Not much has gone right for Texas in the past week, but three things that the Rangers have been lacking aligned on Saturday to allow them to earn a 5-2 victory over Colorado that snapped a season-long seven-game losing streak.
First the Rangers got excellent starting pitching from Mike Minor. Then they forged a five-run rally in the seventh and eighth inning — with Adrian Beltre’s triple in the latter the coup de gras — to sweep to the lead. And lastly, Texas closer Keone Kela earned his 15th save in 15 chances to cement the win for the Rangers.
It was Texas first home win since June 6 against Oakland and the Rangers’ 12th come-from-behind victory of the season, nine of which have come in their final at-bat.
Both teams have a chance to garner a much-needed series win when they conclude the three-game interleague set on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
The Rockies will send right-hander Jon Gray (6-7, 5.68 ERA) to the hill while Texas will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 30.86 in three games with Cincinnati), who is expected to have his contract purchased in time to make his first start of 2018.
Minor matched his season high with seven innings pitched, posting his second consecutive quality start after having none in his previous five outings. Minor didn’t get the win as he left trailing in the middle of the seventh before the Rangers rallied and snapped their seven-game losing streak.
“We needed a really good start from our starter,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “We got that from Mike. Exceptional — probably one of the best starts he has had all year.”
Colorado has lost seven of its past nine games and 11 of its last 15. The loss on Saturday was the Rockies’ 20th this year when holding a lead at some point in the game. Up 2-0 in the seventh on Saturday, they had a chance to play add on with runners on second and third and no out and got nothing out of it.
“You try to keep pushing and keep telling yourself that you will still win the game,” right fielder Carlos Gonzalez said of the change in momentum. “But in baseball, it’s sometimes going to go that way when you don’t make them pay.”
Gray will make his 15th start of the season, his eighth on the road and his second on the current trip. He has a 2-3 record with a 7.98 ERA in his past six starts after a 5-4 loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday. He will make his first career start against Texas.
Gallardo, a 12-year veteran and a 13-game winner for the Rangers in 2015, was signed to a minor league contract by Texas on April 13. He was 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Round Rock and will be making his first MLB start since Sept. 2, 2017.
Gallardo could have opted to enter free agency if he was not called up by Friday.
“Through all the reports (Gallardo) was commanding the baseball and controlling the strike zone, competing, getting hitters out,” Banister said. “All those factors allow him to come up and compete for us.”
Gallardo was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA over his last three starts with the Express. He is winless in 11 career starts versus the Rockies, going 0-6 with 6.14 ERA.