Garver, Rangers stay hot to start season, rout Phillies
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Marcus Semien led off with a homer, Mitch Garver hit two and the Texas Rangers powered their way to a 16-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, becoming just the seventh team since 1900 to start a season by scoring 10 or more runs in consecutive games.
Garver ripped a three-run shot over the left-field fence off Phillies reliever Yunior Marte to extend the Rangers’ lead to 7-3 in the fifth inning. Then, Garver sparked what became a six-run seventh with another three-run shot, this time off Seranthony Dominguez.
The Rangers followed their 11-7 victory in the season opener by tying three other teams with 27 runs in two games, second-most since 1900. The 1951 White Sox scored 30.
“It’s good to see these bats come alive here these last two days,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “You see games like this, it just gets contagious. That’s what happened today with the offense.”
Semien got things going early, leading off the bottom of the first with a homer off Phillies starter Zack Wheeler (0-1), but Garver became the star of the game.
It marked Garver’s first action at catcher in a regular-season game since May 8, 2022. Garver was limited to just 15 games at catcher in 2022 due to a forearm injury.
“It feels good to hit two hard balls and have a little bit of resemblance of what I used to do,” Garver said.
Garver said jokingly that “today” was the best he’s felt swinging the bat since his 2022 season ended on July 11 with right forearm flexor tendon repair surgery.
“You’re constantly tweaking with your swing, trying to figure out something that feels good for the day,” he said. “It’s the nature of the beast, just trying to feel good. Then it’s all about competing.”
The Phillies cut a 4-0 deficit to 4-3 with a two-run double by Nick Castellanos in the fourth and an RBI groundout by Kyle Scwarber in the fifth.
But the Rangers pulled away and the Phillies had just one baserunner get into scoring position the final four innings.
Texas right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-0) earned the win, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts over five innings in his debut with the team.
Wheeler allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings.
Philadelphia outfielder Cristian Pache reported to the club on Saturday, taking the roster spot of Dalton Guthrie. Pache entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, striking out.
Eovaldi became the Rangers’ first pitcher to commit a pitch clock violation during a second-inning at-bat against Alec Bohm. ... Semien homered in the Rangers’ second game, a notable difference from his debut season with the team last year. Semien didn’t go deep until the Rangers’ 45th game on May 28, 2022.
TCU, located about 20 miles west of Globe Life Field, made its presence felt before the game. A couple notable names from college football’s runner-up were part of the ceremonial first pitch, with quarterback Max Duggan throwing it to coach Sonny Dykes. Duggan, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, is preparing for the NFL Draft while Dykes is entering his second season at the helm.
It’s a battle of left-handers as the Rangers and Phillies conclude the season-opening series on Sunday night. Martin Perez gets the start for Texas against Bailey Falter of Philadelphia.