest of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Rangers struck out a season-high 15 times in a 5-3 loss to Arizona in the opener of a doubleheader on Monday.
“I wouldn’t say they we trying to do too much, we just missed the pitches,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “The way we swung the bat is the way we always swing the bat. We swing like that and we catch `em it is great.”
Skaggs, called up from the minors for a spot start after scheduled starter Ian Kennedy cut his right index finger washing dishes, allowed three hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings.
“The biggest pitches were his curveball,” the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus said. “He commanded it and threw it anywhere he wanted to. He threw a lot of strikes and kept us off balance.”
The game was a matchup of 21-year-old left-handers, and Texas’ Martin Perez didn’t fare as well as his Arizona counterpart, allowing four runs, three earned, and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.
“The problem today was I wasn’t throwing first strikes,” Perez said. “Every time I was behind in the count. You have to attack early. When I missed my fastball and went for a change-up, they were waiting for the change-up. It was location. I am young and I must learn.”
Skaggs gave up three hits and walked three, one intentionally, mixing in his curveball with an effective fastball and change-up in his first major league victory since he won his big league debut last year.
“He was spotting his fastball down and away,” Washington said. “He had a good breaking ball and used it at the right time. It was a slow one and we couldn’t wait on it. Then he threw a good change-up. The kid did a good job.”
With Kennedy expected to miss just one start, it’s back to Reno for Skaggs, but everyone expects him back not far down the road.
“He’s maturing,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “He did a great job for us today.”
Cody Ross hit a solo homer for the Diamondbacks.
Adrian Beltre had a two-run single in Texas’ three-run ninth.
Perez allowed nine hits and walked two.
The Rangers had to play a doubleheader on the heels of a 4-3, 13-inning loss at Seattle on Sunday.
Will Harris and David Hernandez each pitched a scoreless inning for Arizona before the Rangers loaded the bases against Tony Sipp with one out in the ninth.
Heath Bell came on and allowed an RBI single to Jurickson Profar and the two-run single to Beltre. Bell struck out Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland bounced out to shortstop for Bell’s ninth save.
A.J. Pollock and A.J. Hinske each doubled in a run. Martin Prado had an RBI single, tying a franchise record in the process with his seventh consecutive base hit. Paul Goldschmidt also singled in a run for Arizona.
The Diamondbacks scored three times with two outs in the first two innings.
In the first, Goldschmidt reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on Ross’ single, then scored on Prado’s single.
Wil Nieves led off the Arizona second with a single, then with two outs, Pollock stretched what looked to be a single into an RBI double, sliding in just ahead of the throw.
Second baseman Profar booted Didi Grigorius’ grounder to keep the inning alive, then Goldschmidt’s liner to center brought in an unearned run to make it 3-0.
After Ross put Arizona up 4-0 with his second homer of the season, Prado fouled a pitch off his left knee and dropped to the ground in pain. He eventually walked it off and stayed in the game.
Skaggs, who struck out 10 with no walks in his previous outing for Reno against Triple-A Round Rock, struck out Texas’ big hitters Beltre and Nelson Cruz twice each.
Profar narrowly missed a home run with a screaming line drive double off the top of the wall in left with one out in the third.
But he was stranded when Beltre struck out and Cruz flew out to right. Texas had a runner at third with two outs after Jeff Baker’s double in the second, but after Craig Gentry was walked intentionally, Perez struck out.
Hinske laced a pinch-hit double down the right field line to score Nieves from first in the ninth to make it 5-0.
NOTES: The teams play each other four straight times, the next two at Texas on Wednesday and Thursday. … Skaggs and Perez were both added as 26th players on their respective rosters, a move allowed when a team plays a doubleheader. … Goldschmidt has 40 RBIs. … Five D-backs have had hits in seven consecutive at-bats, the