Chirinos’ 3-run HR in 11th lifts Rangers past Nationals 6-3
WASHINGTON (AP) — Robinson Chirinos and the scuffling Texas Rangers put the latest hurt on the Washington Nationals’ wobbling bullpen.
The below-.500 Rangers rallied and beat the NL East leaders for the second straight game, with Robinson Chirinos hitting a three-run homer in the 11th inning for a 6-3 victory Saturday.
“It was an amazing win for us,” Chirinos said. “It’s really good. It tells you a lot about the guys to not give up.”
Chirinos nearly put Texas ahead during the two-run, ninth-inning rally off closer Koda Glover that tied the game at 3. His bid for a tiebreaking sacrifice fly, however, was thwarted by Washington right fielder Bryce Harper, who made a strong throw to nail a runner at the plate.
Glover’s second blown save was the 10th for Washington this season. He was pulled after Chirinos’ flyball.
After exiting the game, Glover — who was on the disabled list earlier this season with a left hit impingement — told manager Dusty Baker he was dealing with “nagging” back pain all day.
“(Glover) admitted he should have told me or us before the game, you know, he said his back was really locked up, we didn’t know it,” Baker said.
Washington almost won in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Trea Turner bunted with a man at third, but pinch-runner Wilmer Difo hesitated going home and was quickly tagged out.
In the 11th, pinch-hitter Joey Gallo doubled with two outs off Shawn Kelley (3-2). Following an intentional walk to Nomar Mazara, Chirinos drove a fastball just over the left-field wall.
Keone Kela (3-1) went two innings to earn the win.
Shin-Soo Choo’s leadoff homer in the ninth pulled Texas within a run, and Mazara’s RBI double off Glover tied it. Pinch-runner Pete Kozma later tried to score on Chirinos’ fly, but was out after a replay review reversed the original call.
“That’s one thing about these guys. They don’t get deflated,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “They don’t give up at all. They stay in the fight.”
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman did not play due to back pain. The NL batting leader with a .365 average is day-to-day.
His replacement, Adam Lind, homered during a three-run sixth inning that began with Harper’s double. Harper went 1 for 4 with a walk while batting second in the lineup after hitting third in each of his previous 52 games this season.
Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez struck out nine in six innings, giving up one run and three hits.
Texas starter Martin Perez blanked the Nationals until they struck in the sixth.
Elvis Andrus had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active streak in the majors. Delino DeShields also had two hits and two of the Rangers’ five stolen bases.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre (ankle) finished 1 for 3 with a walk and stolen base in his return to the Rangers lineup. … RHP Tyson Ross (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery) allowed eight runs and 10 hits over five innings in his fourth rehab start for Triple-A Friday night. He will join the Rangers for their next series in Houston and discuss a plan with the organization, Banister said.
Nationals: Zimmerman said he injured his back diving for a ball in Tuesday’s game at the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played two of the next three games. “It’s one of those things where if you continue to play and it gets worse, something bad could happen. If you give it a day or two you can kind of just stop it right there,” said Zimmerman, who expects to play Sunday or Monday.
Rangers: RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-0, 4.08) will make his second start and seventh appearance of the season.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (7-3, 2.35) is 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA and 38 strikeouts over his last three starts.
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