SEATTLE — If the first week and a half of the season for the Rangers and first two games of their three-game series in Seattle were akin to a punch in the mouth, the opening inning of Thursday night’s finale looked more like the uppercut that might very well lay them out on the mat for good.
Starter Taylor Hearn, who was being counted on for innings to help a banged-up and beleaguered pitching staff, hit a batter, walked two, and gave up five runs on two very loud home runs without recording an out. All within his first 16 pitches.
This was not what manager Chris Woodward had drawn up for Thursday, and this was not what the Rangers had drawn up for 2022. But one thing Woodward has insisted every day through this rough patch is that these Rangers are not going to give up.
He was proven correct, with Texas absorbing the brutal opening frame and taking advantage of some breaks to battle all the way back for an 8-6 win at T-Mobile Park that allowed them to avoid a series sweep and break a five-game losing streak.
Kole Calhoun’s RBI double and Nathaniel Lowe’s run-scoring single in the ninth inning broke a 6-6 tie after the Rangers had come all the way back from their early deficit to take the lead, only to give it up in the eighth.
Prior to the game, Woodward gave an impassioned endorsement of the character of the men in his clubhouse, saying that the team, which entered Thursday’s game with a 2-9 record, “could go 2-160 this year” and he would still have no doubts that they’d be fighting every step of the way.
Well, they’re not going to go 2-160. Thursday was their third victory of the year, and one that might go a long way toward giving the team some momentum as they head to Oakland for a three-game set against the A’s.