The Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 in the opening game of the best-of-three American League Wild Card series at Tropicana Field on Tuesday.
What to know about the game and the series:
What it means: The Rangers lead the series 1-0. Game 2 will be played at Tropicana Field on Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT and broadcast on WFAA. A third game, if needed, will be played on Thursday at Tropicana at a time to be announced.
How the Rangers won: Texas scored the first run of the 2023 MLB postseason off a Josh Jung sacrifice fly in the second inning to take a lead they would never surrender. The Rangers scored two insurance runs in the sixth inning after a Corey Seager single in conjunction with a Rays throwing error allowed Evan Carter and Marcus Semien to score.
The Rays offense struggled to get anything going after the early stages of the game only getting six hits in the game and going one-for-six with runners in scoring position.
The turning point: In the bottom of the second inning the Rays were threatening to score for the first time in the game with runners on first and third base with Jose Siri up to bat. Siri attempted a sacrifice bunt but was thwarted by an excellent defensive play from Montgomery for the inning’s second out.
With two outs and two runners on Montgomery struck out Rays catcher Rene Pinto on four pitchers to end the inning.
Hero of the game: Jordan Montgomery shutout the Rays in the Rangers playoff opener giving up zero runs and six hits with five strikeouts and no walks in seven innings of work. From the third to sixth innings Montgomery retired ten batters in a row.
Did you know? Rookie outfielder Evan Carter is the second youngest player in Rangers history to appear in the postseason only Jurickson Profar was younger.
Play of the game: Carter made a diving catch in left field to not only end the first inning but keep a run off the scoreboard.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) October 3, 2023
Lots of help from the Rays: In the regular season the Rays were one of the MLB’s best fielding teams with the 10th-best fielding percentage and the ninth fewest errors. However, the Rays struggled in the field in their first playoff game with four errors against the Rangers, the most in any one game this season for the Rays. The first was committed by first-baseman Yandy Diaz, another by third-baseman Taylor Walss and a third by Pinto. Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow had a wild pitch that allowed Corey Seager to score the second run of the game. Jose Sirio also had a throwing error in the sixth inning.
Did you know? The Rangers entered this postseason with a 21-31 (.404) all-time record in the playoffs and on a six-game losing streak. Heading into Tuesday’s game the Rangers are undefeated in five games at Tropicana Field in the playoffs.
Rangers Wild Card roster: PITCHERS (13): TGrant Anderson, Brock Burke, Matt Bush, Aroldis Chapman, Dane Dunning, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, José Leclerc, Jodan Montgomery, Martín Pérez, Josh Sborz, Will Smith, Chris Stratton; CATCHERS (3): Mitch Garver, Austin Hedges, Jonah Heim; INFIELDERS (5): Josh Jung, Nathaniel Lowe, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Josh Smith; OUTFIELDERS (5): Evan Carter, Adolis García, Robbie Grossman, Travis Jankowski, Leody Taveras.
What’s next: Rangers pitchers Nathan Eovaldi (12-5, 3.63) vs. Tampa Bay’s Zach Eflin (16-8, 3.50) in Game 2 on Wednesday at 2:08 p.m. The winner of this series will advance to play Baltimore in the American League Division series which begins on Saturday at Camden Yards.